Monday, February 28, 2005

 

What America Believes!


In a Harris Poll conducted this month, I found some of the results quite surprising:


44 % actually believe that several of the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11 were Iraqis.

47 % of adult Americans believe that Saddam Hussein helped plan and support the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001.

36 % believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded.

Please think about these figures for a minute. They refer to something like 100 million adult Americans. These results are not just surprising… they are quite disturbing.

After two years of Iraq being constantly a top item in the news, with all these issues being thoroughly covered by all media, how is it possible that so many millions do not know? In this age of the freedom of the press, of the huge news networks, of hundreds and hundreds of newspapers, radio and TV stations… and the Internet…. How can that be possible?

Can someone tell me how this is possible after all the media coverage and after all that has been written and said? What news do all these people watch? What newspapers do they read? What radio stations do they listen to?

Are all those people mad? That certainly cannot be true! They have to be misinformed. But who has been doing that…and why?

If it is possible to mislead so many Americans so easily, and for so long, then of course it is possible for the US administration to do what the rest of the world sees as unacceptable. This being the case, then of course it is not difficult to see that many millions of Americans may willingly support any administration in targeting Iraq, Iran, Syria, France or even Britain… or practically do what they like. Unbelievable?

How can a democracy work with so many people grossly ignorant of simple, basic and important facts?

What hope is there for ‘reaching America’ or discussing finer points if such basic blatant facts are held in error by so many?

What am I doing, wasting my time and yours?


Comments:

The level of misinformation among in the US is frightening and, as you note, dangerous for the world. You are not wasting your time, however hopeless it seems. Your voice and those of others who know the truth are important if we are jolt this nation back to reality. Thanks for your thoughts and efforts.
 
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We are not different from all the countries of the world, Abu Khaleel.

We are at the mercy of the many Agendas (capital A) of the powerful and the prolific. Our medias are slanted by the left or the right and they are becoming more brazenly slanted.

The big businesses in the U.S. have so much influence I believe that they are one of the strongest.

And then religion is becoming inserted into government policies.

I honestly don't know which "news" channel to believe anymore!

And no one worries about integrity ie. that he or she might lose their job and their reputation over a sentence or two. Ie. the CBS people who leaked about Bush's service record too hastily and got some facts wrong; or Eason Jordon who said American soldiers were targeting journalists in Iraq, or the "friend" of the President's who taped him w/out his knowledge.

Then there is a strange denial going on. I think it is for several reasons. One, was covered by mpeach who spoke of the "My country right or wrong" mentality.

Another is people hate to admit that the person they voted for might be grossly inept. The President may be from the same party that their family has voted for, as far back as they can remember. (Which i think is so wrong to vote by party and not by conscience).

Another is that some families of the soldiers would not want to believe that they are backing anything other than the right cause and we can certainly sympathize since their boys and girls lives are at stake. So this is another form of denial.

And then there are those influences outside of our country like the terrorists themselves who are trying to separate longtime friends ie U.S. and Saudi or potential new friends ie. U.S. and Iraq and Afghanistan.

And you may think I am wrong but there are those who would like to stir up mischief within the U.S.thru the media to pit us against each other. I'm still trying to figure this one out but I know it is there.

So to you Charles, I may not always agree with you but my message is, a country united can overcome anything...

So we are getting bombarded with confusing information all the time.

And no one thinks of this: we are still a people in shock: after 9-11 I think people tucked the tragedy away in their heads to be able to get back to work, etc, but when it came time to vote for a president they thought: well Bush is familiar with the terrorist problem and he rallied us when we were still digging for bodies.

Can you understand this kind of loyalty? I can. Although perhaps because i didn't have any family members die I could vote with more of a clear picture of what Bush was about.

And lastly Abu, I haven't said this yet, but this is a great Blog you have made and ...thanks!!
 
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And just to answer more specifically (but more briefly),to your figures.
To my knowledge I remember the Bush admin. actually stating your last two statistical statements as their own assumptions which i'm sure the public then took as fact.

I personally know no one who think that Iraqis attacked the U.S. but it surely wouldn't surprise me.
 
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Those numbers certainly are a concern.

But do not confuse 'uninformed' with 'misinformed.'

Can any of you find stories in the media that support these numbers? Any media outlets that claim Iraqis were involved in 9/11?

It is surprising that so many people could be so uninformed - if that is really the case. I do not know anyone (for or against overthrow of Saddam) who holds these opinions.

The post starting this thread seems to imply that Americans are more misinformed/uninformed than people in other countries. Are there any polls to back this up?

How many Frenchmen believe that their country backed out of enforcing a unanimous UNSC resolution?

How many Iraqis in the sunni triangle believe that US soldiers wear sunglasses that allow them to 'see through' women's clothes?

How many people in the ME believe that the US is fighting a war against Islam?

How many people in the world believe that the US is stealing Iraqi oil?

I'm sure all of those numbers would be quite disturbing.

Uninformed? Misinformed?
 
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You've gotten to the point Charles,
we are still confused about what we heard in the media. So sometimes we think we were misinformed but then we think: "No our government wouldn't stoop so low as to misinform us", so then we think "it must be me, I got it wrong, I'm still just uninformed about it."
But we both know that Cheney and Bush created a subtle, ingenious confusion about an Iraqi meeting with a member of AlQeada in a secret rondevouz and about intelligence reporting that Saddam was talking w/ Alqeada and of course the infamous WMD statements; and just mentioning these things NOT AS FACT, mind you, but just mentioning them, knowing that the unwitting public would make the connection that Iraq= Terrorism and Saddam= Al Qeada, and Saddam united w/ Alqeada and having WMD=the U.S. being attacked w/chemical, nuclear or biological weapons.

Then they can go on to state later that if we take the war on terrorism to Iraq we won't have to fight it at home. All because Bush wanted revenge for the attempted assasination of his father.

I believe this was the peak of the evilness of the Bush administration.
 
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@ Anon,

I must be misinformed. Someone misinformed me that Saddam was a murderous SOB megalomaniac hell bent on acquiring WMD who was in fact quite successful with gassing his neighbors as well as his own people. It must have been Bush and Cheney, as well as every other US politician for the last decade plus, not to mention of course a unanimous UNSC, who cynically misinformed the world.

So none of it was true? It was all just a charade? I feel so violated!

"and just mentioning these things NOT AS FACT, mind you, but just mentioning them, knowing that the unwitting public would make the connection that..."

The US wants to destroy Islam, the US wants to steal oil, the US murders children, the US wants to create an empire to oppress the free people of the world, Bush is the same as Hitler, the 'freedom fighters' want freedom, murdering civilians is legitimate, the Iraqis don't want democracy, the elections will fail, the elections were staged, the results were fixed, ... etc., etc.

It cuts both ways anon. I believe one side - you believe the other. We happen to disagree.

"I believe this was the peak of the evilness of the Bush administration."

Uh-guh.
 
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Abu Khaleel, it gets much worse than that:

So to recap: Representative Sam Johnson (R-TX) believes that the United States should launch a nuclear strike against Syria. Anyone out there on the right have any comments? Really. A nuclear war. A member of congress. Kind of a big deal.
 
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It does not follow that I believe what you call the other side, Charles.

I DO believe that Saddam was a murderous megalomaniac who did all those things but i don't have proof that he was acquiring WMD.I'm sure he probably wanted to.

And your last paragraph I do not side with.

My biggest problem with Bush and the Admin. is the deceit over why we should go to war without a provocation against America when the real target was Al Queda.
 
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I’d plump for "uninformed" myself, rather than "misinformed."
I remember Charles’ predecessor, Fathom, remarking here once that in his experience most people in the US weren’t much interested in the war and didn’t talk about it.
Here in NZ, mass coverage amounts to perhaps three short news items and one longer or analytical one per week in the main paper, and a 30 second TV newsbite every second night. A lot of people, particularly the young, don’t read the paper thoroughly or watch the news - too busy having fun. It’s certainly not a topic of conversation between strangers or casual acquaintances. I know this isn’t the US but I presume most people there are just like here, i.e. basically preoccupied with their own concerns and business.
Add to which, only about half the eligible voters in the US turned out for their Presidential elections - the rest were presumably either disillusioned with politics, or just not interested.
If it’s a proper poll, these "detached" people should make up about half the sample, right? If they were indifferent to the elections, despite all the hoop-la, they’d be even more indifferent about Iraq.
Also depends on how the poll was conducted. If the question was, say, do you believe Iraq had WMD, then it is essential there was a "Don’t Know" option: if it was just a yes/no choice, then half the indifferent ones above would probably go "Duh, Yeah, heard that somewhere."
So my gut instinct would be to take the figures with a "grain of salt," maybe halve them?
Except that that’s when it gets really worrying - about 23% of responsible, reasonably well-informed Americans believe Iraq was involved in 9/11?
Perhaps that does suggest misinformation at work.
Circular
 
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Anon,

"It does not follow that I believe what you call the other side, Charles."

I meant that the other side DEFINITELY uses the, um, 'subtle' rhetorical tactics you blame Bush for using and all I see are posts about evil Bush.

"but i don't have proof that he was acquiring WMD.I'm sure he probably wanted to."

Well, the UNSC was unanimous in condemning Saddam for not complying with the resolutions that ended GW1. Maybe that isn't 'proof' - but in that case, what is?

As Bush said, in the context of Saddam Hussein, and this is always misquoted (and I paraphrase but you can look it up):

'We are not going to wait until the threat becomes imminent.'

Many on the left misquoted him as saying 'We must attack now because the threat is imminent.' (Again I paraphrase but I'm sure you recall the assertion).

Saddam had a pretty clear track record. His resume was lousy to put it mildly. Everyone agreed. He had so many things NOT going for him, that any one of them would justify his overthrow. Taken together, I DO NOT SEE what the moral foundation for resisting his ouster is based upon.

If it is not worthwhile for the civilized world to stand together and get rid of Saddam, when we all agree on who he was, then what is the point of talking about fundamental moral issues as a basis for international relations to begin with?

"And your last paragraph I do not side with."

Well, can we say that while you do not overtly question the truth of the statements I made in last paragraph, you do assert that Bush is evil for making similar rhetorical gestures (that even if the admin did make them, they were so subtle and rare that they can hardly be compared)?

"My biggest problem with Bush and the Admin. is the deceit over why we should go to war without a provocation against America when the real target was Al Queda."

The 'real' target was terrorist groups and the countries that support them. Saddam had lots of other things not going for him as well.

I think the overall long term strategy was to undermine the political paradigm in the ME that created disgruntled, disenfranchised people who were overtly and covertly channeled into anti-western (USA) ideologies that targeted their enemies via asymmetrical acts of terror.

An out of control tyrant like Saddam, with WMD, and proven contacts with terrorist groups (no I'm not saying that he ordered 9/11, nor am I saying he was involved), made him an ideal candidate for overthrow.

The overthrow of Saddam has certainly put the ME into a state of flux. Steps in the right direction by Libya, Isreal/Palestine, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, LEbanon, are all potentially good signs. There is much work yet to be done.
 
