IRAQ WAR PROGRESS
March 19- May 19 HAMMERNEWS.com
5-19 3am If nothing else, the coordinated bombings in Morocco and Riyadh, display how useless the Iraq invasion was in deterring terrorism, in fact it did the opposite. Taking a page from Reagan’s aborted Beirut disaster, we are confirming the effectiveness of terrorism and guaranteeing more of it, by fleeing Saudi Arabia under immediate threat. Should we telegraph how easy it is to drive us out, or is Bush contemplating serious arm-twisting of the Saudis and their backing of extremists? Probably not, considering how tied to the hip American (administration) oil interests are with the Saudis.
5-12 3am Barbara Bodine was yanked as civilian manager of Iraq because, along with FBI’s Thomas Pickard, she was the American whose machinations bear the most responsibility for 9-11. Terrorism expert and new Iraq czar John Bremmer no doubt knows this whole sorry tale, and demanded she be yanked- Defense Dept. officials were reportedly livid about her appointment. The whole story is below.
FRONTLINE ran a stunning documentary Oct 3: The Man who Knew, detailing the career and destruction of an American hero- maverick FBI agent John O’Neil, the foremost American expert on Al Qaida and Islamic terrorists. He was a brilliant, fanatically hard-working and dedicated guy, but a hard charging no-nonsense character who rubbed some the wrong way- especially the petty button-down by-the-book hacks who ran the FBI- Louis Freeh and Deputy Director Thomas Pickard. As brand new head of counterterrorism for the FBI, O’Neil drove nonstop to DC, went straight to his office, took a call from the White House about Ramzi Yousef (’93 WTC bomber + Philippine plane bombing plotter) being found in Pakistan- then spent the next 3 days engineering his capture… without leaving the office. Louis Freeh was disappointed- no one could come up to his high standards- a philandering President, whom he openly held in contempt, the NSC or CIA, with whom he didn’t share information, and certainly the dandy John O’Neil, who wore fine suits and held court at Elaine’s.
Incredibly, despite his vast expertise, the FBI didn’t send him to investigate the Africa embassy bombings in ’98, but Pickard himself- who knew little about the terrorist network O’Neil had put together. Finally after the Cole bombing, pressure from O’Neil’s fans forced Freeh to send him to Yemen- where the trail and leads were fresh. He made many connections and established rapport with Yemeni officials, but his insistence on maintaining a strong defensive perimeter in the terrorist haven irritated the imbecile Ambassador Barbara Bodine, who was concerned over keeping good relations with the anti-American stronghold. She undercut him, sabotaged him, prevented him from carrying adequate weapons, and when he needed to return a few months later to question witnesses- she denied him entry- which shockingly was upheld by State and the FBI. Meanwhile, the bureaucratic hacks at the FBI used several minor transgressions to charge, threaten, and damage O’Neil- till they drove him out of the agency. In August 2001, he took a new job- head of security for the World Trade Center, where he was killed going back into the towers to rescue people. It is almost certain that, if O’Neil had been allowed to do his job, he would have caught the 9-11 terrorists in time- he predicted Sept 10th that they would try to knock down the WTC again. While Al Qaida cranked up their plans to kill up to 50,000 Americans, tax accountant Pickard waged war only on the one man who could stop them- O’Neil. When the book is written on who was responsible for not stopping 9-11, the answers will be Thomas Pickard, who quit last November to go into private security; Barbara Bodine , now at University of California at Santa Barbara (BkbodineUCSB@aol.com 3049 Humanities+Social Science Bldg 805-893-5609), and Louis Freeh, who quit in June 2001 and testified before Congress Oct 8, where he lauded O'Neil. I hope they sleep well.
5-11 3am We are continuing to lose the peace in Iraq with the pitifully unplanned occupation- Uberfuehrer Jay Garner (Jake was the Senator) has been so undersupplied with staff and power that he is in danger of being a joke, total assistance to Iraq being capped at the woefully inadequate $1.7 billion. Another administrator was sent to oversee him, Paul Bremmer III, who is a longtime rightist diplomat and terrorism expert but inexperienced in the Middle East. Despite failing to provide security, humanitarian aid (electricity, water, food), we continue to oppose any role for the UN, in the childish vendetta that is Bush’s trademark. More alarming, we are preventing the IAEA inspection of the looted Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Facility, with the strange excuse that their purpose is political , although they’re the only people who actually know what was in there to begin with. Political means they might discover how little we cared to search for the ostensible reason for this entire war, and how criminal our inattention was- what with idiots dumping radionucleotides to take the container for water. Not only did we do nothing to stop looting, the BBC reports some soldiers may have encouraged it- as a finger in the Baath eye. In the final nail in the Soviet coffin, the Senate unanimously approved NATO expansion into the Baltics: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania- partially as a reward for their war support. These countries, having labored earnestly (or under protest) for decades under the hammer and sickle and still suffering the economic results, are easily bought. France, however, is still on petty George’s list, and with the not-warlike enough Chermans and the too democratic Turks, are to be punished by denying them the ability to help the desperate Iraqis. Bush now threatens to split, damage, and perhaps destroy NATO with spiteful meddling. The anti-tax nuts of the Club for Growth are targeting the few Repubs that have resisted Bush’s lunatic additional tax cuts with vicious ads. Dems tried to make capital out of Bush’s unnecessary campaign fly-in on the Abe, but a far more egregious and sleazy tactic is the Repubs delay of their ’04 Big Apple Convention until Sept, when it can merge with 9-11 anniversaries and the burst of patriotic fervor and fear that will provoke. It is so late that states will have to change their voting rules and do last minute printing of ballots to accommodate Rove’s “strategy”. Moral absolutist and rule-giver Bill Bennett was shamed by news he is a compulsive gambler, having lost $8 million in high stakes games, a half a mil just last month, in the sucker’s bet of slot machines. General rule of thumb- the bigger the moralist- the bigger the liar. Fall-you-well.
