Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 23, 2004

Open Off Topics Thread

News and Views ...

Posted by b on August 23, 2004 at 20:34 UTC | Permalink

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Political announcement

German language rendition of above

Posted by: Kim Jong-il | Aug 23 2004 21:33 utc | 1


You mean to say all my "yummies" are communistic in origin?

Posted by: koreyel | Aug 23 2004 21:55 utc | 2


I think if you watch it too much you go blind.

Posted by: Harold Lloyd | Aug 23 2004 22:16 utc | 3

Here's a better one; X174 posted this one over at Jerome's. It a flash deal and takes a while to load.

But well worth the watch.

To the Moon, Mr. Sulu; warp factor 5:


Posted by: Harold Lloyd | Aug 23 2004 22:30 utc | 4

Watching and worrying

Israeli assessment of America's 'war'

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 23 2004 23:39 utc | 5

As Always NEMO, thank you for presenting a most insightful link.

Posted by: Harold Lloyd | Aug 24 2004 0:03 utc | 6


I don't think our Farking leadership can even count to 10.

You have a good evening, my friend.

Posted by: Harold Lloyd | Aug 24 2004 0:25 utc | 8

"The gloves are coming off gentleman regarding these detainees…"

"…Col. Boltz has made it clear that we want these individuals broken. Casualties are mounting and we need to start gathering info to help protect our fellow soldiers from any further attacks...."

2003 Memo appealed for ways to break Iraqi detainees

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 24 2004 2:09 utc | 10

Following the money...

The Thief of Baghdad

Anyone checked out under Dick Cheney's mattress?

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 24 2004 2:15 utc | 11

Just close your eyes, cross your fingers and keep saying “The world is a safer place, the world is a safer place, the world is a safer place….”

Ninety-three prominent Muslim figures opposed to US troops in Iraq have called on Muslims around the world to support resistance to US forces and to the Iraqi government installed in June.
In the appeal received on Sunday from the offices of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim figures from nearly 30 nations, from Germany to Indonesia, said the aim should be to "purify the land of Islam from the filth of occupation…"
…The signatories included senior members of the Brotherhood, leading Qatari-based moderate Youssef al-Qaradawi, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah of Lebanon, Khaled Mashal of the Palestinian group Hamas, two Egyptian opposition party leaders, Sheikh Abdeslam Yassine of Morocco's Justice and Charity Group and Yemeni Speaker of Parliament Sheikh Abdullah al-Ahmar.
Others came from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bosnia, the Comoros, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan and Tunisia…

Senior Muslim figures back Iraqi insurgents

Hey! Those guys have got more countries in their ‘coalition’ than the USA has! Still - holidaying at home can be just as much fun, eh?

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 24 2004 2:26 utc | 12

Inside Wadi al-Salaam – the Valley of Peace

"...Oh my Jesus Christ, it's a young boy." He stood for a moment examining the body and then jumped from the minibus and ran some 20 yards before vomiting on to the ground…

For the grief-stricken of Iraq, burying the dead is a dangerous business

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 24 2004 2:39 utc | 13

There's more to al-Sadr than meets the eye

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 24 2004 3:32 utc | 14

Rawk on Nemo! that last link about al-sadr (more than meets the eye) was a killer especially that last paragraph...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 24 2004 5:04 utc | 15

How goes the war? Who’s winning?

“… Al-Qa'ida had sought right from the start to foster confrontation between the United States and the Islamic World. I recall Shaykh Usama Bin Ladin telling us: We as an organization cannot continue with the qualitative operations. So we have to draw the United States into a confrontation with all the Islamic peoples…”

Interview with Nasir Ahmad Nasir al-Bahri, former personal bodyguard of Osama Bin Laden

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 24 2004 5:25 utc | 16

Good but somewhat depressing. But these days what articles aren't depressing?!

Your Children are Burning - By William Rivers Pitt

Posted by: Fran | Aug 24 2004 5:47 utc | 17

From Nemo's link at 1:25:

"Al-Qa'ida had sought right from the start to foster confrontation between the United States and the Islamic World. I recall Shaykh Usama Bin Ladin telling us: We as an organization cannot continue with the qualitative operations. So we have to draw the United States into a confrontation with all the Islamic peoples. This was the plan in the Somalia days. Bin Ladin had wished the capture of a single US soldier alive to make the United States withdraw and for the fighting to continue everywhere. Shaykh Usama Bin Ladin and the Al-Qa'ida have pursued this endeavor and succeeded in drawing the United States into an unequal confrontation, not from the military technology aspect, but from the ideology aspect. Muslims have now reached the point where they are fed up with the United States, which lives in prosperity off our nation's resources. I believe that the United States is heading for its demise. As to the future of Al-Qa'ida, I believe that it has found what it wanted. It can now melt into a new caldron, and a new giant would be reborn, of which Al-Qa'ida would be a part. Many of the Islamic World leaders would join it and the confrontation with the United States would be inevitable. And, Al-Qa'ida would not be the leader but a vanguard army."

Nemo, you and I both might want a more peaceful world, but we aren't going to get it any time soon.

I remember you said, to rememberinggiap, that Americans deserve whatever they get. I've got a paycheck that says they don't.