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Charles had a predecessor? I hope you and Fathom get more snow than we Ohioans today, Charles :)Just kidding.

Anyway, my theory is that yes, I hate to admit it, but many Americans could care less about anything other than their backyard.
So when they heard things post 911 it was through word of mouth like the telephone game you play as kids. Where things get screwed up.

But I do think that we were misinformed at the got. level and I'm not saying it was always intentional. Maybe the Admin. realized they were having trouble getting a following for their ideals and so had to try to give further credence to the war effort.
And that's when their connections started puzzling people like me.
 
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My snowblower croaked. We are supposed to get about 8-12. I'm not looking forward to it.

I can claim half my genes from stout chillicothe stock.
 
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Chillicothe Ohio?
 
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Sorry charles and Abu i guess this is not the right forum for this.
 
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My apologies too Abu Khaleel,

(yes ohio)

@Praktike,

Well - run with it and they guy is going to have some very uncomfortable explaining to do. LEt the blogosphere do its work.

Who started the story? There must be a source if it is true. I doubt it was taped but there must be dozens of eyewitnesses. It shouldn't be hard to run this to ground.

It was totally stupid think it, and totally irresponsible to say something like that. I think Eason Jordan rightfully took the fall because he couldn't defend himself (if he could have he would have). Now some wacked out congressman offers to bomb Syria with nuclear weapons???

Let's let democracy do its thing.

Keep us updated.
 
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Hello Abu Khaleel,
First my President GW Bush, now the entire tribe of Red Americans!
I do get tired of apologizing for this country! I was listening to a right wing TV 'talk-news' program last night. The topic was Iraq and the whether the democrats would suffer at the polls for not supporting Bush's War[the war is so popular????], given highly 'successful' Iraqi elections.A feeble Dem-stooge stated, 'Well, Bush lied about everything..'( The weakling practically apologized a few moments later)
'Moderator'--"You democrats voted for the war, so why should you complain about anything? You'll hurt the troops!(Besides, you can't prove he lied, he just made a mistake![which one?]) 'But the elections 'proved' that things have completely turned around!'
Often the hardsell, takes a 'opinion poll' turn as in..'You believe in freedom, don't you? So you believe in a Free Iraq[is Iraq free right now?], It is a universal right to be free!!'Hearing this tirade, who could feel free to express another opinion? Of course you are quite free to parrot their opinions with gusto!( Just go to ITM for the parrot show) The rightist media attempts to manage and manipulate every event, to create a buzz, to change a topic just as long as they can firmly flavor 'public opinion' with spicy spin. Frankly, you're not wasting my time but for the 60 million who voted for Bush(plus the 80 million who didn't bother to vote against him, Duh-oh!),well...they were lost along time ago. It's all about salesmanship.
 
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just tell me if your family is from Chillicothe ohio, Charles and then I won't ask anything else like that, ok?

I'm from Kent,OH glad to meet everyone.
 
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Anonymous above (why not give yourself a name?) mentioned "spin," and I suspect that has a lot to do with it.
At New Year I read David Frum’s book about his time as a White House speechwriter during Bush’s first term, and the whole book is basically about spin - when and how to do it. A concrete example was a speech he drafted on some issue, which Bush gave back to him for revision: the headline, X happened or whatever, was wrong, the headline needed to be "Bush Leads!"
Eventually "spinning" seems to almost become an aim in itself, something to be done automatically whatever the news.
A key spin tactic is often to defuse bad news by attacking the messenger. Now that Colin Powell, the All-American hero, is starting to blab about what really went on in the lead up to war, and how Bush ignored his advice, it will be interesting to see what dirt starts being produced about him, to show that he was really a covert liberal wimp all along. The actual facts easily get buried in the dirt storm - and Joe Bloggs in the street will remember Powell’s taste for Commie ice-cream, say, and forget that he told Bush the troop levels weren’t sufficient for occupation.
It’s a variation on the "ad hominen" method of argument, attacking your opponent if you can’t fault his argument. Widely used in spoof comedy debates, and common in junior high school debating societies, but out of place in serious discussion.
Charles is a master of the "ad hominen," probably not deliberately. If you say, "See, Powell said occupation would need more troops," you can more or less guarantee that his answer will be "So! You support tyrants and despots and hate freedom, you liberal you!"
(Trying to explain to him that in most of the Western world "liberal" is a description of a viewpoint, not a term of abuse, is really not worth the effort.)
And so with the beliefs about Iraqi involvement in 9/11. If enough right-wing media pundits claim "Liberals deny 9/11 Link" the message gets across.
Circular
 
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Abu Khaleel:

Now, it is finally my turn to be optimistic (at least to some extent). There are undoubtedly ignorant, misinformed people in this country. There are also people that are so apathetic about news, politics, foreign affairs, etc., that they fail to pay attention to any information concerning those issues.

Fortunately, however, the ignorant and apathetic are much more likely to neglect to vote than the informed and politically active. A more interesting survey would have included the number of such clueless respondents that had actually voted in the last election cycle.

My next comment is going to sound obnoxiously elitist (and may upset some of your Australian readers), but really is quite sensible. In my view, the survey results are a good reason to be thankful that we do not have mandatory voting in this country. As shown in the following study, the ill-informed and apathetic are the most likely to neglect to vote (see table III). The self-reported differences between the nonvoters and voter populations concering apathy and knowledge of political issues is simply staggering. The link is http://osrl.uoregon.edu/projects/vbm/vbm.html . It seems silly and self-defeating to compell persons to vote who do not care about politics or who refuse to make an effort to stay informed.

Mark-In-Chi-Town
 
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Something else to keep in mind, opinion polls are about as accurate as exit polls. This particular poll sampled 1,012 adults. I can't speak to the specifics of the Harris poll but I understand that 1) most Americans screen their calls using caller id (telemarketing is such a nuisance most people don't pick up their phone unless they recognize the incoming number) 2) many younger American rely on cell phones which pollster do not target 3) pollster call people at home during working hours when they're not there and 4) there's now a do-not-call registry for telemarketers - pollster may be refraining from contacting individuals on this registry. Additionally, those who work phone banks are not well paid and the industry experiences high turnover so screening of the subjects being interviewed may not be perfectly controlled. Another problem is that the pollster don't tell us how the question was framed - this makes a big difference in how people respond.

If you over-sample the elderly and the unemployed, your poll is going to be skewed.

I would wager that if tomorrow morning I sampled my co-workers (17 of them - ages 27 - 57) that not a single one of them would agree that Saddam Hussein planned the 9/11 attack. (I just asked a colleague who stepped into my office - he agrees with me.)

But I must acknowledge, there's no shortage of morons in America or in Brazil for the matter.
 
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Dear Abu Khaleel,

I don't believe those poll results tell the story they seem to, but they do tell a truth of sorts. I am sure that most Americans know very well that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 and did not intend to launch missile strikes etc. against the US. However, if they answered "NO" to the questions, they would be questioning the government which is standing up to the bad guys who attacked us and doing the tough work that needs to be done. As long as we are hitting out, we are at least responding, rather than being wimpy, liberal, intellectual, overly-nuanced and polished prevaricators who would rather argue about the rights and wrongs of things than simply rolling up their sleeves and getting the hard work done.

Also, it shows that 56% DON"T think he had anything to do with it.

Also, it shows that many people in the US are sheep.

Also, it shows that the US is not much of a democracy any more since its people a) have little effect in the electoral process (two elections in a row stolen with voter fraud) and b) most of the politicians in both parties do not address the real issues of the country ( debt, lack of healthcare, loss of high-paying employment, unbelievably expensive higher education etc. ).

As I said in another post, stop looking to the US as an example. Unfortunately, you live in Iraq which is currently under the US thumb. They are the brilliant guys who set up the rules that require a 60% majority to form a government. How many countries have that rule, I wonder, and would regard it as all that helpful during a first election in a new era whilst still in a state of war/insurgency?

I feel for you Abu, and your situation. I have nothing to offer in practical terms in terms of what you in Iraq can do. But I pray that by hook or by crook you can find a way to create a constitution and political system that works for Iraq, that is not beholden to US control and that allows Iraq and Iraqis to become proud, productive members of the world community.

However, since many of the world's leading countries are economic powerhouses dedicated to keeping Middle Eastern states in a permanent state of satrap-hood so they can control the oil resource flows, I am not sure what it means to be a good member of the world community any more.

These are not good times.
 
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Hello Circular,
(why not give yourself a name?)
You probably know this but in the US many anonymous bloggers are being hunted down and fired by nice corporate bosses. I suppose I could call myself 'gandhi', but anonymous is heroic enough for me these days.
I detest Canadian neo-con David Frum, in particular.
"A concrete example was a speech he drafted on some issue, which Bush gave back to him for revision: the headline, X happened or whatever, was wrong, the headline needed to be "Bush Leads!"-Perfect example of infantile Bushite cheerleading! Hurrah for us!
You may be interested to know that the highly effective Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group has been paid to attack the AARP American Association of Retired People for endorsing gay marriage!One chapter in Ohio[Charles?]refused to endorse anti-gay legistation because it would have affected elderly roommates(hetero). The real reason is that AARP opposes Bush's plan to 'privatize' Social Security(old age pensions).
You simply must understand that America is the most advanced country in the world which means we will see every kind of sci-fi Orwellian thought control coming down the tube long before anyone else. Hurrah for us!
We're number one! We're number one!
 
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Circ,

Are you sure you are not confusing me with someone else?

I admit that my temper has been tickled on a couple of occasions, but it was never a tactic to avoid debunking your positions. It was simply out of frustration after having debunked them for the 50th time and you - an enlightened, open minded kiwi, failing to direct your synapses back to their proper connections.

@ Tharp

"wimpy, liberal, intellectual, overly-nuanced and polished prevaricators who would rather argue about the rights and wrongs of things than simply rolling up their sleeves and getting the hard work done."

Well said. But I think you are imagining a 'right/wrong' moral dilemma that the liberal left has not engaged in. The left's problem is precisely the opposite. Their hatred for Bush has overcome any moral sensibilities whatsoever and the so called intellectuals are left to squabble and yap over correct/incorrect tactical decisions. Too many troops? Too few troops? Too fast? Too slow? Not enough security? Too much force? You prefer any position that opposes the President and positive progress.

"They are the brilliant guys who set up the rules that require a 60% majority to form a government."

Yap, yap, yap. Let's see how it turns out. Do you think a simple majority would have been a systemic asset in trying to bring these groups together? Really? It certainly would have been more efficient from an administrative point of you. Better yet tharpa, why not just have one unelected leader who imposes his will by force. Then there would be no need at all for such inconveniences as generally arise in democracies.

God forbid the parties may have to compromise to achieve a working government.
 
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OH MY GOSH!!!! Debate over that poll? I hate to tell you this but there are a whole lot of Americans who wouldn't give a straight answer to the pollsters anyway!!!!! It's like the anonymous drug questions in high school...ya sure, EVERYBODY TAKES DRUGS! HA HA!!! There are 3 kinds of people I've witnessed here...one is watching TV and isn't paying attention to their answer, one is a jokester, and the other is most Americans that I've met living coast to coast who have NEVER BEEN POLLED!