5-3 8am The wild American Bushman celebrated his troops and his own (because of course it was his war) hero-hood, in a carefully crafted Deaver TV event, by jetting on to the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln (bringing freedom to the military slaves) after its longest deployment. This is risky business, landing on a carrier, and it’s notable the pilot of the squat and ugly temporary Air Force 1, caught the last of 4 wires, by definition a bad landing (optimum is #2). Presumably the pilot was impressed with the negative implications of splashing the leader of the free world into the tail of the massive aircraft carrier, and told to “go high”. Not a word about the missing WMD’s- no- he acted as if they had found them, but even conservatives now admit that was baloney from the get-go. While George 2nd celebrated his flyboys, Rummy delivered a strange and mixed radio message to the pummeled citizens of Iraq, with his normal combination of truth, superiority, blindness, and sermonizing. In Mockba, Putin ridiculed Tony Blair and the sham basis for the war and refused to lift the pointless sanctions--- Almost mocking Mr Blair, he went on: "Where is Saddam? Where are those arsenals of weapons of mass destruction, if indeed they ever existed? Perhaps Saddam is still hiding somewhere in a bunker underground, sitting on cases of weapons of mass destruction and is preparing to blow the whole thing up and bring down the lives of thousands of Iraqi people." What a shabby state of affairs when the most honest observer of a war waged in the name of freedom is an ex-KGB professional liar. Putin has looked into Bush’s heart and now seen the coeur of a megalomaniac. Turns out the British did some good after all by forcing the Pentagon to scale back a much larger full week of ‘shock and awe’ air assaults. An older report details how cult leader, ex-felon, and Repub powerhouse publisher (Wash. Times) Sun Yung Moon, illegally funneled many millions into North Korean coffers for a self-aggrandizing NK hometown theme park (StarvationWorld?). For an illumination of the privacy threats of the Patriot act, check out this account of an (apparently mistaken) INS-Homeland Security raid.on an NYC restaurant. Erotic motor-mouth NBC’s Ashley Banfield has risen enormously in my estimation, with a searing attack on the press for sterilizing war coverage, lack of international perspective, and MSNBC for hiring right-wing creep Michael Savage (for which she was of course promptly punished). I just had my own conversations with a top MSNBC woman about putting on a liberal show, and the trap of chasing after the limited pool of dittoheads who want all facts cooked before presentation, “MSNBC was the best news network in the 2000 election- they were the place I would go when any massive event happened. Now, they’re going to lose that.” After canning Donahue, and hiring savage Savage (who called Banfield a “slut” for reporting on Arab views, whom FAIR calls a hate-talk host, who is really a Weiner, and who burst from obscurity with an extremist white-power message) and Jesse Ventura, she said there wasn’t much chance of them creating any new liberal show. In another of the alarming and idiotic things going on under the radar- Bush has revived our nuke making machinery, which had long been rightfully idled, and is cranking up research on low-yield atomic bombs. Aren’t 15,000 of these things enough? Does rabid Rummy really think he could ever use a nuke on anything (which he speculated doing in Iraq) without providing the seeds of destruction to India and Pakistan, without turning USA into a pariah nation? After this graphic display of our awesome military superiority, where is the need, other than as playthings for Rummy’s war chest?
5-1 4am The shootouts (2 now) in Fallujah isn’t part of the Shiite Islamic uprising- this was a center of Saddamites, and their passing shouldn’t be a matter of too much concern- lunatics were babbling about US troops looking at their women with night vision goggles and violating their strict Moslem principles (which weren’t too troubled by 30 years of torture and murder). Photos. Wistful and outraged Saddamites shouldn’t be coddled. On the other hand, civilians were probably caught in the crossfire, and since it’s Iran-oriented cleric policy to encourage bigger and bigger demonstration/attacks and the resulting fatalities, all deaths are bad now. The Mirror published an account that sounded like cold-blooded murder. Muslim leaders are convinced that America can’t take a steady drib and drab of fatalities and they’re probably right. To really effect an Islamic takeover, they need to drive the US out. We are going to understand why Saddam was the monster he was- pie in the sky amber waves of grain doesn’t mean much in this brutal world. It’s likely more American will die in the next year in Iraq than died in the war. The idea that Iraqis can resolve leadership issues between the Sunni overlords and the surging Shiite majority without bloodshed is wishful thinking, we will have to impose rulers on these people because we’re so afraid of Shia fanaticism.
We may be setting up Abu Mazen for the same fate that befell Serbian PM Djindjic (Jin-gich), whom we forced to arrest a crime boss (for the Hague trials) he had promised not to to get cooperation for Milosevic’s downfall. The new Palestinian Prime Minister (also dba Mahmoud Abbas) has demanded that everyone be disarmed, and there’s no question that Hamas and others will violently resist. We questioned Ambassador Dennis Ross about it yesterday (audio)- he said Mazen could disarm fighters in Gaza, but didn’t have the power to do so in the West Bank. Sharon is fervently resisting the sudden American push for peace, and it’s doubtful this administration has the will to force him.
Rummy is taking a well-deserved victory lap around Iraq- but we are deeply conflicted about this fascinating, likeable, brilliant, arrogant, and rabid guy. All apply simultaneously, and one expects at any point that he will go supernova and drop a few cruise missiles on the Champs Elysée. Even while Powell is obediently calculating France’s punishment, Rummy has intern-molesting attack weasel Newt calling on the revamping of the State Dept.- nothing can be permitted to slow implementation of Rumsfeld’s every passing fancy. There is no limit to this guy’s lust, ambition, and ruthlessness. On the other hand he just quietly fired Army Sec. Thomas White, an Enron scammer who had helped set up 100’s of sham offshore corporations, allegedly in a dispute over his canceling of the Crusader artillery project, though that probably is also clearing out a political liability, as the all-politics all the time administration moves into campaign mode 1 ½ years before the fact.