Posted by: Pat | Aug 24 2004 6:00 utc | 18

Iraqi teens abused at Abu Ghraib, US Army report finds

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 24 2004 6:39 utc | 19

13 Nepalese workers kidnapped in Iraq

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 24 2004 8:16 utc | 21

George Monbiot at The Guardian on living without oil An answer in Somerset - The Age of Entropy is here. We should all now be learning how to live without oil

Posted by: b | Aug 24 2004 9:09 utc | 22

Inside an ‘American house’- in Iraq

…At 4 a.m. the day after Hatab's arrival, Roy and Pittman – whose civilian job is as a federal prison guard in New York – went into Hatab's holding pen, woke him and forced the hooded prisoner to his feet. Hatab wandered around the cell aimlessly and became entangled in barbed wire. Pittman for some reason punched him in the torso, Roy testified.
At this point, Roy said, Hatab began moaning "why, why, why" and "my children, my children." The prisoner said "something about he had 11 children," Roy recalled. Roy responded to these moans by asking Hatab whether he had ever considered the children of the American soldiers whom he was suspected of ambushing during the war.
It was then, Roy said, that Pittman delivered a violent karate-kick to Hatab's chest, sending the prisoner flying backward and to the ground.
"I said, 'Sgt. Pittman, let's get the hell out of here before we hurt this guy,' " Roy testified….
…During his Article 32 testimony, Roy also said that he, Pittman and a third Marine administered a random beating to another prisoner, a sheik. The sheik had done nothing, Roy admitted, to provoke the attack.
"We wanted to make him know that he was basically in our house," Roy testified….
Marine reservist set to testify in court-martial of a comrade

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 24 2004 9:59 utc | 23

A report by ABC this morning of the pending Gitmo "trial" of Australian David Hicks. It was a very surreal interview of military spokesman. Listen or read the transcript.

Posted by: YY | Aug 24 2004 10:32 utc | 24

Umar Zaidan, an Iraqi journalist and editorial secretary of the Iraqi newspaper al-Basaer said there was a media blackout on armed operations against US-led occupation forces in Iraq. ... "But after we get enough information we say a number of dead and a number of wounded, and sometimes we should elaborate how serious the wounds are, but with US forces in Iraq it is always casualties and the number always less than the truth," he said. spoke to Lieutenant-Colonel TV Johnson, public affairs officer of the First Marines Expeditionary Force who said the amount of information given to the media was based on tactical necessities.

"It is something all armies do in war time. You do not want the enemy to know about your actual loss, and whether he was successful in the attack he carried out on your troops or not," he said.

Iraqi cleric slams war coverage

So what are the real numbers?

Posted by: b | Aug 24 2004 12:28 utc | 26

Uncle $cam on the Newspeak thread:

In it, he discusses the covert manner in which government and media create public opinion through bias, euphemisms, and skewed storytelling.

Uncle $cam on this thread:

that last link about al-sadr ... was a killer especially that last paragraph...


An idea to explore should one ever dare to teach critical thinking skills in a classroom:

Ever noticed how the most interesting stuff in an article often appears in the last few paragraphs?

That in fact there is an inversion of value built into newspaper articles?

The headline-->worthless and often totally detached from the content.

The first few paragraphs-->The most socially convenient exposition. Almost always government-friendly.

The fourth paragraph--> Around about where the minority inconvenient viewpoint appears.

The last paragraphs-->The killer incisive gist of the whole damn thing. The fine print... buried deep where the good citizens won't likely ever tread.

Devious stuff.

Whereas grocery stores put the milk way in back so you have to make a tempting walk...these guys seem to try to stop in you in your tracks with a headline and a few initial becalming paragraphs....

Posted by: koreyel | Aug 24 2004 14:22 utc | 27

30,000 raids net 100 charges

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Aug 24 2004 17:01 utc | 28

Thanks to Nemo for the pictures. Hesitant thanks, as they are depressing. Korean sex, ha ha ha.

Posted by: Blackie | Aug 24 2004 17:43 utc | 29

@ Blackie: "Korean sex, ha ha ha."

The graphic artist in me says, WOW! The rest of me does too. Turn the speakers up.

Posted by: beq | Aug 24 2004 18:59 utc | 30

After giving us the run-down on What Went Wrong In Iraq (, Larry Diamond writes:

"Because of the failures and shortcomings of the occupation-as well as the intrinsic difficulties that any occupation following Saddam's tyranny was bound to confront-it is going to take a number of years to rebuild the Iraqi state and to construct any kind of viable democratic and constitutional order in Iraq. The post-handover transition is going to be long, and initially very bloody. It is not clear that the country is going to be able to conduct reasonably credible elections by next January. And even if those elections are held in a minimally acceptable fashion, it is hard to imagine that the over-ambitious transition timetable for the remainder of 2005 will be kept. Nevertheless, the end of occupation and the transfer of authority to an interim government on June 28 offered at least a chance for a new beginning. And there is no alternative to this transitional program that does not involve one awful scenario or another: civil war, massive renewed repression, the establishment of a safe haven for terrorist organizations-or quite possibly all three.