I do have to admit though I have run into a few people who get Osama and Saddam mixed up, but usually when you tell them something about the men, you realize that it is only because of confusion between the NAMES. A lot of people do have trouble with all the various Middle Eastern names. I imagine it would be the same for you in Iraq trying to keep track of a lot of Chinese names, just as an example.

And the world is a mighty big place, there is more to it than just Americans and Iraqi's. Don't think the total of any nation in the world is perfectly educated as to the other 6 billion people on earth.
 
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Represent 100 million adults...NO WAY!

Caller ID, no call lists, cell phone users, the various different languages that aren't spoken by the poll people (they only do it in English), etc.

I'd say the remaining 5,000 people in America that get those calls are getting really tired of answering all those stupid polls over and over and over....

Sometimes they say polls happen when they really don't....like the IAFF that wanted Kerry to win and so endorsed him saying they had polled their union (when they hadn't.) The majority of firefighters all across America really wanted Bush. It is just sometimes political games. See for yourself:

http://tinyurl.com/62p5d
 
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"Hello Circular,
You probably know this but in the US many anonymous bloggers are being hunted down and fired by nice corporate bosses. I suppose I could call myself 'gandhi', but anonymous is heroic enough for me these days."

If you just add your pseudonym at the end of your text, as I do, it’s no different from posting anonymously. But a multiplicity of anonymouses can make dialogue difficult.
If you blog at work you deserve to be hunted down by your bosses. Get back to it!
Circular
 
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Hello Circular,
"If you blog at work you deserve to be hunted down by your bosses. Get back to it!"
But I'm the boss!
Icosahedron-I'm 3d and you're not-Ha-ha!
 
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How many people in the world believe that the US is stealing Iraqi oil?

Many people of the world do not "believe" in it. They know it is a fact.

Only dumb US people "believe" US is "bringing democracy" to Iraq.
 
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The only thing I find surprising here is that Abu Khaleel is surprised.

As for those americans trying to claim that the poll is not accurate, bullshit.

The poll reflects very well my own informal findings from discussions with people I encounter all the time. The simple fact of the matter is that many americans are woefully ignorant of basic facts regarding american foreign policy and american history, of which the Iraq situation is but one example.

Are americans unique in such ignorance? -- probably not. However, as America is my own country and its people those I am most familiar with, the situation in America is the one I am most qualified to comment on regarding this subject.

The reasons for such ignorance about basic facts regarding the Iraq invasion and occupation are many, ranging from (depending on the individual in question) outright stupidity to misplaced trust in national leaders who deliberately distort the truth to a nationalistic unwillingness to believe anything bad about US foreign policy to being preoccupied with other aspects of life instead of paying attention to such issues.

Abu Khaleel asks how, in an age where information is available as never before, people could be so misinformed. Part of the answer is that in the US today, the people are positively drowned in a deluge of information from a wide variety of sources, much of it contradictory, to the extent that it amounts to a situation of information overkill. Many people simply do not know which sources, or which information, to believe, and so end up "believing" those sources which confirm their own personal predispositions. In short, there is a strong tendency, visible in the US today, to deal with the overload of raw information by filtering out that information which one doesn't like, and accepting as true that which one does like. In the US, this is easy to do, as it is easy to find "sources", whether on television or the internet or radio or newspapers, which reflect virtually any and all imaginable positions.

In order to wade through such a deluge of information without being lost within it, one needs a broad grounding in subjects such as history, which is sadly lacking in most of the populace, leaving them vulnerable to outright lies and propaganda which play upon fears, prejudices, and other emotions.

Such manipulation of the population is easy to do in the US today because the populace has, to a disturbing degree, simply abandoned any desire to devote the time and energy it takes to develop a solid foundation in knowledge of history and political affairs, choosing instead to be willingly distracted by the myriad of "entertainments" and other pulls of modern american society, which is perhaps a victim of its own materialistic success.

In short, a large mass of the people are simply too preoccupied with the ordinary details of american life with all its demands and distractions to give a shit about other things. They remain in a state of blissful ignorance, not believing unpleasant facts about american policies because they, at bottom, don't want to know.

How to deal with such people? Well, perhaps it is not possible to reach them. The state of their wilfully ignorant denial is so deep, in some cases, that attempting to reason with them is completely futile. One cannot solve in a short debate the essential problem, which is a lifetime of accumulated ignorance.

However, on a more optimistic note, perhaps one need not deal with such people at all. Perhaps it is better not to waste one's time and energy on them at all, instead directing one's energies towards others. One cannot hope to convert the entire world to any one philosophy or outlook after all. It would be folly to even try. Simply accept the fact that some people are unlikely to ever change their minds, and move on. A movement or revolution in thinking can be quite successful without including everybody, indeed, even in the face of intense resistance from many.
 
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Woo woo!!!!Right on!

A lot of this is what i said in the second posting, but I forgot to add the very important fact about the lacking of historical grounding in America.

And the misinformers have been around forever--remember that George Washington didn't really chop down a cherry tree-his biographer made it up, and Betsy Ross may not have been the first flag maker but a relative "recalled" things his way in his book.

And it's so true diogenes that we are deluged with so much--it's turning me schizophrenic at times--that you believe in what makes sense to YOU or what feels safe.
I tell you its a psychologists' playground out there and w/ all the media outlets it's only going to get worse.Do you wonder why some of us sound paranoid? Please be gentle w/us!!

Ohio
 
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History is an important thing. It provides perspective and helps mitigate much of the extreme views we are constantly bombarded with. Good points.

One great lesson from history, from the same fellow who chopped down the cherry tree, is that you should never let a campaigning army on the march eat unripened peaches. It really throws your schedule off.

In addition to history, there are many other sources from which people draw their inferences/conclusions - culture, religion, and general moral principles.

I'm not sure that these decidedly less erudite sources are necessarily a cause for erroneous judgements. Some people call it 'common sense.'

The basic theme on this website seems to be that the US is a bad aggressive imperialistic hegemon, and at the same time a bumbling and incompetent fool. There is a nationalistic resistence in Iraq and they are fighting for freedom from US oppression, etc.

I don't think you have to know the name of every Babylonian leader, or speak fluent arabic, to form a reasonable opinion. On this matter.

Do you need to be a professor in ME studies to understand that the guys who chop off heads of their prisoners are probably not the 'good guys'? The poeple who deliberately blow up civilians with bombs are not trying to protect those people from oppression? Etc., etc. The list goes on and on. Common sense is usually right on the mark.

Why do so many smart people have so little common sense? I think that's an important question too.
 
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I think that the U.S. is not so bumbling and incompetent as we are self-centered.

You have to admit we are aggressive though- we have businessmen who run the show.

Imperialistic?-we always claim the negative but why do we put so many bases in the ME? (I am curious, not defensive). Do you know?

Ohio
 
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Charles,
You ask 'Why do so many smart people have so little common sense?'

It was a group of 'smart people', members of Mensa, who in early 2003 agreed that 'if we oust Saddam from Iraq, we should be able to claim the Iraqi oil'. It was a member of Mensa who in November 2001 claimed that rather than simply going after Osama bin Ladin, we should bomb the Qa'aba.
I don't know if any of these opinions were put in print by those who held them. I do recall both of the conversations.

(For those who don't know--Mensa is an organization of folks whose IQ is above 135, or perhaps 140--in other words, an organization of folks who think they're smart)

I am not surprised by the level of ignorance, as I find nearly any in-depth conversation can uncover amazing depths of igorance, even among those one might assume be knowledgeable. (For instance, an Armenian-American acquaintance once claimed that the assassination of the Turkish ambassador by Hanpik Sassounian was a Soviet plot because 'the Armenian homeland is in PERSIA, not Turkey')

----
Abu Khaleel,

I do not believe you are wasting your time. However, most Americans, as far as I can tell, are uninterested in anything beyond their daily lives. Those who read your blog are unusual in that we are interested in learning more about the world. As we interact with your posts, you affect us, and through us you affect the people with whom we converse.

Be Well,
 
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That Diogenes dude can tell it like it is, can’t he?
A sideline on US historical misinformation - I’ve just been reading a book about British POWs in Germany in WWII. Part of it deals with British annoyance at the way the commercial demands of US popular culture distort the truth, the classic being Steve McQueen’s heroic participation in the movie The Great Escape. There were in fact no Americans involved in the escape from Stalag Luft III. Similarly a recent movie apparently involved a US destroyer snatching part of the Enigma secret from a sinking U-Boat. That actually happened, but it was a British effort, before the US even joined the war. US actors had to be involved in the Colditz series, and apparently the producers had to fight to get them to adopt British accents - there being no Americans in Colditz either. Probably few Americans know that two of the D-Day beaches were taken by US forces, three by British and Canadian forces.
I don’t know how deeply this sort of thing reaches into the minds of young Americans, but it must certainly contribute to the "deluge of information" (and misinformation) Diogenes talks about.

"The basic theme on this website seems to be that the US is a bad aggressive imperialistic hegemon, and at the same time a bumbling and incompetent fool."

Charles! You’ve got it! Well done!
Only joking - we don’t really think that about the US. Now the Bush administration, however ...
Circular
(Hope this doesn’t post twice. Blogspot seems to be playing up.)
 
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Your'e so bad, Circular!

Ohio
 
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Circ,

Well, I don't know about Kiwis, but here in the US I wouldn't recommend trying to learn history at the movies. Its kinda funny in a way - the liberals in Hollywood who make the movies are interested only in $$$. Since their target audiences happen to be Americans for the most part, they often change the storyline a bit to appeal to the people who keep them rich. In any case - it isn't a right wing conspiracy.

While I do think that most Americans (who know or care about operation overlord) do understand that British and Canadian forces were involved, it is also true that US forces bore the brunt of casualties. Probably just bad luck of course. I'm sure Monty never would have pressured Ike to give him the easy landings.

I think a greater historical travesty (perhaps explainable in context of cold war) was that the soviets engaged the vast majority of hitler's operational strength throughout the war. And yet we were taught primarily about the US/western allies who defeated hitler.

But going back to overlord (or any other large military undertaking) - how do you think that epic battle would have been covered by the MSM and liberal bloggers?

Imagine the consternation and contempt among intellectuals as they pondered and blogged about the impregnable Atlantic Wall! (It would have been short lived because they would have been tracked down and executed on the spot - But what about 1st amendment rights???) Imagine their contempt for Ike as the first waves of US soldiers landing at Omaha beach were just slaughtered! Most likely to a man! Had our intelligence failed? Had all of the pre-invasion bombardment been off target? What about the thousands of French civilians killed? Did we 'liberate' the French by killing them? What about the rangers at point du hoc? They scaled cliffs under enemy fire in order to destroy critical gun emplacements that guess what? Weren't even there. They didn't exist! Hundreds of casualties for nothing! What about the airborne landings? Miles off target. totally disorganized! What a pathetic farce! Impeach Roosevelt!!! Demand Ike's resignation!!! He should be in jail for christ's sake. How incomptent! Sherman tanks against Panthers and Tigers? It was murder!What lies! Lies I tell you...