If we think pulling our troops out of Saudi Arabia will diminish radical hatred of us, while we stay in Baghdad, we are fooling ourselves. Saudi basing may be essential when and if radical elements overthrow the corrupt monarchy, which has presided over a 4-fold drop in average income in the last 21 years. If Iraq is the cushion for Saudi oil, Saudi is the whole couch.
4-28 3am After not finding any evidence at all for WMD’s save a sketchy 3rd hand report trumped up in the New York Times as definitive, it turns out the all-important Iraqi nuclear facilities weren’t even a priority- in fact we allowed the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center, with about 100 tons of uranium, to be looted. More than anything, this puts the lie to all the rationales for war- the Bushies weren’t even worried enough feign making the hunt for WMD’s a priority. Video showed locals crossing through the fence as US troops looked on passively. http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A35498-2003Apr24?
Iraqi locals told the Marines, according to situation reports sent through Central Command, that the last of the guards had departed four days earlier. The Marines reported that some of the buildings showed evident signs of looting. Until receiving reinforcements, the small unit was unable to prevent further intrusions by Iraqis who cut through barbed wire fencing and stole inside.
Our soldiers are becoming more and more of a target, by both guerilla attacks and stone throwing kids, as the cancellation of war footing makes self-defense much more difficult, and their stationary basing makes targeting them easier. A devastating attack of flares by marauding Iraqis set off a massive Iraqi arms compound, that contained 80 large missiles, sending shells and explosives for ½ mile and killing at least 40 people- enraging the populace so much that they fired on rescue workers. Troops had added collected weapons and shells to the compound in the middle of a residential area. One report details Russia’s intelligence cooperation with the Mukhabarrat, claiming they fed the Iraqis details of Blair’s conversations with Putin, and even a list of Western assassins. Another document supposedly details a meeting between an Iraqi rep and Osama himself, though after the Niger uranium forgery, all such things must be taken with a shaker of salt.
The brazenness of the Repub company payoffs in billions of secret Iraq contracts is profiled on 60 Minutes, paying Halliburton as much as double the going rate for extinguishing oil well fires. After Cheney’s machinations in the first Bush Administration, Halliburton was awarded 2700 government contracts and Cheney was made President of Halliburton. 9 members of the Defense Policy Board (Pearl, Schlesinger, Woolsey) have won more that $70 billion in military contracts for their related companies in the last 2 years.
The fear campaign against critics of the War continues: Martin Sheen just had his tires slashed after stopping at a convenience store, Tim Robbins (whom we chatted with at a recent conference) was almost sobbing on TV after threats against his family, and the Dixie Chicks fought back by stripping down for a mag cover (flesh trumps all and wins back the yahoos) and interviewed with self-beloved Dianne Sawyer, who, rather than encouraging freedom of speech, questioned the sincerity of their contrition.
Bush’s threatening of Syria has been shelved after the CIA revealed how essential and helpful they had been in combating Al Qaida. Incredibly, after a supposedly tension-easing call from Chirac to Bush, America is still acting like a Mafia Don, Powell talking about how we are going to punish France. Arrogant fools.
SARS panic is now doing more damage than the disease, with a million residents fleeing Beijing, Toronto on Dr. WHO’s no-visit list, and governments considering involuntary quarantine. Get a grip- every day 1000 black Africans get off planes in the United States, some from countries with 45% AIDS infections. On the other hand, at a 4% fatality rate, if a billion people get this disease, that would be 40 million deaths. And the possibility of more deadly mutation (like happened in the horrific 1918 pandemic) can’t be ignored, so maybe the sky is falling. Mother Nature must be annoyed at these pesky humans, who’re wiping out as many species as the dinosaur’s meteor strike.
4-22 12:15am Suddenly, we can’t get out of Iraq fast enough- we are going to dump these people too- an absolutely wrong course in the psychologically damaged country. We took on this responsibility- to build a decent society (after blasting it)- now we’re going to cut and run AGAIN (as an editor predicted 2 months ago). We should have thousands of MP’s there, instead we are restoring the tainted police, who are mostly thugs and bullies (what you get in a totalitarian society). “Good” ones were chosen out of roster books by US officers perusing the empty squad rooms. Like in Germany, where the pressures of the Cold War caused us to curtail De-Nazification, Iraq must be scrubbed of Saddamites (damn I love that phrase), lest we free them into the clutches of the monsters- new boss same as the old. Building a decent free society after the horrors of 40 decades of monsters would require at least a year of occupation, creation of fair and civilized courts, and the stabilizing effect of a large US presence, but US troops are barely seen now. Abandoning it now could cause reversion to an Iranian style oppressive Muslim theocracy- and create a much bigger headache for America. The graphic displays of Shia self-flagellation can’t be what our simple troops, who scream US phrases louder and louder rather than learn 10 words of Arabic (penalty for not seeing American movies can be death), had in mind when they embarked on this liberation business. Notice nobody showed the self-flagellation with swords and the bloodied heads of the thousands of true believers, lest Americans be stunned at the alienness of our liberated charges. Israeli terrorism expert Raymond Cohen is worried about a Shia takeover in Iraq (audio) 3:14 min.