"The transition in Iraq is going to need a huge amount of international assistance-political, economic, and military-for years to come. Hopefully, the U.S. performance will improve now that Iraqis are in charge of their own future. It is going to be costly and it will continue to be frustrating. Yet a large number of courageous Iraqi democrats, many with comfortable alternatives abroad, are betting their lives and their fortunes on the belief that a new and more democratic political order can be developed and sustained in Iraq. The United States owes it to them-and to itself-to continue to help them."

Mr. Diamond seems like a bright enough, nice enough guy, but the chances of a huge multinational effort succeeding in making Iraq a free, secure, and viable state are exceedingly bad. Stable democracies have two reqirements: a high general level of education and a large middle class. As a rule of thumb, where these are absent democracy cannot take hold.

How many times have we heard that only a bigot would suggest that Iraqis - and other Arabs - are incapable of democracy? But the problem really is that conditions are not yet favorable for democratization, which is a natural process for which there is no shortcut.

If we really wanted to encourage democracy in the Middle East then we might start by ending our subsidy of undemocratic regimes in the region. Then we could stop engaging in wars that require us to co-opt other truly unsavory Middle Eastern governments.

If democracy in the Middle East is desirable, then we might consider letting nature, rather than the US Treasury, the State Department, and the DoD, take its course.

Posted by: Pat | Aug 24 2004 19:48 utc | 32

More obsessive thoughts on the unfolding Plame affair: if Fitzgerald indicts Rove, the team will remain intact. If he indicts Cheney, Cheney will have to step down. There are two strong possible replacements: Powell, who helped set this up to start with, and McCain, who has nothing to do with it. But the ever-popular Powell is staying away from the Convention, and may really want to see Bush lose the election; McCain, on the other hand, may exact the price of Rove's demission--or perhaps a veto over Rove's attacks on John Kerry. Which is why, I suppose, the name of Giuliani keeps popping up--a non-starter if ever there was one.

Posted by: alabama | Aug 24 2004 19:54 utc | 33

I have my doubts concerning some of Mr. Diamond's assumptions, most of all the following: "Hopefully, the U.S. performance will improve now that Iraqis are in charge of their own future." Of course, I am, unlike Mr. Diamond, too underinformed to have a well-founded opinion on the matter. But, judging from what I have read (Allawi is a former CIA-asset, the handpicked interim government rules over little more than over the ground covered by US tanks and planes etc.), the insight that they are in charge of their own future seems not to be shared by the majority of Iraqis. Al-Sadr may not be the answer, but is Allawi if the US wills it?

I agree with you, Pat, let them have their own shot at democracy (if the concept as we think of it is not too fraught with our cultures' associations). But do you really think the US will leave them alone? That would require the complete change of doctrine you have admitted you don't see coming. Kerry will/would not be the president to change it.

Posted by: teuton | Aug 24 2004 20:05 utc | 34

Nicely written Pat.

I too have that "sizable middle class is requisite for democracy" meme inside my head.

Any idea of the sources?

I wonder about its accuracy.

In the meanwhile...are not the new overtime pay rules an attempt to undermine America's middleclass?

Here is a question I've asked several times in blog places. As far as I know no one else has ever asked it and no one has ever responded to my asking of it:

If you had 200 billion to spend on promoting democracy in the Middle East how would you spend it?¹

(Why am I the only one asking this question?!?)

Lastly and most apporpriately...a quote about democracy from Will and Ariel Durant's The Lessons of History:

Democracy is the most difficult of all forms of gevernment, since it requires the widest spread of intelligence, and we forgot to make ourselves intelligent when we made ourselves sovereign.

¹Assuming here that the current Iraq war cost is 200 billion, altho...I am willing to make that 300 billion...etc...

Posted by: koreyel | Aug 24 2004 20:12 utc | 35

Stable democracies have two reqirements: a high general level of education and a large middle class.

Iraq is thereby the best candidate for a kind of democracy in the Middle East. It has high level of education and (had?) a decent middle class. But the only way for them to succed is without interference from the outside. Any foreign troops should leave immediately. There will be a short cival war and after that help shoudl be given from the outside, financially and through trade terms. That could probably lead to some democracy, probably to some autocracy. Foreign troops in Iraq only prolongs the bad times and does not assure or help a positive result.

Posted by: b | Aug 24 2004 20:42 utc | 36


I think Iraqis ought to be left to their own devices. It IS their country. We CAN give it back. If the time is not ripe for a democracy (and it isn't) then there are a hundred and one other set-ups that might suit them just fine for now. Many of those who can't abide it will seek friendlier climes.

Iraqis might end up with a civil war. Personally, I'd rather have a civil war than a foreign occupation or puppet government backed by foreign troops and money.

No, I don't think the US will leave them alone. Benign neglect is anathema to the busy bees who revel in this kind folly.

Posted by: Pat | Aug 24 2004 20:42 utc | 37

Plame case

Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper has avoided the threat of jail by agreeing to be interviewed yesterday by Justice Department prosecutors investigating whether White House officials illegally leaked the identity of a covert CIA operative to journalists.