Yes it would be quite revealing - and give some much needed perspective - to take all of the liberal yapping and apply it to just about any previous battle or conflict.
 
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I try my best.
Further to the above, I meant to say: when the "Battle of Fallujah" film comes out, it will doubtless feature a few dozen heroic Marines, surrounded and outnumbered by thousands of sinister terrorists.
Semper Fi.
Circular
 
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We are stealing oil? Is that why it hit 53 bucks a barrel and we are expected to pay 3 dollars a gallon this summer? To assume that the majority of Americans are ignorant unimformed sheep says the same for the rest of the world. US politicians do not hold a patent on propaganda or spin, the same tactics are used around the globe. In some cases ie. China, Syria, Iran, and yes, Sadam era Iraq there was no dissenting opinion allowed. This silly blog would not be permitted. So are those people more "informed" than Americans? The media's job is to sell advertisements, not to inform. Yea Fox news has a conservative bend, and yes Hollywood is blatantly conservative/Democrat but that merely serves to divide up the advertising dollars amongst the outlets. At least we have the right to discuss issues here without fear of our tongues being removed in the middle of the night. PS an F-15 cannot carry the warhead payload necessary to wipe out Syria, A Los Angeles class however, probably could!! All hail technology!
 
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Diogenes --

A VERY nice post. I am not American, but I have come to similar conclusions simply be cruising around on the net, where I find that Americans sometimes make absolute and firm statements that are not only completely wrong, but also show a deep ignorance of the surrounding and underlying issues. Now, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that while yes, people everywhere in the world are politically ignorant, I suspect that Americans are more so, due to the reasons you have listed.

Ironic, given that the USA is the most influential and powerful country, no? Ironic in the sense that your (US) government is wielding great powers supposedly on your behalf, and a great chunk of Americans don’t know and/or don’t care about what it is doing or how it is doing it. Yet people from much less powerful lands (who would simply love to have that sort of influence) are more clued up than those that belong to the country actually calling the shots.


Charles --

I agree with you for the need for common sense. The same as yours tells you that the insurgency is homogenous and agrees as a whole that chopping off heads is a good tactic, and that this obviously makes them all the bad guys … MY common sense tells me that: a country that has virtually claimed ownership of ME oil and whose leaders have committed themselves to assure their ‘preeminence’ into the next century, and recognize the importance of geopolitical control of strategic territory and petroleum reserves … my common sense tells me that altruistic motives did not play a heck of a large role in that country’s invasion of Iraq.

Oh, and thanks for mentioning the Soviet contribution to fighting Hitler. People do tend to forget the magnitude of the Russian effort.


BobGriffin --

[bobgriffin] “It was a member of Mensa who in November 2001 claimed that rather than simply going after Osama bin Ladin, we should bomb the Qa'aba.”

You have GOT to be joking !? This I never heard. Man, I guess my personal conception of intelligence and its value has just undergone a revision.

BTW, you are spot on in your comment to Abu Khaleel.
 
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Bruno,

I do not think the resistence is homogeneous. And I certainly do not think it can be characterized as a national resistence movement. I think the murderers and bombers are in the majority, although there are no doubt a number of well intentioned 'freedon fighters' who have been suckered into fighting for Sunni extremitst or Jihadis.

LEt's run an exercise -

As news of 'insurgent attacks' appears, let's try to characterize the particular attacks as either 'freedom fighter' attacks, or 'head lopper' attacks.

Havethere been any recent 'freedom fighter' attacks lately?

Killing judge? Car bombings? Sabotage?
 
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In the early 1990s I joined British Mensa and attended a couple of bar meetings. One meeting was dedicated to how to perfectly legally rob a bank. Another to how to design a system for playing the shares market. My suggested topic to the group of how best to beat (the then) UN sanctions on Iraq, returned a solution based on the Iraqi government diverting all its resources to growing and exporting hard drugs!
 
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Charles said:

"Do you need to be a professor in ME studies to understand that the guys who chop off heads of their prisoners are probably not the 'good guys'?"

Charles, your attempted answer to my point about ignorance of history illustrates EXACTLY what I was talking about.

Here is a quote describing an incident of atrocities against prisoners, Charles: "That evening after our battle . . . we having a considerable number of prisoners, I recollect a scene which made a lasting impression on my mind. I was invited by some comrades to go and see some of the prisoners. We went to where six were standing together. Some discussion taking place, I heard some of our men cry out . . . and the prisoners were immediately hewed to pieces with broadswords. At first I bore the scene without any emotion, but upon a moment's reflection, I felt such horror as I never did before nor have since, and, returning to my quarters and thowing myself upon my blanket, I contemplated the cruelties of war . . ."

Who were the men described in this account who chopped helpless prisoners into pieces? What does your "common sense" tell you about whether they were "good guys" or "bad guys", Charles? Your claim that one need not know anything about history, but only "common sense", to answer this question is being tested, Charles. So, what does your "common sense" have to say about such men, or the cause they fought for? Hmmm . . . ?

Well, I'll go ahead and break the suspense -- the men who butchered helpless prisoners into bits and pieces with swords in the above account were american north carolina rebel militia in the American Revolution, their victims were loyalist militia fighting on the side of the British occupiers. This brief account describes but one incident in MANY such incidents in our Revolution, which is perhaps the war in US history which most closely resembles in many ways the situation in Iraq -- involving factors that arouse such deep passion in men to committ such atrocities, including rebels fighting against an occupying foreign power, together with bitter struggles between the rebels and the many loyalists on the side of that foreign power.

Source for above account: "The Revolution Remembered, Eyewitness Accounts of the War for Independence", page 202. ( Edited by John C. Dann, The University of Chicago Press, 1980)

When I speak of the value of knowledge of history in understanding what is going on in the world today, I am not talking about memorizing the names of every ancient Babylonian king, nor even the specific dates or names or locations of incidents in american history like the event described above. Instead, I am talking about knowledge of very BASIC facts about the history of your own country, like the general fact that the American Revolution itself involved many atrocities on the part of men who are today not looked back upon as beastly terrorists, but instead as great heroes fighting a noble cause of freedom.

Knowledge of this very BASIC fact of american history would have prevented you from making sweeping simplistic claims about the Iraqi insurgency based upon the fact that a relative handful of beheadings have taken place.

And the beheadings are indeed a relatively small sideshow in the affair. You ask later about comparing incidents of beheadings with other attacks that don't include such atrocities. For crying out loud, Charles, how can you even think for one second that the number of beheading incidents remotely approaches the number of attacks on coalition soldiers or Iraqi forces cooperataing with the coalition? According to the US military itself, the number of attacks by insurgent forces on american troops alone has averaged anywhere from 20 to over 100 attacks per DAY (depending on the current level of activity in the periodic ebb and flow of the guerrilla campaign) numbers which are OVERWHELMINGLY higher than the numbers of beheading incidents.
 
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Diogenes,

"Charles, your attempted answer to my point about ignorance of history illustrates EXACTLY what I was talking about."

OK - professor. What is your esteemed estimation regarding who the 'good guys' are? Do tell...

"an incident of atrocities against prisoners"

I do not deny for one moment that in times of war atrocities are committed on all sides. You can find examples in any conflict. But there is a subtle difference that your professorial intellect has failed to grasp, and that is premeditation.

In the heat of battle - or shortly thereafter - people will sometimes go outside the bounds of normal conduct due to the intensity of passions that have been excited.

In the case of head loppers, bullet to the back of the headers, rapers, and suicide bombers, we have cold, calculated, deliberate, premeditated murder.

"I am talking about knowledge of very BASIC facts about the history of your own country, like the general fact that the American Revolution itself involved many atrocities on the part of men who are today not looked back upon as beastly terrorists, but instead as great heroes fighting a noble cause of freedom."

Are you really trying to compare the American Revolutionaries to the Iraqi (and foreign) insurgents? What pray tell, are the noble causes for which the insurgents are committing premeditated murder? This is really critical to understanding how to categorize the various attacks as falling in to the 'good guy' freedom fighter, or the 'bad guy' terrorist columns. Do tell...

"a relative handful of beheadings have taken place."

Beheadings, rapes, executions, suicide bombs, etc. Are they really so few that they should be disregarded as insignificant? Really?

"20 to over 100 attacks per DAY numbers which are OVERWHELMINGLY higher than the numbers of beheading incidents."

I'm not sure what qualifies as an attack. A pot shot at a patrol? A defused IED? How many of those attacks are initiated by freedom foghters? How many from foreigners? How many from just people out to make a buck?

I know you can't provide exact numbers, but by implying that these attacks are executed by legitimate resistence forces, you must have something to back it up. How do you know they are not just foreign jihadis and local guys getting paid to do it? Please explain.
 
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Abu Khaleel

I hear what you are saying and share with you the frustration. However I wanted to assure u that you are not wasting your time, you are educating America!! Please don’t take these polls seriously because sometimes they don’t really reflect the views of the Americans depend on where and when they were conducted. i.e in New York, NY vs Des Moines, IA ( don’t get me wrong I really like the Midwest). Last week I was flying from Germany to United States on AA and there were bunch of American solders with me on the flight, I kept watching them from a distance and notices A) they are very young B) they are not white Americans , they are mostly Latinos or African Americans C) they were whacked! During the 9 hours flight they kept asking for hard liquor, listening to Arabic songs and watching the daily bombing in Iraq on DVD! Now you might be thinking to yourself and how is that related to the recent poll? I would have to say, it is related… these people are lost…. Miss leaded and confused! When we reached the US soil I looked at one and said hey when are you going back? He looked at me as if he was in a different world and said NEVER! I said no need to ask u how was it, he said it was F*&^ awful! Have u seen a recent poll that was conducted on these solders and there moral level?? Properly not! Abu Khaleel there are some REALLY ignorant people in here, some of them don’t really know or care where the heck is Iraq on the freakin map!
Here is a joke for you, when I told a colleague that I will be going to Europe she responded are u going to drive or fly!!!! That tells you something!!!
Keep educating America abu khaleel that is the least u can do! 
Zina
 
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whatever happened to taking the higher moral ground?

Unity , Charles, not division.

Ohio
 
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California, Texas and Florida still have mandatory bilingual programs.

In my town,educators are working hard at the elementary level again on reading and writing. My son was reading at 4 and my daughter at an early 5 years. But then, my parents were teachers so I had good role models.

You can be tough on my commentary but you might want to go a little easy on the new people:)
 
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Charles --


Imagine for yourself if America were invaded and subdued by a foreign power. Who would you see as legitimate targets? The occupiers? Certainly. Their logistical network and transport? Of course.