4-19 6am Well, we are sending the FBI to investigate the theft of Iraq’s antiquities, or as Martin Sheen said in Apocalypse Now, “we cut them in half with a machine gun and then offer them a band-aid.” With billions even in US cash, there are undoubtedly some real 3 Kings stories going down by isolated squads who happen on the booty of a kingdom. One can bury stuff in the middle of the desert now, and find it in a year with GPS (4-23 Yeah, uh, huh- soldiers caught trying to spirit away $12mil). Huge demonstrations in several Iraq cities Friday against the American presence organized by Iranian-oriented Moslem clerics could be a portent of guerilla attacks against our thinly spread troops. The dramatic demonstration of Shiite passions and potential fanaticism rattled the administration- since democracy means Shiites are taking over- since they’re over 2/3 of the population. The first freedom they have and they demonstrate against us- of course they never invited us to invade them. Relations were not improved by US troops reacting to alleged shooting in the air in Mosul by blasting into a crowd in the town square- killing 30? on Tuesday and maybe 10 on Wednesday (some question on actual numbers). Incredible Abu Dhabi TV video of Saddam being beloved by a last crowd April 9th just a few miles north of the Marines who were toppling the statue in Baghdad- maybe some last loyal minions shot him, burned him, and buried him in the desert to be a phantom martyr to plague America for years. Don’t think he has the courage for that, though.
4-14 11:50pm The appalling sack of the Baghdad Museum will be the one thing remembered of this war in 1000 years. Imbeciles. 1 squad each could have protected the 10-20 or so vital spots: hospitals, museums, utility providers. 100 troops. Looters are easy to deter- if they have guns they are targets anyway. Great- we brought them freedom but lost 7000 years of their history because of sloppy planning, and blithe ambivalence. If there was anything we could do to enrage the Muslim masses, it was squander the artifacts of their civilizations. Amazingly, our POW’s were discovered unharmed- well, not all the Iraqis were savages, I guess; though rather than the thousandth story of their rescue- tell us this time how many Iraqis we killed. (The last time Colin “had no interest in that number”, though the first thing any Army does is count the enemy dead.) Takrit went out with a whimper perhaps because of the object lessons of looting and revenge that went down in other cities- Saddam’s “tribe” has much to fear from the rage of the victim races of Iraq: the Shiites, the Kurds; who have 40 years of murder and oppression to avenge- our troops must look much preferable. Rummy and Co. have dropped their mask and exposed the maniacal grasp of their master plan: threatening and bullying Syria about letting in Saddomites and, what do you know, WMD’s! Wait a minute- we haven’t found the supposed ones in Iraq yet, is this just a shell game, pulling our attention to the next “target”? This will be a test for the media to see if they sell this one like soap, too. They didn’t even have the guts to challenge that General explaining how troops had the right to defend themselves against non-existent fire by blasting the reporters’ hotel with tank shells. Syria, of course, has supported or condoned terrorist camps in the Bekka valley for years, where the Iranian Hezbollah trained to blow up American embassies and Marines. That may be in the past though- now that is more a security problem for Israel, not USA- but if we can drive out the training camps with bluster, that would be beneficial. It would entail real moves and pressure on the Israelis to actually settle their blood feud with the Palestinians, though (audio w Israeli terrorism expert Raymond Cohen). This victor’s arrogance finally lead Eagleburger to use the scary word “impeachment”. First, though, Congress must rediscover their cajones and righteous prerogatives. Bush displayed his Texas-sized ignorance again in warning Syria not to let in the Baathists, forgetting that Syria is also run by, ah, Baathists. Now if he would only bring some freedom to the over 2 million plus Americans in prison- now as many as the populations of Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota and Iceland combined- the highest number and rate of incarceration in the world and triple the number imprisoned in 1980 (listen to Il. Gov. Ryan). Meanwhile vicious Uday had pics of the Bush twins in his bachelor/rape pad- there’s a match made in heaven.
4-10 4am VICTORY, of a sort. Here’s hoping the celebration pics will deter some of the simmering new jihadists we’ve created in the last month- though that’s a wishful thought. Reminds me of the fall of Soviet Union, when I thought I could start a tidy business removing unwanted Lenin statues from Russian cities (every one had many) and sell them to little towns in Iowa or Arizona as mementoes to the great 20th Century clash. Saddam and hard core pals may make a Hitler-bunker last stand in Takrit, where his base of support and Sunni strength lies. Once Baghdad battles are through (1-2 days), we may simply seal off Takrit- tell the people to leave and cut off all services, rather than venture into what may be major well designed ambushes with those WMD’s that were the supposed reason for this 19th Century colonial adventure. Saddam has nothing to lose. As they say, it ain’t over till it’s over. Hopefully, besides the numerous innocent civilians (like our REPORTERS in the Palestine- bastard General couldn’t even apologize), maybe this war killed the evil Saddomites who should be eradicated for Iraq to have a decent future. Surprised that Brits weren’t far wiser in stopping looting and destruction, lest we win the war and lose the peace. Stripped hospitals, power + water plants will take a long time to resuscitate, but to people making $3-20 a month any booty is spectacularly valuable. It indicates how half-assed this invasion was- that they had no plans for administration after victory. Now if they had managed to drop even 30,000 airborne guys into the North, this whole thing would be over by now- the plan was to blitz them from 3 sides- and the attack from the North (with the stopped Turkish-transit troops) would have been so overwhelming that it would have shortened it by a week. Well, we never said Rumsfeld wasn’t a genius, just one without an engine governor. And I guarantee that they will find some nuclear bomb workshops or components, even if they have to bury them themselves. Bush has stopped babbling about WMD’s, like his deep interest was always the welfare of Iraqis. THEN GET THE RELIEF SUPPLIES IN THERE!!