Time magazine said in a statement today that Cooper agreed to give a deposition "because the one source the special counsel asked about," Lewis I. "Scooter" Libby, chief of staff for Vice President Cheney, had waived a confidentially agreement he had with Cooper. The statement from Time spokesperson Diana Pearson said that Libby also had agreed to allow the magazine to disclose its agreement with him. Time Reporter Answers Questions About Plame Leak

This tells me that Libby was not the leak - but who knows.

Posted by: b | Aug 24 2004 20:54 utc | 38

This tells me that Libby was not the leak - but who knows.

Who knows???

From my perspective it looks like Libby decided to fall on his stinking sword.

Better him than Cheney.

And better Cheney than Bush.

To paraphrase an old americanism:

You can fool some of the people some of the time but you can't fool me any of the time.

Which is to say: The vindictiveness of the Plame leak traces all the way up to Bush-thug.

That's the way this little man plays life. He is no more enlightened than a mafia don.

He is as guilty guilty guilty as Nixon was guilty.

Anything pure white(boy)-wash,

Pig slop,


Canary manure.

Bush authorized the leak...I bet my soul on it.

Posted by: koreyel | Aug 24 2004 21:42 utc | 39


"I too have that "sizable middle class is requisite for democracy" meme inside my head. Any idea of the sources? I wonder about its accuracy."

Well, you could look at those countries that are democracies and compare their demographics to those that aren't.

Rising and widening levels of education and affluence bring demands for greater individual autonomy, social equality, and political participation. (Think of the civil rights movement in the US, for instance.) It really is a spontaneous process, and not always a peaceful one.

Posted by: Pat | Aug 24 2004 21:47 utc | 40

I thought Jack Straw was solving Sudan today.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Aug 24 2004 21:48 utc | 41

Koreyel, I would first ask for their opinion. So it is hard to respond .. ?

One Muslim against democracy:

UPI Interview with Gen. Hameed Gul (former chief of ISI), 26 Sept. 2001.

We need a meeting, not a clash, of civilizations. We are on the brink of disaster. It is time to pull back from the brink and reassess before we blow ourselves up. The purpose of Islam is service to humanity. The time for like-minded people to have a meeting of the minds is now.

Q: But you are against democracy, so how can there be a meeting of the minds?

A: Democracy does not work. Politicians are constantly thinking of their next election, not the public good, which means, at best, constantly shading the truth to hide it from their constituents. Their pronouncements are laced with lies and the voters are lulled or gulled into believing utter nonsense. The Koran says call a spade a spade. It is the supreme law and tells right from wrong. There is no notion of "my country right or wrong" under divine law. The creator's will predominates. All if subservient to Allah's will and adherence to a set of basic, fundamental values.

Q: So what kind of a system are you advocating?

A: The world needs a post-modern state system. Right now, the nation-state and round the clock satellite TV lead people to imitate America's way of life. Which is mathematically impossible. You have 4 percent of the world's population consuming 32 percent of the world's resources. The creator through Prophet Mohammed said equal distribution. Capitalism is the negation of the creator's will. It leads to imperialism and unilateralism.

Q: So what does this post-modern state system look like?

A: A global village under divine order, or we will have global bloodshed until good triumphs over evil. Islam encapsulates all the principal religions and what was handed down 1,400 years ago was the normal evolutionary sequel to Judaism and Christianity. The prophet's last sermon was a universal document of human rights for everyone that surpasses everything that came since, including America's declaration of independence and the U.N. Charter of universal rights. If you superimpose true secular values on true Islamic values, there is no difference. So surely divine law should supersede man-made law. Islam is egalitarian, tolerant and progressive. It is the wave of the future.

Posted by: Blackie | Aug 24 2004 21:52 utc | 42

koreyel, I think there's a statute saying that a sitting President can't be indicted--that the indictment can only come down after he leaves office. If so, then I can imagine Fitzgerald settling for Cheney and Rove. He could proceed with his indictments, and, given the folks he'd be indicting, a general conviction of the President's culpability would then be unavoidable. Bush, at that point, trying to shield Cheney and Rove from those indictments, might then announce that he's the responsible party--that "the buck stops here"--which of course no one would really believe, since no one's ever seen Bush take responsibility for anything. It would be the ultimate act of "damage limitation".

Posted by: alabama | Aug 24 2004 22:01 utc | 43


I lived in an Islamic country for six years and loved an Islamic woman. That post hits the nail on the head.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Aug 24 2004 22:06 utc | 44

CP, what do you mean when you say Blackie's post hits the nail on the head? Do you mean it is the opinion of most Muslims concerning democracy, or do you mean you share the opinion? Sorry, but it's not clear to me.

Posted by: teuton | Aug 24 2004 22:22 utc | 45

teuton............. I share that opinion that Blackie posted.

Meanwhile, Russian Jets are falling down.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Aug 24 2004 22:27 utc | 46


for 200b$ you can:

- build 200,000 MW of wind power capacity (and probably more with economies of scale and improvements). That's 20% of US generating capacity

- pay for a lot of research on batttery powered cars

- buy 5b barrels of oil. That's 8 months worth of US consumption; over a year of US imports;

- more than 3 times all development aid worldwide. Enough to buy a lot of malaria medicine, school lunches, AIDs treatment - i.e. enough to save a large numer of lives.