Now, let us imagine that this occupier was busy erecting a puppet American government of evil socialist Democrat types (or whoever, really. I’m taking a dig at you here ;) )
You understand that the purpose of this government is to act as a buffer between the occupiers and the people. The purpose is to govern the country so that these puppets seem to be the only viable alternative, and hence must be accepted as legitimate by the populace at large. Once this happens, and the humdrum bureaucracy of governance lulls the people into submission, orders by the de facto rulers of the country (the invaders) will pass through this filter far more easily than orders by diktat. Attacks vs the occupiers will be ‘illegal’ and punished by your own people.

What I am saying is : attacks on the security apparatus of this pseudo government are legitimate. That means police and especially soldiers. Attacks on officials and facilitators of the occupation are legitimate. If the occupier intends on using oil exports to finance the occupation, then attacks on oil pipelines are legitimate.

What would not be right are attacks on very low level people like the women that were shot for doing the laundry, attacks on children or attacks that cause indiscriminate mayhem, like poisoning the water supply and so forth. Beheading people simply for effect is quite frankly not only pathetic and unjustifiable but also counterproductive in the sense that it hardens opinion against oneself.

There you go. Bruno’s rough and ready guide to justifiable attacks.

[charles]“What pray tell, are the noble causes for which the insurgents are committing premeditated murder?”

[‘braveheart’] “FFFREEEEDDDOOOOMMM!”

I thought that was obvious enough.


[charles]” How do you know they are not just foreign jihadis and local guys getting paid to do it?”

Well, let’s see what the CIA has to say:

CIA Studies Provide Glimpse of Insurgents in Iraq
By Walter Pincus - Washington Post Staff Writer - February 6, 2005; Page A19

“As reflected in CIA classified studies last month, U.S. military and intelligence officials are still trying to understand the various Iraqi insurgency groups that they expect will continue to fight, even after last week's election. The CIA studies included a detailed look at an at-large Iraqi fighter who is motivated to fight because the United States is occupying his country, a senior intelligence official said.

"This person, with a tribal background, has a mix of motives including a family grievance, someone was hurt by coalition forces," said the official, who asked not to be identified because the reports are still classified. "There is also [in this Iraqi insurgent] religion and nationalism that results in a view he must fight on to get non-Muslims out of Muslim territory."


“The CIA last month also updated its analysis of the breadth of the Iraqi insurgency, including Iraqis that are not only former Baathists, "dead enders," but also newly radicalized Sunni Iraqis, nationalists offended by the occupying force and others disenchanted by the economic turmoil and destruction caused by the fighting. Foreign fighters associated with Abu Musab Zarqawi and his al Qaeda-affiliated insurgent group, who once were seen as the prime opponents along with tens of thousands of criminals freed by Saddam Hussein before the war began in 2003, are now described as lesser elements but still a source of danger.”



Abu Hadi --

Your MENSA scenarios are entertaining if worrying. But as long as it does not stray from theory to practice, I don’t see the harm…


Diogenes --

Good to see you around again. High quality material, just as I remembered.
 
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Belatedly, congratulations to Zina for an interesting post.
Charles, I told you earlier about the invalidity of the ad hominen argument, the attack on the messenger rather than the message. Your response to Zina’s post shows that you are very slow to learn - "C minus, could do better."
Zina contributed two interesting observations, one about soldiers returning from the war and one about a co-worker. She appears to be either a newcomer to English, or a victim of the US education system. In either event, your first instinct was to ridicule her English, rather than address the substance of her post. This is the ad hominen approach to argument. It is neither sensible nor manly. You qualify your offence by offering a belated conditional apology, but why this instinct to strike out nastily in the first place? Do you have some problems you would like to share with us?
Speaking of the US educational system, and the mention of bi-lingual instruction, I am reminded of a news item I saw about a former Governor of Texas, early last century, who opposed bi-lingual instruction on the grounds that "if English was good enough for Jesus, it is good enough for us!"
(Since Charles will undoubtedly misinterpret this, I suppose I must explain that whatever Jesus spoke, Hebrew or Aramaic or whatever, it certainly wasn’t English. Nobody spoke English 2000 years ago. The point I am implying is that the Governor was a stupid, ignorant cracker not fit to govern groundworms. Very like a more recent Governor of Texas.)
Circular
 
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I apologize for not being a fluent English speaker! I was born and raised in Iraq and came to the states 6 years ago with minimum English education and now working for one of the big four accounting firms in the US if that matters! My point was to encourage abu khaleel to keep this blog up and running and educate everyone, including me, on the daily happenings in Iraq. Zina
 
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Bruno,

All of your examples of invasion and oppression and puppet governments are quite romantic, albeit bogus. I suppose if the US was run by a criminal and murderous dictator who gassed his own people, and our neighbors to the north decided to invade and topple the criminal regime, and establish in its place a democratic government that we elected, then the majority of Americans would probably support it.

Of course some wouldn't. Let's compare numbers (using broad brush strokes of course). The American revolution probably had large chunks of the population supporting one side or the other. Freedom fighters probably in the vast majority, but there were no doubt big chunks of loyalists - 10,20,30,40%? Let's let the professor clarify this.

The numbers from Iraq are quite different. In a country of 25 million, you have perhaps 1-2% who apparently support the insurgents (aid and comfort), with about 0.02% actively engaged. Now 40-50K fighters can cause trouble - to be sure. Add to that
some thousands of highly motivated jihadis.

"There you go. Bruno’s rough and ready guide to justifiable attacks."

"[‘braveheart’] “FFFREEEEDDDOOOOMMM!”"

TOTAL COPOUT BRUNO. Try to be at least partially objective here. Let's see you turn that cynicism towards both sides.

Why would the insurgents be against elections? The point of the elections wasn't to elect a government for the next 25 years. It was to elect an interim assembly that would write a constitution. What particular principles or values would 'freedom fighters'oppose in this process? The 'puppet' argument doesn't fly because the government is temporary, the US didn't control who ran, and in any case next year there will be new elections. As long as democratic principles are codified in a constitution, 'freedom' is guaranteed by the political process. It is violence that creates the possibility for the rise of an oppressive regime.

"Well, let’s see what the CIA has to say:"

They said pretty much what we have all agreed in principle. Your 'at large' fighter "offended by the occupying force and others disenchanted by the economic turmoil and destruction caused by the fighting." I called them "#1's" in previous posts.

They are not behind the insurgency - they are the deliberate products of the people behind the insurgency.

The bad guys have caused mayhem, sabotage, and destruction, provoked retaliations, etc., all in the hope of radicalizing more people to their cause. Two years, and thousands of civilian casualties into their divine strategy, the insurgents convinced the Iraqis to risk death and 'vote' instead of fight.

Just try a bit more objectivity.

@ Circ,

"I told you earlier about the invalidity of the ad hominen argument, the attack on the messenger rather than the message."

It was really compassion Circ. No one has ever been honest with this woman. That is not fair. That is immoral. Again, if she is not American, then I have already apologized.

"one about soldiers returning from the war and one about a co-worker."

Fascinating. Truly. I'll just hop in my car and drive to Europe. I wonder where she works?

"your first instinct was to ridicule her English, rather than address the substance of her post."

She was the substance of her post and right in line with the theme of this thread. Dumb Americans. I can well imagine that she is American because of the use of specific letters in the place of words.

"It is neither sensible nor manly."

These kids don't need coddling. I hope she is a kid/young adult. What they need is a responsible adult to tell them the truth - and not some politically correct coddling that leads them directly nowhere.

"Do you have some problems you would like to share with us?"

Are you under the self delusion that you do not engage in ad hominum argumentation? Really?

I'm fine - thanks for asking ;-)

"Speaking of the US educational system, and the mention of bi-lingual instruction,"

Don't tell me that you support this failed experiment?!? It was a dumb idea motivated by liberal political correctness that didn't work.

I think learning foreign languages is great - and very important - and stimulating. But neglecting the primary language of the country is criminal stupidity.

""if English was good enough for Jesus, it is good enough for us!"
...The point I am implying is that the Governor was a stupid, ignorant cracker not fit to govern groundworms."

That's funny - and so was your characterization! Cheers!

(but your implication that I am stupid really hurt my feelings)
 
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Good morning Bruno,
(By the way, what is the time difference between the U.S. and South Africa?)

I see your justification for sabotaging one's own pipeline if one thinks the occupiers will use it for the occupation.

However, I don't like it. It is wasting one's own country's natural resource -the most vital resource to man. Not to mention the pollution it causes. But again, I guess it is technically justifiable.

Abu Hadi-I can see the headlines in the papers now: "Mensa member masterminds bank robbery and leaves a pocket protector at the scene as his calling card".
 
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Charles,
"I suppose if the US was run by a criminal and murderous dictator who gassed ..blah..blah.. then the majority of Americans would probably support it....phoney straw man arguments again -get real.....Of course some wouldn't(asking and answering your own question).
Please spare me the trouble of editing such illogic from your responses (before posting)-it just chews up bandwidth.
"The American revolution probably had large chunks of the population supporting one side or the other".True 1/3 of the colonists were pro-British and many had to emigrate from democratic America So what is your point?

"The numbers from Iraq are quite different. In a country of 25 million, you have perhaps 1-2% who apparently support the insurgents (aid and comfort), with about 0.02% actively engaged. Now 40-50K fighters can cause trouble - to be sure." Even Rumsfeld doesn't know how many insurgents there are. How can you make up numbers out of the air? Oh yeah, 'straw man' again..

"Why would the insurgents be against elections?"
Because they fear disenfranchaisement by the tyrany of a vengful majority or which to run their own affairs (self-determination).
"The point of the elections wasn't to elect a government for the next 25 years."
How do you know? Shia are an absolute majority. Nothing is guaranteed by democracy, just look at the US congress today.
"What particular principles or values would 'freedom fighters'oppose in this process?"
You sarcastically like to call them 'freedom fighters', they are anti-US insurgents, strongly unified by a determination to remove the occupier but with many other agendas.
"The 'puppet' argument doesn't fly because the government is temporary, the US didn't control who ran(really? the candidates were all from the US appointed GC), and in any case next year there will be new elections."
The puppet government was Bush's idea-remember the world's largest embassy, US troops for decades, etc. Bush has given up on that, Sistani totally defeated him.
"As long as democratic principles are codified in a constitution, 'freedom' is guaranteed by the political process."
That's not even true in the US. The First Amendment was needed due to grave short comings of the 'democratic' constitution.

"It is violence that creates the possibility for the rise of an oppressive regime."
Democracy can't be oppressive? Nonsense- as any black American.
"Two years, and thousands of civilian casualties into their divine strategy, the insurgents convinced the Iraqis to risk death and 'vote' instead of fight."

SOME Iraqis were convinced to vote-
2% of Sunnis were, 80% of shias and 95% of Kurds were. You can't simplify your way out, Charles.

Charles, there is a story from the US civil war you may have heard. A union soldier calls out to a confederate 'insurgent', 'why are you fighting?'. Confederate yells back 'Cuz ya'll Yankees are down here!'. Don't pretend you don't understand the insurgent's motivation, it's as natural as breathing.

"These kids don't need coddling. I hope she is a kid/young adult. What they need is a responsible adult to tell them the truth - and not some politically correct coddling that leads them directly nowhere."
Spare the rod, spoil the child eh? You're such an old fossil.
 