4-8 3pm Latest flash- we’ve killed the Saddam energizer bunny- well, let’s wait on that a bit. I feel we might have to kill him 2 or 3 more times to be sure, though this might help stop the carnage. Chances are he won’t be holding any big rallies. Maybe, we’ll never know- loyalist will burn and disperse his body to preserve the mystery and legend. The incredible rescue of Jessica Lynch has all the makings of a made for TV movie, though the business about her blasting away Iraqis till the last second sounds hokey- wouldn’t they have then killed her? On the other hand she has as many broken bones as a skydiver whose chute didn’t open. Our troops have done the easy part- getting up to the gates of Baghdad- maybe the Saddomite rats are now jumping ship, but I think overconfidence is very dangerous now- I think there are at least a few nasty surprises in store for us. Finally, definitively, is Qatar pronounced Ka-tar, Kott-er, Cut-ter, Cat-ar, Gutter (NPR) or my favorite mispronunciation, Brokaw’s Got-her? Get a grip, Tom. Latest casualties figures are about 150 coalition troops have died- Iraqi casualties are, at a guess, 50,000. Every time they say, “X division has been reduced”, it means 5-10,000 soldiers have been killed; our absolute air superiority enables us to vaporize these poor slobs without any risk. This has been a deadly war for reporters- 12 dead (inc. missing). As usual, car accidents are as dangerous as the enemy (Michael Kelly), but blood clots? David Bloom seemed like a nice, if hyperactive guy, which coupled with no sleep, dehydration, and nerve gas pills and pesticide- could have clotted his blood. Wind chill factors at night during the sandstorm must have been below zero; inside vehicles the day’s heat now can reach 120- all of which dehydrate people, the great cause for embolisms on airplanes. Makes you want those daily aspirin vitamins, esp. if you do 12 hour shifts at a computer.
I’m totally sure that the blasting of an Al Jazeera office (which killed one) was absolutely totally accidental (take that, you photographicing scum –caution, brutal images)- our idiot tanks even killed 2 reporters in the Palestine Hotel from a mile and half away (outside of RPG or sniper range), which should have been on everyone’s no-fire list. That’s how carefully discriminate our shelling has been- the claim is that they saw someone with binoculars or camera lenses (then changed to receiving fire), so just looking is now risking death. Well, the Army basically threatened foreign reporters with death (you will be targeted) if they used satellite phones and told them all to get out of Baghdad (lest they see the accidentally killed Iraqis). I can’t remember when our own soldiers have killed our reporters; with 3 incidents already- it seems command and control is pretty sketchy. For our experiences in a brief, but intense war/revolt see http://mikehammer.tripod.com/24hours.html . Here’s hoping that soldiers aren’t taking pyridostigmine bromide again as protection against nerve gas, since it may well have been the cause of Gulf war Syndrome:
Concern has been raised about the possibility of increased health problems from PB when it is combined with other risk factors. Some researchers have hypothesized that PB in combination with stress may create central nervous system effects. 59,170,228 The insect repellent DEET and the insecticide permethrin are most often mentioned as cofactors with PB for Gulf War illnesses.
After the Gulf War, one U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher conducted a study on synergistic effects of various chemicals, including DEET and PB, on cockroaches. DEET showed a four-fold increase on the lethality of PB-i.e., it took one fourth as much PB to kill cockroaches in the presence of a sublethal dose of DEET.314 In 1996, another researcher reported that PB given at near lethal levels to chickens could increase the toxicity of DEET and permethrin.1 Under these conditions, nervous system damage to the chickens was reported. A 1995 DOD study with rats reported that PB caused a slight increase in lethality of DEET and permethrin when compared to expected additive values.263
These three studies report enhanced toxic effects from PB, DEET, and permethrin in combination. However, doses used in the laboratory experiments were far greater than exposures U.S. service members could have experienced during the Gulf War. Moreover, for DEET and permethrin, the routes of administration were not comparable to that used by U.S. service members in the Gulf War. For example, in the chicken model, DEET and permethrin were injected underneath the skin and, in the rat study, they were administered orally. During the war, DEET should have been applied to the skin, and permethrin should have been applied to the uniform.
The water situation in Basra (and soon Baghdad) is now critical after 2 weeks without power and water- we are probably killing more by contaminated water and thirst than by combat- and there seems little sense of urgency in what could be a humanitarian and PR disaster. “We aren’t going to choose the Iraqi government”, the President dissembled again, as the chosen inheritor, Ahmed Chalabi and his Iraqi Nat. Congress were ferried into northern Iraq to organize support. Chalabi, who hasn’t been in Iraq since the 60’s, is derided and dismissed by most observers, but the Pentagon loves him.
4-3 5am We wisely are avoiding the Ali Mosque, the most revered place in Shia, where the caliph Ali was slaughtered in 680 by thousands of troops from the Damascus caliph. In another friendly fire incident an A-10 destroyed 2 British Scimitar tanks, though they were plainly marked with the Union Jack. Brits have been cynically warning each other that they have more to fear from US troops than the Iraqis. For the best depiction of the horror of friendly fire, see the start of the movie Courage Under Fire..
4-2 2am The growing tide of criticism against the “slow” pace of the war and civilian overruling of the generals has led to a massive night long bombing by B-52’s of the ancient city of Karbala, as Rummy accelerates the intensity under pressure. If we do that in Baghdad it could decimate the poor people who couldn’t leave (2-3 million?). If 50,000 soldiers fight tenaciously street to street, it could cause a bloodbath, as we retreat from ambushes and bomb the city to rubble. It’s possible 200,000 residents (inc. Saddomites) would fight what they see as an alien invasion, even if they hate Saddam. Saddam destroyed much of narrow alleys and warrens of the old city, or ambushes would be much easier. In a city they don’t need anti-tank missiles, just a lot of gasoline and bottles. Tragic shoot-up of the car of women and children may have been caused by cultural misinterpretations (like whistling is “booing” in theatres in Europe).
quoted surviving family members as saying they had decided to leave their village and flee toward U.S. lines because they thought a leaflet dropped by American helicopters told them to "be safe."Bakhat Hassan - who said he lost two daughters, a son, his parents, two older brothers, their wives and two nieces in the incident - said U.S. soldiers at an earlier checkpoint had waved them through. As they approached another checkpoint 25 miles south of Karbala, they waved again at the American soldiers. Those soldiers fired.