- more than the cuulative export revenues of (I'm guessing) the 80 poorest countries, i.e. enough to buy off their leaders so that they actually implement good policies instead of looting the limited) wealth of their countries.


Posted by: Jérôme | Aug 24 2004 22:50 utc | 47

"If you had 200 billion to spend on promoting democracy in the Middle East how would you spend it?¹"

Does anyone know of a case where democracy was brought about through US govt. programs?

I can more easily think of money that we OUGHT not spend, and things we OUGHT not do, in order to promote democracy.

And whether and why we should be in the business of democracy-promotion certainly deserves vigorous debate. Is it necessary? Is it wise? Is it proper? Is it our moral responsibility? Does it lead to the tendency to be "humanitarians manning the guillotine?"

What we need, I think, is an Ann Landers School of Foreign Policy, guided by the commandment to mind one's own business.

Posted by: Pat | Aug 25 2004 0:38 utc | 48


CP, what do you mean when you say Blackie's post hits the nail on the head? Do you mean it is the opinion of most Muslims concerning democracy, or do you mean you share the opinion? Sorry, but it's not clear to me.

CP’s reply:
teuton............. I share that opinion that Blackie posted.


I read an insinuation into your question that CP’s response precluded your response. If he had responded “it is the opinion of most Muslims concerning democracy” , I would be interested in hearing your response.

Posted by: Juannie | Aug 25 2004 1:36 utc | 49


Blackie's link to "UPI Interview with Gen. Hameed Gul " was an eyeopener for me.

Posted by: Juannie | Aug 25 2004 1:38 utc | 50

Two Russian planes downed

Breaking news reports are saying that one of the planes sent a hijack alert before disappearing, both planes are now confirmed crashed. It is the Chechen election soon....

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 25 2004 3:34 utc | 51

Russian jet sent hijack signal

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 25 2004 3:53 utc | 52

Re: NEMO’s link to:

Two">">Two Russian planes downed

After reading UPI Interview with Gen. Hameed Gul
I see a different footprint on the two happenings. I’ll bet the Chechnyans get the first credit but think I’ll see a lot of links to Bin Laden also. I’ll doubt whatever I read until I hear a lot of comments from this crowd.

Posted by: Juannie | Aug 25 2004 4:28 utc | 53

Uncivil wars

The hawks on Iraq turn on each other

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 25 2004 4:53 utc | 54


Come Join Me Here.

We talk a Little Bit.


Posted by: Harold Lloyd | Aug 25 2004 5:35 utc | 55


So, Francis Fukayama now openly regrets a war that he says he didn't agree with in the first place - and didn't publically oppose because "it was inevitable". Nice.

What sort of a thinker is Francis? I've got a heavily-highlighted, very bad book of his: The End Of History And The Last Man. A taste:

"In a situation in which all moralisms and religious fanatacisms are discouraged in the interest of tolerance, in an intellectual climate that weakens the possibility of belief in any one docrine because of an overriding commitment to be open to all the world's beliefs and 'value systems,' it should not be surprising that the strength of community life has declined in America. This decline has occurred not despite liberal principles, but because of them. This suggests that no fundamental strengthening of community life will be possible unless individuals give back certain of their rights to communities, and accept the return of certain historical forms of intolerance."

A piece of work he is.

Posted by: Pat | Aug 25 2004 6:46 utc | 56

Ex-British Prime Minister's son bitten by Scorpions

Mark Thatcher arrested in Cape Town home on suspicion of involvement in coup plot in Equatorial Guinea

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 25 2004 7:31 utc | 57


They are all 'pieces of work'!

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 25 2004 7:35 utc | 58

Sly old fox makes move...

Al-Sistani en route back to Iraq - calls on all Iraqis to march on An Najaf

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 25 2004 7:40 utc | 59

Insurgents show no sign of letting up

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 25 2004 7:43 utc | 60

America at a crossroads

Democracy matters are frightening in our time - Cornel West

Very interesting writing - and reading.

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 25 2004 7:49 utc | 61

They are all 'pieces of work'!

Posted by: Nemo | August 25, 2004 03:35 AM

Indeed they are, Nemo.

Posted by: Pat | Aug 25 2004 8:09 utc | 62

Kerry beware....

...the lethal weapon of Bush, the bumbler

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 25 2004 9:05 utc | 64

That floating 90% of voters - the American people and politics

"...Converse claimed that only around ten per cent of the public has what can be called, even generously, a political belief system..."

The unpolitical animal

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 25 2004 9:17 utc | 65

The 10 Ways Bush Screwed New York

Posted by: beq | Aug 25 2004 13:00 utc | 66

Interesting theory by Mark Ames.

SPITE! it wins votes

Posted by: Fran | Aug 25 2004 15:25 utc | 67

There's a lot of truth in Ames' article, I think. Not only about the liberal wealthy elite, with guys like Soros clearly having a smarter survival strategy than many idiots supporting Bush, but also, of course, with the fact that many people know Bush is bad and revel in it. These are the same despicable excuses for human beings that once cheered Goebbels when he said "When I hear the word culture, I grab my gun".