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These responses differ somewhat. The first, on Iraqi hijackers, is simply and glaringly wrong. The second question has a grammatical mistake: it provides no correct object for the verb 'plan.' That may have confused some respondents. Poll responses are known to be highly sensitive to the phrasing of the questions. Many of those who publicly sought the war have since claimed that the Saddam regime moved its WMD stocks to Syria before, or during the early stages of, the war. Their statements may have influenced some of those who answered affirmatively the third question.

Yep, democracy in action. During the 1960s, a poll is supposed to have found that a significant minority of Americans believed that Franklin Roosevelt was the current president. He had died in 1945. It IS a bit scary. On the other hand, the US is both one of the youngest countries and one of the oldest democracies, since at least 1775. During the same period, France has had 3 kingdoms, 2 empires, and 5 republics. Plus a successful coup as recently as 1958.

The US Department of Defense officially refers to the current conflict in Iraq as part of the "war on terror." I personally don't think that Iraq had much to do with terrorism DIRECTED AGAINST THE US prior to the current war. There certainly are plenty of anti-US terrorists in Iraq now. The official terminology seems to me a half-truth at best, and seriously misleading at worst.

Michael in Framingham
 
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Anon,

"Please spare me the trouble of editing such illogic from your responses"

Well, you set up a pretty absurd hypothetical. I don't think my response was devoid of logic, although we argue from different premises. It seems that you would divorce context entirely from your argument. Are the US government and Saddam's regime the same? To you the differences are just 'blah, blah, blah.' I disagree COMPLETELY.

"True 1/3 of the colonists were pro-British and many had to emigrate from democratic America So what is your point?"

Oh, just that our revolution represented a big split in society. You don't have that in Iraq. 60% of eligible voters risked death to cast a ballot. Turnout would have been much higher if not for violence and intimidation. The fighters - by all estimations - are a tiny percentage of population and they compeltely lack a national platform.

"How can you make up numbers out of the air? Oh yeah, 'straw man' again.."

Sorry, I was referring to the high end of media estimates.

"Because they fear disenfranchaisement by the tyrany of a vengful majority or which to run their own affairs (self-determination)."

So you agree its not a nationalistic insurgency. Thanks. The angry majority has shown its patience time and again. Its your extremists who are doing the killing, not the shia. So your freedom fighters reject representative democracy and think its ok to kill because someone might get mad at them and hold them accountable for their butchery? That's brilliant!

"How do you know? Shia are an absolute majority."

They are about 60% of the population. The best hope for any minority will be to get involved in political process to protect their rights. What do these insurgents offer? Minority rule by the same folks that brutalized the majority?

"Nothing is guaranteed by democracy"

So minority dictatorship is better? Jeeze.

"unified by a determination to remove the occupier but with many other agendas."

Such as bomb the shia? What do they want for Iraq? What political values do they espouse? Gimme something...

"Bush has given up on that, Sistani totally defeated him."

Good for Sistani. So you mean its not a puppet government? Or it is a puppet government? Sounds like W isn't in control and that the Iraqis are in control. Sounds like democracy is in the works... But oh I forgot - Sistani is a puppet.

"Democracy can't be oppressive? Nonsense- as any black American."

Your mixing apples and oranges here. My point is that escalating violence will increase the chance forthe establishment of a less democratic regime. That is the hope of the insurgents. That is why they are bent on escalating violence.

"SOME Iraqis were convinced to vote- 2% of Sunnis were, 80% of shias and 95% of Kurds were."

Ah - so you want to claim the elections were illegitimate and do not represent the will of the Iraqis. I guess that's all you have left - it doesn't surprise me.

"Don't pretend you don't understand the insurgent's motivation, it's as natural as breathing."

Except for the fact that the sooner the violence stops, the sooner reconstruction and reconciliation will take hold, and the sooner US troops can start leaving. Those behind the insurgency aren't as intellectually challenged as their liberal apologists.

"Spare the rod, spoil the child eh? You're such an old fossil."

Hmmm. more the opposite. But rather than beatthe poor kid I prefer to be honest. You would coddle and lie. Which strategy is going to be more productive?
 
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Giuliana Sgrena was freed today by Italian intelligence. No blitz was necessary, no guns, no force.

BUT...

While Sgrena was going to the Bagdad Airport with three agents of Italian Intelligence, America soldiers fired to the car. One of the agents protected Sgrena with his body. He was killed by American fire. Sgrena and the other two agents had been injured. Agents had no weapons. An happy ending was transformed to a tragedy.

In Italy we still do not understand if USA sent to Iraq a "professional" army. Hard to think to those guys as professionals. :( We have many soldiers there, but we are there to help, not to fire on anybody is moving, allies included.
 
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Charles,

Are the US government and Saddam's regime the same? To you the differences are just 'blah, blah, blah.' I disagree COMPLETELY.

I do not contend that they are the same, never have, never will. For one thing warmonger Saddam is in jail and warmonger Bush is not.




"Oh, just that our revolution represented a big split in society. You don't have that in Iraq. 60% of eligible voters risked death to cast a ballot. Turnout would have been much higher if not for violence and intimidation."
Actually I think I proved my point, roughly 1/3 of Iraqis are with the insurgency, so it statistically does resemble the US revolutionary war. And the turn out would have been lower, much lower if Sistani had not ordered Shia on threat of eternal damnation to vote.

"The fighters - by all estimations - are a tiny percentage of population and they compeltely lack a national platform."
The insurgents are playing it safe, not confronting superior US firepower, just ask the US generals in Iraq about the 'increasingly sophisticated foe'. How many 'partisans' fought the Germans in the open? That's the nature of guerrilla war.

So you agree its not a nationalistic insurgency. Thanks.
Wrong again--it is an anti-US insurgency. If US troops left, I think Zarqawi as a different foreign devil who soon be eliminated in some kind of deal.
"The angry majority has shown its patience time and again. Its your extremists who are doing the killing, not the shia. So your freedom fighters reject representative democracy and think its ok to kill because someone might get mad at them and hold them accountable for their butchery? That's brilliant!"
???
didn't follow that last bit...


"They are about 60% of the population. The best hope for any minority will be to get involved in political process to protect their rights."
Iraqis are looking at the minority Kurds to see what they can expect from the Unified Iraqi Alliance.
"What do these insurgents offer?"
An angry protest only a fool would ignore.
Minority rule by the same folks that brutalized the majority?
It's not even that organized and doesn't have to be--US troops and 'stooges' are the red capes for raging insurgent bulls.

"So minority dictatorship is better? Jeeze."
You seem to go from one extreme to the other. Abu Khaleel knows his people, there is a unique solution for Iraq's political problems so forget about imposing your own ideas.

Such as bomb the shia?
Yes, the salafists.
What do they want for Iraq?
The mentality is not constructive. It's 'I'm agin' it!'
What political values do they espouse?
AS a group on this issue, removal of foreign occupiers, pretty one dimensional program don't you think?

"Good for Sistani. So you mean its not a puppet government?"
Sistani is not in the government. I don't believe he has ever even spoken to an american in his life.
He doesn't like US troops, believe it or not.
"Or it is a puppet government?"
As I said every major politican running was already a member of Bremmer's GC(Abu Khaleel--correct me if I am wrong.)
"Sounds like W isn't in control and that the Iraqis are in control."
The terrorists are largely in control, thanks to W.
"Sounds like democracy is in the works... But oh I forgot - Sistani is a puppet." Is the Pope Bush's puppet? Not everything revolves around Bush.

"My point is that escalating violence will increase the chance forthe establishment of a less democratic regime."
Then remove the cause of the violence--US troops.
"That is the hope of the insurgents. That is why they are bent on escalating violence."
The violent ones are to a certain extent 'running on fumes(anti-US hatred)'. Their 'backers' need to be welcomed in their own country. Without fuel the insurgency will end.

"Ah - so you want to claim the elections were illegitimate and do not represent the will of the Iraqis. I guess that's all you have left - it doesn't surprise me."
I welcomed the elections, but they were certainly unrepresentative. I expect that the errors of the US civil war 'reconstruction' will be repeated in Iraq. The hatred of the US South lasted well over 100 years after a different 'unrepresentative election'.
"Except for the fact that the sooner the violence stops, the sooner reconstruction and reconciliation will take hold, and the sooner US troops can start leaving." Reverse the order and you may have a plan, Charles.

"But rather than beatthe poor kid I prefer to be honest. You would coddle and lie. Which strategy is going to be more productive?"
You understand me so well. I will always prefer an gentle lie to your brutal truth, because that is how the world really works.
 
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Anon,

I'll start with your last statement first, because I agree it clarifies our differing world views.

"I will always prefer an gentle lie to your brutal truth, because that is how the world really works."

The truth is only brutal if you have lived your whole life in a fantasy. Wasn't it Plato who said 'A ship is safest in the harbour, but ships were not meant for the harbour'?

Now if your ship has holes, and all your buddies tell you it is seaworthy, and for some unexpected reason you actually have to set sail, and it sinks in the open ocean, should you blame the grim old captain who said you were a fool not to fix your boat, or your buddies - as you sink slowly to the bottom?
 
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Ah! Charles is talking about the deluded sailor Bush (ahoy, me hearties) and his buddies Rummy and Wolfie and Condie and all (yo ho ho and a bottle of rum) and the grim old captain Powell who told him the ship would sink.
Gurgle gurgle.
Circular
 
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Charles,

"I will always prefer an gentle lie to your brutal truth, because that is how the world really works."

The truth is only brutal if you have lived your whole life in a fantasy. Wasn't it Plato who said 'A ship is safest in the harbour, but ships were not meant for the harbour'?

Your truth has made you bold, Charles. For all your bravado, I don't think you are launching great enterprises (but maybe great fantasies).
My truth has made me cautious, to the point that a gentle lie can be given and taken calmly. Occasionally, I err on the side of disbelief or skepticism. I don't think life is a fantasy, but serious business.
Where I ask 'What is truth?',
you say "What I have written, I have written!'

"Now if your ship has holes, and all your buddies tell you it is seaworthy, and for some unexpected reason you actually have to set sail, and it sinks in the open ocean, should you blame the grim old captain who said you were a fool not to fix your boat, or your buddies - as you sink slowly to the bottom?"
As to your metaphor; To be honest, I would have nobody to blame but myself.
 
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Circ,

Time will tell. Time will tell.

But other than sharing with us your wicked sense of irony, what's your opinion on the matter we have been discussing?

I went to public schools and learning to read and write just wasn't that difficult. I even learned to add and subtract. Has it all of a sudden become a challenge?

Is it just in the US? Or are the percentages pretty much the same around the world? Maybe its just easier to find uneducated Americans because we have more of them percentage wise?

What say you man from kiwiland?
 