"I saw the heads of my two little girls come off," said Hassan's wife, Lamea, 36.
When Americans wave the whole arm from side to side, it means STOP, but in Iraq it might have meant HELLO, as waving the hand at the wrist does to us. Every suicide attack will cause more jumpiness and more accidents against panicked civilians, who may be running for their lives. Kudos for the rescue of that US girl Jessica Lynch, from Palestine (hope that won her some points). Predict once the whole story of what these women captives were subject to comes out, the pressure for women in combat will drop radically. Peter Arnett failed our loyalty test by stupidly saying what he actually thought to the Iraqis. Of course, if he did that on MSNBC as one of the talking head experts, he would have been paid $300,000, and any jingoistic idiocy would be encouraged. The horror- an antiwar correspondent. While 1/3 of the TV stories are treacley tales of the hardship of families pining for their sons and daughters, thousands of innocents are being blasted to pieces by our bombs and shells. “Everything up there is the enemy,” said Lt. Col. Rudder, in an ominous portent, as he sent his men towards Baghdad. Read the unsanitized real war story about the savage Nasiriya street fighting that explains the civilian deaths in London Times.
------Some 15 vehicles, including a minivan and a couple of trucks, blocked the road. They were riddled with bullet holes. Some had caught fire and turned into piles of black twisted metal. Others were still burning.
Amid the wreckage I counted 12 dead civilians, lying in the road or in nearby ditches. All had been trying to leave this southern town overnight, probably for fear of being killed by US helicopter attacks and heavy artillery.
Their mistake had been to flee over a bridge that is crucial to the coalition’s supply lines and to run into a group of shell-shocked young American marines with orders to shoot anything that moved.
One man’s body was still in flames. It gave out a hissing sound. Tucked away in his breast pocket, thick wads of banknotes were turning to ashes. His savings, perhaps.
Down the road, a little girl, no older than five and dressed in a pretty orange and gold dress, lay dead in a ditch next to the body of a man who may have been her father. Half his head was missing. Nearby, in a battered old Volga, peppered with ammunition holes, an Iraqi woman - perhaps the girl's mother - was dead, slumped in the back seat.
3-30 2am That terrorist attack is a harbinger of things to come (audio commentary), especially as we enter Baghdad and find that even some non-Saddomites consider their homeland and religion desecrated. Tenacious, but suicidal resistance from Iraqi fighters, has slowed down our advance- and the media has been jumping all over it. What, a war that lasts over a week??? We are Americans, after all, and have a short attention span- everything better happen within that time frame, or else. Of course nobody noticed that A. there is almost no justification for this war, and B. Bush lost the election by a half million votes and “won” with a only quarter of the voters, so has no mandate for such a wildly risky enterprise. Wonder how long Braveheart Lt. General William Wallace, who admitted resistance was far higher than expected and that soldiers weren’t prepared for it, will keep his job. It is clear now why Bush was so intent on gutting the World Court- with his reckless disregard of international law and world opinion it’s not inconceivable that he could have been charged by it. Finally opening a northern front with 1000 paratroopers after Turkey resisted our subtle entreaties, but they are facing 120,000 Iraqis. Why does it take 3-4 weeks to go from the eastern Med to Persian Gulf when they can cross the Atlantic in 3 days?- measured out at 4000 mi, with mines, shoals, and Suez- but if these behemoth carriers can’t do the Suez, then it’s 3 times longer around Africa. Of course, judging by what Special Forces did in Afghanistan, it might not take much, esp. considering the northern Iraqis know what crimes they’ve committed against the Kurds for 3 decades. Alarmingly, various strategic thinkers are advocating for a massive bombing assault, claiming this targeted incremental business puts our troops at risk. Of course, massive bombing of innocent cities will put our souls and heritage at risk. Still, trying to maintain the infrastructure of a target city is counter to all modern rules of war. I’m afraid we will besiege Baghdad by default- that is seal it up and wait for hunger and desperation to cause surrender. Finally found pics of the probably executed US captives. WARNING- BRUTAL IMAGES http://www.americanpolitics.com/20030323Koop2.html .
3-27 4am Latest figures fm CBS News: A total of 44 coalition troops have died of all causes, including 14 Americans and two Britons who have been killed in combat. Between 1, 000 and 1,200 Iraqi troops have been killed in combat. And it's estimated 175 Iraqi civilians have died, with another 660 wounded. Every time they talk about an Iraqi column moving, those are people who are minutes from annihilation- nobody can resist our combined power in the open without air cover: one report has 650 Iraqis dying in Najef alone in the last day. A humanitarian disaster is near in Basra, where bombing knocked out the power and the electricity driven water supply- much of the 1.5 million population has been 6 days without clean water, drinking from rivers with sewage floating in it- this impure water is the reason maybe 650,000 died of the sanctions in 12 years of sanctions- we embargoed chlorine because it’s an ingredient in poison gas. I have to give Rumsfeld credit for allowing alot of press for the first time in 20 years- but he’s feeding the powerful taste for reality shows and sciento-porno imagery first seen in 3 Kings and perfected in CSI- how cool it is to see a bullet ripping through internal organs; and our military has finally realized that allowing enormous numbers of press gives them many sources of tactical info. Imbeciles attacked Peter Arnett for being disloyal when he stayed in Baghdad in the Gulf War, but he was one of the military’s greatest intelligence assets. If we start getting guerilla fighting in Baghdad, look for reporter’s access and reports to suddenly disappear- lest a Tet-like event chill American support of this misbegotten adventure. Note our estimate of Iraq War cost 2 weeks ago (without occupation, reconstruction, etc.) was $80 bil.- Bush’s just released numbers: $75 bil. To illustrate the broad range of support for this invasion Washington has cobbled together a coalition of the willing (wanting)- 46 nations said to “support the war”, but they include Turkey which caused us billions of dollars by refusing to let out troops pass despite $26 bil of bribes, and 6 countries that have no military- Palau, Costa Rica, Iceland, Marshall Is., Micronesia. Only Britain at 45,000, and Australia at 2000 have sent any troops, though Morocco has pledged 2000 monkeys to help detonate land mines. Send them to Washington- they can’t give Bush worse advice than he’s received.