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Aug 25 2004 15:30 utc | 68

Raptores orbis...

…Raptores orbis, postquam cuncta vastantibus defuere terrae, iam mare scrutantur: si locuples hostis est, avari, si pauper, ambitiosi, quos non Oriens, non Occidens satiaverit. . . . Auferre trucidare rapere falsis nominibus imperium, atque ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant…

Gaius Cornelius Tacitus (c56AD – c120AD), in his Agricola recounting the alleged words of the chieftain Calgacus
Brigands of the world, after the earth has failed their all-devastating hands, they probe even the sea; if their enemy be wealthy, they are greedy; if he be poor, they are ambitious; neither the East nor the West has glutted them. . . . They plunder, they slaughter, and they steal: this they falsely name Empire, and where they make a wasteland, they call it peace…

Najaf, August 25th

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 25 2004 17:48 utc | 70

Thanks again Nemo for following everything in Najaf.

With Sistani back and calling on all Iraqis to come to Najaf he finds the best possible solution to contain AsSadr, the US and the Iraqi Government. If 100,000 people come peacefully to Najaf whoever dares to touch them would loose big time.

Posted by: b | Aug 25 2004 18:05 utc | 71

Paul Craig Roberts at

I wish Kerry would show the same courage and guts in criticizing the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the attack on our civil liberties as he showed in criticizing the Vietnam War and turning his swift boats into the enemy fire and chasing down the attackers. Nevertheless, the only way Bush can be held accountable for Iraq is to be voted out of office.

However unappealing the alternative candidate, if the electorate fails to hold Bush accountable for invading Iraq on false pretenses and multiplying the recruits to al-Qaeda, American democracy will have failed.

This will be understood everywhere in the world, and American power will fail as well.

Posted by: Pat | Aug 25 2004 18:10 utc | 72

Iraq and Vietnam…

…Iraq veterans are beginning to express similar sentiments. In Boston they sounded not unlike their Vietnam predecessors. They emphasized the large-scale killing of Iraqi civilians by American firepower, along with their own widespread confusion. "We were lost. We had no idea what we were doing," was the way one put it….

Made in Iraq – the new anti-war veteran

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 25 2004 18:11 utc | 73

Thirty-eight years ago this very month, a young congressman told his colleagues that something was seriously amiss about huge wartime contracts awarded to a company with a big friend in a high place.

"The potential for waste and profiteering under such a contract is substantial," he warned. It is "beyond me," he went on, why the contract "has not been and is not now being adequately audited."

The war was Vietnam. The company was Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton that is now known as KBR. The big friend in a high place was Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson. And the impassioned young congressman was Donald Rumsfeld.

Pricey War for Grunts' Families

Posted by: b | Aug 25 2004 18:27 utc | 74

Ritual accomplished

Kerry renews calls for Rumsfeld to resign over Abu Ghraib

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 25 2004 19:28 utc | 75

After a positive assessment of the campaign against al Qaeda, Jim Lacy at NRO writes:

"Real dangers do remain, however. Even a tottering al Qaeda could probably scrape up the resources to launch one or more spectacular attacks over the next few years. Everything must therefore be done to keep the remnants of al Qaeda on the ropes and prevent them from launching a new strike on U.S. soil. More dangerous, though, is the very real threat that a new al Qaeda will rise from the ashes of the last. This organization would be staffed by men who had learned the lessons of the first and who are possibly receiving substantial state support from countries feeling threatened by our response to 9/11."

Um, al Qaeda 2.0 is already on the market. And not only would substantial state support be a contravention of its most successful feature, those states feeling most threatened by our response to 9-11 happen to be nominal allies who find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

Posted by: Pat | Aug 25 2004 20:26 utc | 76

Tin Foil Hat Time?

The Russian jets were flying south to Athens.

Putin reneged on the deal and the Migs took them out?

War in Georgia? Some hardware delivered to Iraq?

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Aug 25 2004 20:38 utc | 77

Why sure the USA holds most of the cards in Iraq – Aces and Eights

U.S. deck of most-wanted cards falls short

So, after you’ve played cards a while – then what? How about ‘Blind man’s buff'? Remember - "You've got to ask yourself one question...Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?"

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 25 2004 20:48 utc | 78

Policing the media in 'democratic' Iraq

Iraqi policemen rounded up dozens of journalists at gunpoint in a Najaf hotel and took them to police headquarters before later releasing them.

Firing their guns in the air, the dozen odd policemen, some masked, stormed into the rooms of journalists in the Najaf Sea hotel and forced them into vans and a truck.

An AFP correspondent, who was also forced into a van, said the police pushed and pulled many reporters at gunpoint....