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I’m afraid that apart from leaky boats I’m not quite clear exactly what you have been discussing, Charles. Something to do with education? If it relates to Zina’s post, my wife is an expert teacher of English to adults for whom it is a second language. Her experience seems to be that many of them quickly reach a "plateau" of fluency which enables them to get by, and make slower progress past this point, factors being age, motivation and frequency of usage. As I only know English and schoolboy French, I can’t comment, except perhaps to say that fluency in more than one language is for obvious reasons much more common in Europe than in the USA. I have great respect for Iraqis like Abu Kahleel and Riverbend who Blog in fluent idiomatic English with subtle nuances.
Circular
 
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I just wanted to give Dario my condolences on his countryman.

Sincerely, an American
 
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This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
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I have read some of the replies to your post. I think "What America Believes" and the Poll numbers are indeed an indication of what we think as a people. In my case, I have not discussed the war in Iraq with anyone other than family and one other or two individuals. I run a business and see 15 to 20 people at day. There is no discussion of politics. Talk is of everyday things, not politics or wars. We as Americans maybe do not pay as much attention to world politics and wars as many might think we should. That is what the government does. The people we elect do that job. They are supposed to look out for our interest in the U.S. and we by and large believe that they do their job. If we feel they are not doing the job, then we elect someone else. Naive, perhaps. Uninformed, perhaps. How many people actually watch or listen to the news in the U.S., not as many as you might think. The news last for only 30 minutes a day on the big three stations and unless it directly effects you as a person, the news is not very important. one might have an opinion about the war and it causes but it's just that, an opinion, does it have to be informed, no. We are free to think and do as we please. You can't make a free people be well informed on issues that are unimportant to them.
4 or 5 people are killed in one way or another every day in large cities in the U.S. does it matter to each other individual in the city ? No.
Were the WMD in Iraq. Who cares?
Ask this question: What is a WMD, I bet 50% don't know. Were Iraqis involved in 9-11,They are all Arabs right, so who cares which country they came from. That is the governments job to sort them out. If the government fails us then we will elect someone else to do the job. There have been no more terrorist attacks in the U.S., so the government is doing it's job.
http://butthatsjustmyopinion.blogspot.com/
 
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Bloody hell, Abu, you’ve conjured another one out of the Pit. This Jimmy K. guy above is really rabid - halfway through his Blog, he has a good old sneering session at Canadian "liberals" who want to ban ownership of pit bull dogs.
I know a young girl who was savaged by one of these beasts in a completely unprovoked attack. Two years later, she’s still having her face put back together.
Go, Charles, go, here’s a kindred soul for you at last!
Abu, the details of the Harris poll don’t matter that much - 50% of all Americans, or as I’ve suggested maybe 25% of thinking literate Americans.
Either way, this is a sick, sick nation.
Circular
 
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Things seem to be coming more clear in Iraq.

It looks like we are headed towards an independent Kurdistan that houses and bases US troops as a necessary condition for survival - which means the US gets its bases to project force if necessary into Iran and Syria.

And the rest of Iraq - we are still hoping a long-term civil war can be avoided.

Allawi, who unlike Sistani is a US puppet, looks to remain the Iraq's head of state for the foreseeable future. Which means the troops stay, which means the fighting continues which means an independent, prosperous or stable Iraq moves further and further from possiblity.

I may be wrong. I can't see the future and time will tell.

If I'm right, this is close to what - according to me - has been the US best-case scenario all along.

If the story about the UIA's votes being shaved by 8 points is true, that shaving was enough to give the Kurds, working with Allawi, a veto over the formation of a new government.

But if the elections proved that Mr. Allawi has less than 15% support among the Iraq people, Allawi remains head of state, there is nothing to be added to the question of whether or not the elections were legitimate.
 
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Now Circular, I'm offended. Please watch your wording...


Ohio
 
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Dear all:

I think 911% of Americans believe that Giuliana Sgrena was shot by accident...

A couple of months ago I posted a link to an "accident" like what happens with Giuliana. Father and mother killed in front of their five kids.

And of course is very strange that people was doubting she was kidnapped by IR after gathered information about Fallujah II and, in the end, American troops tried to kill her.

Was the Italian Inteligence as dumb as the American one? I don't think so.

That was homicide in first or second degree. As 100.000 other ones.

But Charles knows better...
 
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Anyone who quotes David Frum is a sad fool.

Frum is a spoiled rotten rich kid who has never worked a day in his life.

Mommy was a famous Canadian radio personality - a lifelong voice of the government-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Daddy is a prominent Toronto doctor - a specialist in fraudulent real estate scams.

The Frumlet lives in a million dollar Washington D.C. town home - a present from daddy.

His journalism career was a gift from Conrad Black - a Canadian media lord who made his money the old-fashioned way ... what he didn't inherit, he borrowed.

The Frumlet married well - a daughter of another newspaper - the tabloid that brought British "big boobs on p.3" journalism to Canada.

David Frum is such a boob that he got fired from his job as a White House third-under-assistant spin doctor.

Anyone who thinks he has anything to say might be smarter to read him before sniffing the Peruvian Marching Powder.
 
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Charles --

On Resistance:

I agree that Saddam’s government was not the same as most others in the world with respects to human rights, with regards to [charles]“a criminal and murderous dictator” being a fairly accurate description. However, I would have to characterize your “liberating army” scenario as even more romantic and bogus. You left out the part of the questionable motives and shaky moral standing of the ‘liberators’ given that they had supported the abovementioned criminal and murderous dictator during the time in which he was on the rampage, supplied him with money, information, arms and even went so far as to try and cover up his misdeeds for him. Furthermore, when the dictator and his sponsor fell out of sorts, the ex-sponsor (the US ‘liberator, remember?) manipulated UN sanctions in such a manner that maximum damage was caused to the poorest Iraqis.

NOW put yourself in Iraqi shoes and tell me you would wholeheartedly trust liberation by the puppet-master. Particularly when the campaign kicks of with a brazen attempt to use terror tactics to cow the people into submission, and when the liberator turns out to be as bad (some say worse, aye) as the dictator currently overthrown. The Sgrena fiasco shows one just how easy it is for a family of Iraqis to be wiped out in an instant by their ‘liberators’… if of course, it was not on purpose …


On the size of the Resistance:

You are seriously underestimating the extent of support they command. The figures you quote are mere guesses by a biased party. Passive support (where a person may know about resistance activities, but does not report them) is far higher; guerilla campaigns on the tempo sustained by the Iraqis are impossible on such small numbers. The military establishment would be too scared to reveal the extent of the revolt, IMO.

On the motives of the Resistance:

The many groups have many different motives to fight, principle amongst them the desire to eject the foreign invader. After that, who knows? Some are certainly jihadis. Others are Baathists – but whether they stand for ‘Hussein style’ Baathism or the original idea, who can tell? You can’t for sure. This statement here I believe speaks for probably the bulk of the resistance, though:

STATEMENT OF THE ANTI-OCCUPATION PATRIOTIC FORCES
Um al-Qura Mosque on February 15, 2005
(translated Juan Cole)

“ 1) A clear, precise, public, and binding under international guarantees, timetable for the withdrawal of the occupation troops from Iraq in all their aspects and forms.

2) Abolition of the principle of repartition according to sectarian, racial or ethnic lines, and adoption of the principle of citizenship and equality in rights and duties in front of the law.

3) Acknowledgement of the principle of the right of the Iraqi people to reject occupation; recognition of the Iraqi resistance and its legitimate right to defend its country and its resources; rejection of terrorism which takes aim at innocent Iraqis, facilities and institutions of public utility, and places of worship -- mosques, husseiniyyat [Shia religious centers], churches and all holy places.

4) Since the elections that took place lacked legitimacy due to the fact that they were based on the Administrative Law [the Bremer-designed TAL, contested by Sistani himself], lacked legal and security conditions, were boycotted by a large number of people and rigged, the administration that will result from these elections does not have the right to conclude any agreement or treaty infringing on Iraq's sovereignty, the unity of its people, its land and its economy, and the preservation of its riches.

5) Adoption of democracy and election as the only option for the transfer of power, and the preparation of conditions and laws allowing the political process to take place in honest and transparent conditions, under neutral international supervision. “

(There is more, viewable at Cole’s Informed Comment site.) This document had 28 signatories to it.

I imagine that YOU imagine that they ‘want to impose dictatorship’. To impose WHO as a dictator, though? Is there any single figure that stands out to you? Come now Charles, I challenge you to tell me WHO they are trying to make a dictator. You can’t tell me? That very fact tends to fragment the “dictator” argument, especially since Saddam is dog meat now.

On the Resistance and Elections:

[charles] “Why would the insurgents be against elections?”

My reply:

Iraqi Resistance Group Says Not to Target Elections
Source Islam On Line

Three days ahead of the controversial vote, a leading Iraqi resistance group vowed not to target polling stations or attack innocent Iraqis, saying the real battle is against the occupiers. In a statement, the Salah Al-Dine Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Front for Resistance, said they would not be dragged into a battle against their own people. The group pledged to avoid targeting polling stations or being involved in spilling the blood of innocent civilians.

“We are keen not to harm the lives of all Iraqis regardless of their sects and races — that is an order for the armed wing of the group to follow,” said the two-page statement. “We should not be dragged into side battles which do not affect the true struggle with the enemy occupiers,”

By the way, the elections were (a) heavily influenced by the US to the tune of $200 M and (b) severely flawed and (c) opposed primarily by the jihadi element which accounts for the relative calm on election day, given the small size of it. The recent “they threw their full force at us” statements by the US military are merely feel – good spin for the folks back home.

The insurgency never convinced anybody to vote. They rightly view elections under occupation as being highly problematic. The rebellion, through its ferocity, gave the US planners a glimpse of what would happen if the relative calm of the south were similarly transformed. Hence, it gave more weight to Sistani when he called for mass demonstrations for democracy. The size of his support forced the issue in favour of elections, which the US never wanted, remember? The Iraqi Shias felt confident that their numerical superiority would be enough to force the result of even an election under occupation, and in retrospect they were right. Good for them.


Ohio --

No clue on the time difference between the US and SA. Probably about four – six hours I’m guessing. I agree that blowing up one’s own natural resources in the fight is sad. However (1) the amount lost is negligible when compared to the total amount available, and (2) if the occupier intends on using your own resources to finance the fight against you, then one really has no choice. Better to let the crude lie underground.


Circular --

Oooh! You’ve just pushed one of my red buttons, that being the “anti pit bull” stance that seems to be prevalent world-wide. For the record: I have two pit bulls, and they are the most loyal, intelligent and cheerful dogs I have ever come across. But they are not dogs for just anybody. They are very sensitive and whilst a good owner will bring out the best in the breed, a bad owner will bring out the worst. Yes, they can be aggressive, especially if they are under the impression I or my lady are under threat.

That is MY problem. If they hurt somebody, it is my ass, because I allowed it to happen. The same as it is my fault if I leave my gun lying about and somebody shoots themselves by accident.

On the other hand, for the record I would like to note that the more aggressive of the two was just fine playing with a boisterous four year old and used to sleep with the cat., because he understood that they were ‘friends’. How you treat them is how they will treat you. Pit bulls are just hearty, great dogs.

(Sorry for the off topic post)

PS I like the Bush sinking ship analogy. Ho ho ho.