3-25 40 Apache helicopters attacking Karbala were shot to hell by hundreds of dispersed defenders with AK’s and RPG’s. Barely making it back, the choppers suffered dozens of holes in the tail, windshield, rocket pods (which caught fire and had to be jettisoned)- but contractors should consider doing this in testing. Guess this one passed- incredible that any advanced aircraft can take such abuse- they must have quadruple redundancy. Luckily we only lost one, but if this general Mogadishu response is common, we are going to lose a lot of helicopters, and rescues will be near impossible. This has been the big story of the last week, but it barely made a ripple. The latest pics show B-52’s loaded with what don’t look like smart bombs- a bad sign if they’re dumping them in cities. I have a feeling smart bombs can’t be dropped in concert, in groups, lest they interfere with each other (since they actually fly). If the Republican Guard retreats into Baghdad and fights from every building, I don’t think our reluctance to annihilate civilians will last. “The cities are our jungle,” bragged Tarik Aziz (note to CentCom- kill this guy), referring to our last big failure-Vietnam, which we entered without understanding the motives and dynamics of the participants. If we start mass bombing of a city of 5 million, we could cause hundreds of thousands of casualties, and enflame the Moslem world to no end. And after the 3rd or 4th serious ambush of our troops in the city (which could kill 1-2 thousand Americans)- that’s what we’ll do. “It’s like Northern Ireland”, said a Brit about the prospect of patrolling a hateful murderous populace. That lasted 3 decades. God seems to be turning against us with the worst sand storms in decades; unless I’m hallucinating (no, reports fm 3/28 have temps in the 30’s), a reporter just (5am3/26) said the Kuwait temp. is in the 30’s, which would make the wind chill below zero- after worrying about extreme heat for months, bet troops are thankful for chemical suits. In climbing Grand Teton, I had continuous 50 mph winds, which cut threw even 7 layers of clothes and simply wore down all resolution. If it hadn’t abated the next day (found a cave shelter overnight below the 10,600 ft Saddle), I would have abandoned the climb. Like typical Americans, we don’t just shut down and relax for a couple of days, but fight on against the sand and wind, and damage every component in every machine. Twice, as the Mongols sailed huge armadas against the Japanese (after they’d conquered most of the world, inc. Baghdad), huge hurricanes blew up and sank their whole fleets. Saddam can only hope. The Turks are just itching to cross over and kill them some Kurds while the killing is good- if there’s anything we could accomplish out of this mess, it’s giving the poor Kurds a homeland (don’t hold your breath). There is even the possibility of fighting between US and Turk forces if they ignore our directives to stay put.
3-24 I almost am relieved at some real fighting- I keep wondering if Saddam had some rope-a-dope; some trap that would lure Americans into a bottleneck and detonate pre-buried chemical bombs or mines that might kill hundreds of Americans in a pop. A national guard soldier here who had been in the Gulf War said a month ago, “I keep telling all my friends- this isn’t going to be like the last one. We are going to take casualties in this.” This is the biggest Nat. Guard mobilization since Vietnam. America hasn’t really fought in a city since the savage battle of Hue in the Tet Offensive, where 7000 died. Couldn’t find the video of the dead soldiers to see if they really seemed to be executed- that certainly would explain the raw terror of the other prisoners. Great- Bush is railing at Putin about selling Iraq equipment, now we’re moving back towards a cool war footing? What relationships will remain when this madness is over? Iraq was one of the biggest Soviet client states and still owes them $8 billion- no transition was ever more stunning than Gorbachev and Yeltsin’s support of the first Gulf War. They should collar a Al Jazeera news crew and immediately dispense thousands of MRE’s to hungry Iraqis to counter some of the toxic images of Iraqi victims of our bombs and shells (which of course, we don’t see). Dissent is now unpatriotic, as if opposing this reckless President and his stupid policies has the slightest effects on soldiers on the other side of the world. I’ve never been more afraid for the fate of the republic.
3-23 The ambush in An Nasiriyah will make all troops more suspicious and hostile towards surrendering Iraqis- which might make them less likely to surrender. I was shocked, which shows how much we foolishly expect war to be painless- how dare you attack us?, is the sentiment from Americanos who forget we are invading, blasting, and killing people who haven't attacked us. And the capture and imprisonment of our troops makes our flouting of the Geneva Convention by endless and appeal-less imprisonment of alleged terrorists in Guantanamo very relevant. As always said by wiser voices than exist in the Bush regime; these International laws of warfare protect us, since we are involved in alot of wars. I find it creepy that our TV won't show us our captured soldiers- because it will upset families? Are they less upset thinking they are dead?