Iraqi police seize journalists in Najaf

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 25 2004 21:23 utc | 79

USS Cole – how these things are done…

Yemen's former interior minister helped the alleged mastermind of the attack on the USS Cole to pass through security checkpoints in the months leading up to the 2000 bombing, according to a document read out in a Yemeni court Wednesday by a lawyer for five of the accused plotters.
…The letter alleging a government role in facilitating terror activities appeared to shock prosecutors in court, and even security guards exchanged bewildered looks. Officials at the ministries of interior and foreign affairs refused to comment on the document.
Yemen tolerated Muslim extremists for many years, but after the Sept. 11 attacks its government cracked down on militant groups and aligned itself with the U.S.-led war on terror. It has received U.S. military aid, such as anti-terror training for its soldiers.
Al-Harazi is one of the names used by Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the sixth defendant and the alleged mastermind of the suicide attack that killed 17 American sailors on the ship. Al-Nashiri is being tried in absentia. He is in U.S. custody at an undisclosed location.
The court accepted the letter as evidence, while the prosecutor, Saeed al-Aqel, crumpled a copy of it and threw it on the ground in disgust. It was not immediately clear how the defense obtained a copy of the letter….

Document may implicate former Yemen Government Minister in USS Cole plot

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 25 2004 21:36 utc | 80

{Not} isolated incidents

In prisoner death trial, Marine says guards often hit Iraqis for sleep deprivation

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 25 2004 21:38 utc | 81

Hidden costs of the war….continued….

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - A man who had just been told his Marine son had been killed in combat in Iraq set fire to a Marine Corps van and suffered severe burns Wednesday, police said.

Three Marines went to a house in Hollywood to tell the parents of Pfc. Alexander Arredondo that the 20-year-old died Tuesday in Najaf, according to police and television reports.

Carlos Arredondo, 44, then walked out of the house with a torch and what appeared to be a container of flammable liquid, reports said.
Police said that despite the Marines' efforts to stop him, Arredondo set the van and himself on fire. The Marines pulled him out of the burning vehicle and put out the flames, police said.
Arredondo was listed in serious condition at a Miami hospital….

Man burns Marine van after GI son's death

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 25 2004 22:35 utc | 82

Musical interlude

Fallujah song - free download

Contemporary protest songs by Dave Rovics – free downloads

Check out ‘After we torture our prisoners’ and ‘The war is over’ is you want a quick ‘American health check’…

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 25 2004 23:38 utc | 83

America’s imported ‘Governor’ wanders off-message, police-chief has hotline to Bruce Willis

“…Earlier, Najaf Gov. Adnan al-Zurufi said Iraqi security forces had "taken all needed measures to prevent any crowds from entering the province," calling it a "military area."

In Kufa, Iraqi police sealed off the Old City, preventing cars from entering, and Najaf's police chief, Maj. Gen. Ghalib al-Jazaari, said al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia was on its last legs.

"The Mahdi Army is finished," he said. "Its hours are numbered…."

Top cleric returns, seeks peace in Najaf

I’d hazard a guess that al-Zurufi, the ex-Dearborn social welfare claimant, will have a little trouble getting troops – American, let alone Iraqi – to waste Ayatollah al-Sistani and his tens of thousands of followers when they commence the march on Najaf at 7.00am, Iraq time, on Thursday. That’s the trouble with putting imbeciles in jobs that require a keen political vision and an ability to react quickly to changing circumstances – I mean, just look at George Bush and his merry men (and token woman).

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 26 2004 2:46 utc | 84

On death and dying...

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross dies

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 26 2004 3:39 utc | 85

Thursday, August 26th, 07.50 Iraq time - Ayatollah al-Sistani and thousands of Shi'ites are on the move and meanwhile...

...Najaf under intense shelling barrage

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 26 2004 3:51 utc | 86

Asymmetrical Warfare redefined.

Is it too late to check the biometrics of the various neocon_men?

I have noticed that Cheney seems to list rather noticably to the starboard side...

Posted by: koreyel | Aug 26 2004 4:36 utc | 87

From Defense and the National Interest (

Loopy OODA Loops:

The Triumph of Faith & Interests Over Facts & Reason

May 30, 2004

Comment: # 513


The American strategist Col John Boyd developed the theory of a continuously adaptive decision cycle — Observation / Orientation / Decision / Action Loops — as a means for staying connected to and for overcoming the external threats in a menacing environment. [see Boyd and Military Strategy]

A faith-based decision-making strategy, on the other hand, is driven by a non-adaptive ideology, akin to what Boyd would have called a hard-wired Orientation. In such a strategy, staying on message means that observations are forced through a fixed filter that sees what it wants to see, and consequently decisions and actions are driven more by the internal wiring of the Orientation than by any evolving relationship to the external world. Thus the entire OODA loop turns inside itself, connected to some rigid formality, but disconnected from the environment that loop is supposed to cope with. Remember how faith in a rigid communist ideology disconnected decision-makers in the Soviet Union from events outside themselves.

Boyd's work is crucially important because he showed that the inevitable result of a decision process that loops inside itself is growing confusion and disorder. Under conditions of menace, such a decision process risks escalation into chaos, panic and overload, leading ultimately to paralysis and collapse.

The government of the United States has not reached Boyd's endgame, yet. But the [administration's loopy behavior], viewed through Boyd's lens, suggests the presence of an incestuously amplifying, self-referential OODA Loop headed precipitously in that direction.