The grenade attack
by Asan Akbar (glory?), a black converted Muslim, will make it very fun
for Arab or Muslim US troops- of which there are many, like intelligence
officers & translators. My father suffered the same as an ex-German
intelligence officer in the US Army in WW2- suspicious soldiers kept asking him
‘who pitched for the Dodgers’, when he knew nothing about sports. It also shows
that, at 1/5th of the world, the world of Islam is pervasive, and its rage will
cost us in numerous unforeseen ways. As this war and the Islamic outrage
progresses, a crackdown on “inherent domestic threats” seems inevitable- the
FBI is already interviewing ALL Iraqis in America, voluntarily of course
(unless they don’t agree). In one of their more laughable defenses, they say they
want to inform Iraqis of their concern over discrimination against them. The
poor Brits in a Tornado shot down by a Patriot missile probably suffered
from dopes setting the missile battery to full auto; that is shoot down
anything its radar decides is a threat- of course the Patriot was originally an
anti-aircraft missile. Scuds aren’t a real threat anymore- though we’ve
so swept the skies that any Iraqi who can somehow get a fighter over American
troop concentrations might kill hundreds. Pilots on aircraft carriers were
terrified of the Phalanx anti-cruise-missile chain guns for the same reason-
they often couldn't distinguish between friend and foe and engaged in 1 second-
so much that they were very rarely turned on. Cruise missiles present such a
low profile (so usually unseen) that unless the Phalanx was on full auto- it
was usually worthless. If anything would enrage anti-war Brits, it's America
shooting down their pilots. Helicopters have been crashing at an
alarming rate- because of the tremendous blinding sandstorms, and the damage
they cause all components (and oil fires), and the alarming tendency of
choppers to fly way too close to each other. Choppers are very complicated
compared to a plane, the blades themselves flutter fast enough to change their
pitch in 1/4 of a revolution to tilt the craft one direction or another, then
flip back another 1/2 turn later. When the engines fail, there isn't a wing to
support the craft- the blades can be autorotated in neutral and used as a wing-
but it's an incredibly difficult operation that isn't practiced to completion -
if one does it perfectly one can land it without damage, but mostly it's a
controlled crash (I've flown one at an airshow). With low-level flight, there
are only a few seconds to react to any engine problems before the ground says
hello. Reports of discovery of a "chemical weapons factory"
are premature, say American commanders, which is what they say when the
political weasels are trying to foist a fast one. I have no doubt they can and
will find evidence of something- the problem is that we can't trust anything
this administration says- unless immediately backed up by UN inspectors or
reporters who are alongside: the Bushmen will lie to justify this war.
Notice how dissent was ruthlessly squelched at the Oscars- I think Moore's booing was prearranged by organizers. Scorcese was afraid to show any reaction to Moore’s comments, which shows how far the suppression of dissent has come in 2 weeks. Dennis Miller has tried to resuscitate his flagging career by becoming a Bush-licking pro-war simp; and Bruce Willis has simply done too many combat action movies- after a while these actors really believe that they are superheroes. The media has moved seamlessly from telling us what’s going on to telling us what to think, as in criticizing Bush=criticizing the troops=disloyalty (an accusation that Teddy Roosevelt called treasonous); and the Clear Channel pro-war rallies should send a chill up everyone’s spine. We are one major terrorist attack away from the loss of 225 years of rights and freedoms.
REBUILDING EYERAK: In a symbolic but ignorant act, we are blasting every gov. bldg. and palace of Saddam's regime- these would be instrumental in reconstituting and restoring Iraqis sense of identity. Apparently only American companies are going to be let in on the vast rebuilding of Iraq, shutting out international aid agencies, UN, and Europeans, because it’s important that America be seen as the liberator and Big Daddy builder. Cheney’s Haliburton + Repub Bechtel are due to get fat contracts- though if they’re really serious about rebuilding, that’s a good sign. Well, we've got to punish those wimpy Germans and Frenchies somehow.
3-20 I think these battles will go fast- they’ve so demoralized the Iraqis with psychological manipulation that there may be very little real fighting. If the Turks had allowed a northern front, the inevitability of defeat would have been psychologically crushing to the Iraqis. If they repeat “Saddam is dead” enough, he will have to show himself, and ah, be killed. At least 10 times- to make sure they got the real one. Then again people who are so poor that they have to sell some of their $3/month food for other things are likely to be so exhausted that anything else will be a relief, and these poor slobs have been fighting one war or another for 23 years (except for 1988-90). The Ukrainians and Lithuanians welcomed the Nazis: what could be worse than Uncle Joe, so instead of being killed for owning a cow, they were killed for being Jewish or Slavic. Not that I mean to make any such comparison with our troops. Their strategy is to liberate anti-Saddam Shiite areas, where the people will party in the streets, and beam that around- the propaganda campaign is now to redeem America in the world's eyes. If it is over in a week with negligible casualties (which I think likely- as little as under 5000 Iraq casualties), Bush’s popularity will go up to 80’s and 90’s, but the damage to the world order; the hatred, resentment, and fear of America will remain across much of the world. As we delight at the fireworks of bombs spewing death and destruction, we must remember- America has never been bombed- never (Pearl Harbor wasn’t really America- most Americans have no idea where Hawaii is on a map-latitude of Mexico City- most HI residents don’t really consider it part of America). We are a young and often shallow people. No, these bloody wogs just won’t appreciate what we did for them. And when the retaliation comes in a year or so… people won’t even blame Bush. Be afraid.
SHELL GAME: If Saddam were killed, it would be a brilliant accomplishment that would end this invasion in a few days. They are relying on statements of a mistress, but they lie for a living, and if Saddam has ten doubles, why wouldn't he have them sleeping with mistresses to muddy the waters? Think he, like Jean-Claude, is hard to kill.