Posted by: Pat | Aug 26 2004 4:37 utc | 88

On the run on whitewash in the USA

…If you're waiting around for evidence of the phone call from Donald Rumsfeld to Pfc. Lynndie England - the one where he orders the "code red," instructing her to pile up a bunch of naked, hooded men and strike a queen-of-the-mountain pose - you'll wait forever. That's not how armies function. Armies depend on the realities of the chain of command and the cha-cha of plausible deniability…

No smoking gun

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 26 2004 5:07 utc | 89


In Re Kubler Ross:

On Dying:

Stage1:Kick Ass

Stage2:Kick 5 kiloton Ass

Stage3:Kick 10 KT Ass

Stage4:Kick 10 Megaton Ass

All these psycho-babblers are most Amusing

Afraid of Living and Scared of Dying.

Fading in Life, I hope I got

Col. G.A. Custer, with my last shot.

Posted by: Lakota Warrior | Aug 26 2004 5:35 utc | 90

Christopher Allbritton reports on his Bad Day in Najaf at Verrrry interesting.

Posted by: Pat | Aug 26 2004 5:39 utc | 91

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A mortar shell hit the main mosque in the Iraqi city of Kufa, just northeast of Najaf, causing dozens of casualties, witnesses said.
The mosque was crowded with men at the time and ambulances raced to the scene to take scores of wounded to a nearby hospital. Dead bodies lay around the mosque compound, witnesses said...

Mortar shell hits mosque in Kufa

Kufa – many casualties

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 26 2004 6:08 utc | 92

Link for Pat´s comment above: Christopher Allbritton

“Yella, yella” they ordered us. BANG BANG! They fired their weapons just over our heads forcing us to crouch. The foreign journalists and the Arab media were separated into separate trucks and we were all brought to the police station at gunpoint. On the way, they continued to scream at us and point their weapons in our faces.

Posted by: b | Aug 26 2004 6:21 utc | 93

Mortar attack kills 25 at Kufa mosque, 60 injured

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 26 2004 6:31 utc | 94

An inspector calls...

"We're going to fuck the lot of you."

Police abduct journalists

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 26 2004 7:34 utc | 96

@koreyel (sorry I stepped in rather late): you don't really think that what the US is up to in Iraq is "promoting democracy" do you? you should go (re)read Zbig's book on the "correct" relationship between the world's only hyperpower and the lesser races, er, sorry, nations.

divide et impera! -- which means, civil war, chaos, anarchy and warlordism are preferable, in the thinking of our current boy geniuses in power, to any (a) united, modern, prosperous Arab country with delusions of progress and automony, (b) (and this is what really scares 'em) any kind of pan-Arab transnational movement. I dunno who is more scared of these prospects, the Israelis or the Americans -- each, for their own reasons, "needs" to keep the Arab/Muslim world fragmented, riddled with internecine strife, and backwards. (and I ain't saying they don't have help from within, but that's a separate issue.)

imho the descent of Afghanistan into tribal fiefdoms and the chaos in Iraq are precisely what the Amis set out to achieve, and they are now poised to wreck Iran if they can do it. ex-nation-states, piles of rubble where survivors fight each other for scraps of foreign aid, are easier to pillage than cohesive societies with national identities, patriotic sentiments, etc.

the last thing the US wants in the Middle East or Central Asia is a strong, coherent geopolitical player able to make good strategic use of the oil reserves there. at least, that's my reading: the goal is to destabilise, hamstring, and derange Muslim/Arab civil societies to the max: by supporting dictators where necessary, and where that isn't sufficient (where the dictator is too successful in keeping things together and an economy running), declaring "war on terror" and shooting the whole barroom to smithereens.

of course, the obviously racist onslaught on Iraq, the hypocritical hit-n-run on Afghanistan, the "Israel our country right or wrong" policy, all are bound to encourage and build the very same pan-Muslim, pan-Arab transnational solidarity movement that these guys fear so much in the first place -- but imho a far more angry and dangerous version of it! the law of unintended consequences kicks in once again...

watching them start the rhetorical war on Iran is giving me the cold shivers. doesn't the public recognise the same old BS when it's served up so obviously warmed over from the last go-round? OK, I'm raving, sorry, it's just all getting to be a bit much for me.

Posted by: DeAnander | Aug 26 2004 7:35 utc | 97

I remember you said, to rememberinggiap, that Americans deserve whatever they get. I've got a paycheck that says they don't.

bloody brilliant Pat. thanks for that.

Posted by: DeAnander | Aug 26 2004 7:38 utc | 98

Iraq is now more dangerous to the US than when they went to war

There was no "imminent threat" to the United States from Iraq. Then there was no strategy for building a new Iraq."Hubris and ideology" ruled. Now, "Iraq is more dangerous to the US potentially than it was at the moment we went to war".
These are the reluctant judgments of one of the key US officials who participated in the highest levels of decision-making of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). Both interviewed by me and in a forthcoming article in Foreign Affairs journal, Larry Diamond offers from the heart of the Green Zone an unvarnished first-hand account of the unfolding strategic catastrophe...

A ruinous trap of their own making

Posted by: Nemo | Aug 26 2004 8:01 utc | 99

we should remember that Sadr has always said that if Sistani gave him a formal request to vacate Najaf he would do so without question.

is Sistani back and is he pissed....yet?

i think so.

Posted by: anna missed | Aug 26 2004 8:10 utc | 100

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