Jimmy K --

That is exactly the reason why the world is such a mess these days. Because Americans don’t care what their government does outside its borders, it can do pretty much what it likes. Surely with great power comes great responsibility and accountability? Not in the US I guess. Americans are not hungry enough. If they were, they would care about who was in government and doing what.
 
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Meanwhile a Bulgarian soldier died from friendly fire incident in Iraq last Friday.
 
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Has anyone heard from Abu Khaleel?

I hope he is ok!


Ohio
 
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I think Abu is busy giving interviews on US network TV. He suggested that not everybody in Lebanon was on board with Bush on the 'immediate' Syrian pullout. Next day Hezbollah showed up with 1/2 million demonstrators to prove his point. Coincidence?...I think not!
He appears to be in a horserace with Juan Cole for the 'Cassandras of Iraq I-told-you-so prize'.
Anybody see Rummy lately, Donald Trump is looking for him(Yah fired!).
 
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Friendly fire is terrible and tragic. It is unfortunately common.

"According to the Veteran and Military Combat Casualty Digest, friendly fire casualties during the Vietnam war averaged upwards of 400 a month between 1966 and 1971, rising to a high of 543 in April 1970. The American War Librar y estimates that friendly fire accounted for:

21 per cent of US casualties in the World War II,

18 per cent in Korea,

39 per cent in Vietnam and

49 per cent in the first Gulf War in 1990-91."

http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2003/03/30/story129993849.asp
 
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Ohio,

Abu Khaleel posted on Sunday at Glimpse of Iraq. See link on side bar.

Abu Katya,

Thanks for those reassuring figures. There is something Iraqis can learn here. I am sure no one is logging Iraqi Police or NG killed in friendly fire incidents. The ultimate irony is that the family of a killed American soldier receive $250K insurance. There are many units of Iraqi Police who have not been paid their salaries for 5 months. No compensation scheme is in operation as yet.
 
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I remember visiting my mother in east texas years ago. Her next door neighbor knocked on the door and came in for coffee and to push avon products. She had a heavy German accent. Well, she didn't know what she was in for with me. She couldn't believe my mother would allow her child to question this woman point blank about the holocaust,you know, the mass slaughter of European civilians and especially Jews by the Nazis during World War II

She almost had a heart attack saying she didn't know nothing. I said you didn't wonder what happened to all your Jewish neighbors and friends missing. I mean lady, don't take me for a fool and lie about it. What the hell did you think was going on? She cried and denied. I told her to get the hell out of my sight or I'd run over her stupid bycicle and she'd have to walk to push her avon.

That woman was living a lie. She was either a nazi or afraid. But she lied about not knowing what her govt was doing to human beings. That pisses me off.

This whole WOT is Hitler's Nazi Germany with the propaganda and the repeation of slogans such as freedom being used 75 times in 20 mins when scotty gets to his daily gaggle. bush same thing. he repeats the same "slogans" over and over word for word. Notice how faux repeats from the same script word for word. Over and over. If I hear 911 changed everything one more time I think I'll scream bloody hell. What we did on 911 when we slaughtered an elected official and put in Pinochet the murderer. I think of killing all the Salvador women and many more children a few years ago.

The one thing that does surprise me is that at least the polls are going down. Used to by like 90% and cheney to this day still lies and says there is connection between saddam and what's his name.

AK, I ever get a chance I'm gonna run over Charles bike. Because he's either stupid, or he's as insane as bush. bush is same as nazi. he is not going to get too much to smirk about. People are getting sick of his nonsense. He's a failure. Always has been. Always will be. This time nobody will pick up his sorry ass and protect him. He's poison. And he will burn in hell same as hitler. who also used jesus as a prop!

And to all you good human beings that understand what we few Americans feel shame and helpless that we haven't been able to stop him.

I'm political junkie. I want to know what my govt is doing. I believe they are all about due for charges of treason and war crimes.

Sincerely
me

AK, my email screwed up again. but maybe someday I can come visit your farm. I'm sorry to hear you don't got no dang camals! Best to you and yours.

Charles, go suck muck duck if you don't like my spelling or typing or the truth. And don't let me see you in a dark ally. cause I wanna breaka you face you idgit! hope you get more snow and whatever else to make your life a living hell.
Love and kisses
me
 
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Bush speaks with forked Achtung!

While perusing the FDR Library website, I started reading FDR’s top secret correspondence in 1939 and 1940 just before we entered WWII. Among the document collection was a top secret memo by one of Roosevelt’s confidante’s about a meeting he had, at FDR’s request, with Adolph Hitler.

The whole memo was facinating, to say the least. Particularly this comment by Hitler justifying Germany’s invasion of Poland:

“SHOULD IT BE SAID THAT GERMANY HAD ATTACKED POLAND, ONE MUST REMEMBER THAT ACTION WAS TAKEN BY GERMANY
AGAINST POLAND IN ORDER TO PUT AND END TO POLISH TERRORISM AGAINST THE GERMAN MINORITIES IN THAT COUNTRY. “

Wow.

So, Hitler claimed that Polish “terrorism” was the reason Germany invaded Poland.

Where have we heard that rationale before?

Here's the link to document

http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/psf/box2/t24m19.html
 
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I got to thinking about what merkins believe, and silly me just had to remember the history lessons that these frontal lobotomy freaks for bush refuse to remember. Now him being a freeloading coke snorting drunkard frat rat and a complete failure, I can see why they are in deniel. Hell I'd be ashamed to admit if I fell for the lies and arrogance this cockroach has played the world like a fool.

However: It is my duty as a proud American to remind the wingnuts that we are not living as a free nation anymore. They will never shut me up when I remind them of our own terrorism acts against other coutries for nothing but pure GREED.

"What luck for rulers that men do not think" Adolf Hitler

"A lie told often enough becomes the truth" Lenin

Tell me we are not as guilty as saddam !!! Go back a few years does this remind you of bush speak about free nations and beating his cowardly chest telling all countries what the hell they can and can't do? FREE my ass:

Read it and beg for forgiveness Charles and the rest of you morons

The Largest Covert Operation in CIA History



The Central Intelligence Agency has an almost unblemished record of screwing up every "secret" armed intervention it ever undertook. From the overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953 through the Bay of Pigs, the failed attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro of Cuba and Patrice Lumumba of the Republic of Congo, the Phoenix Program in Vietnam, the "secret war" in Laos, aid to the Greek colonels who seized power in 1967, the 1973 killing of Salvador Allende in Chile and Ronald Reagan's Iran-contra war against Nicaragua, there is not a single instance in which the agency's activities did not prove acutely embarrassing to the United States. The CIA continues to get away with this primarily because its budget and operations have always been secret and Congress is normally too indifferent to its constitutional functions to rein in a rogue bureaucracy. Therefore the tale of a purported CIA success story should be of some interest.

According to the author of the newly released Charlie Wilson's War, the exception to CIA incompetence was the arming between 1979 and 1988 of thousands of Afghan moujahedeen ("freedom fighters"). The agency flooded Afghanistan with an astonishing array of extremely dangerous weapons and "unapologetically mov[ed] to equip and train cadres of high tech holy warriors in the art of waging a war of urban terror against a modern superpower," in this case, the USSR.

The author of this glowing account, George Crile, is a veteran producer for the CBS television news show "60 Minutes" and an exuberant Tom Clancy-type enthusiast for the Afghan caper. He argues that the U.S. clandestine involvement in Afghanistan was "the largest and most successful CIA operation in history" and "the one morally unambiguous crusade of our time." He adds that "there was nothing so romantic and exciting as this war against the Evil Empire." Crile's sole measure of success is the number of Soviet soldiers killed (about 15,000), which undermined Soviet morale and contributed to the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the period from 1989 to 1991. That's the successful part.

However, he never mentions that the "tens of thousands of fanatical Muslim fundamentalists" the CIA armed are some of the same people who in 1996 killed 19 American airmen at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; bombed our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998; blew a hole in the side of the U.S. destroyer Cole in Aden harbor in 2000; and on Sept. 11, 2001, flew hijacked airliners into New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Today, the world awaits what is almost certain to happen soon at some airport – a terrorist firing a U.S. Stinger low-level surface-to-air missile (manufactured at one time by General Dynamics in Rancho Cucamonga) into an American jumbo jet. The CIA supplied thousands of them to the moujahedeen and trained them to be experts in their use. If the CIA's activities in Afghanistan are a "success story," then Enron should be considered a model of corporate behavior.

Nonetheless, Crile's account is important, if appalling, precisely because it details how a ruthless ignoramus congressman and a high-ranking CIA thug managed to hijack American foreign policy. From 1973 to 1996, Charlie Wilson represented the 2nd District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives. His constituency was in the heart of the East Texas Bible Belt and was the long-held fiefdom of his fellow Democrat, Martin Dies, the first chairman of the House Un-American Affairs Committee. Wilson is 6 feet, 4 inches tall and "handsome, with one of those classic outdoor faces that tobacco companies bet millions on." He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1956, eighth from the bottom of his class and with more demerits than any other cadet in Annapolis history.

More of our dirty little human rights record here if ya aren't afraid Charles darlin.
http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig4/johnson-chalmers2.html
 
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Abu Khaleel,

So where is your new government???

Abu Katya
 
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Are you dead?
 
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Mpeachw --


I don’t mean to rain on your parade, but the Stinger happens to have a unique battery that runs the vital electronics of the weapon. That battery becomes quite useless after a few years, and the only replacements are available from the USA. It’s a handy way of either denying the use of them to potential future enemies and / or increasing profits. Just an interesting bit of trivia, in exchange for your useful reference to the “Hitler was also fighting terror” link.

Oh, and listen, I concur totally with how you feel about this, and understand why you are angry at Charles ... but please chill out. Abu Khaleel has tried to keep this board as discussion friendly as possible, and insults are not helping. I got a few posts of my own nuked when I first started posting here, so I know what I'm talking about.

Relax, man. I'd like to see you around more often.
 
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Bruno, you're right.
Please all forgive my anger. Because at some point you tire of the lies.

And I don't ever want to be like the blood thirsty yahoo's. They have no idea what their christian so called leader is doing. We are the Terrorist. We have commited acts so brutal and unAmerican and un Christian We now are naked for the world to unite and pay back from all Free nations we overthru and put dictators in charge of mass murder. Today the Salvador govt admitted the mASS graves so far have uncovered 400 women and 195 are all under 12. The rath of God will deal with the war crimes the US has commited. Then their will be peace. May God have mercy on the truth seekers.

We will never be a threat after all the bush mafia has done in their Greed.
AND even bush will know poverty and want and repression. He's got the whole world ready to pull the ace of spades. And I'm glad we have been exposed. It has to stop somday.

And thanks Bruno. It's good to have another human being around.
 
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MPeach I can forgive, but 6:45 should not be allowed to post!!

Ohio
 
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Bruno said:
"Good to see you around again. High quality material, just as I remembered."

Thanks, Bruno.

I have the same level of respect for your stuff.

I see you have already done your usual thorough job in answering Charles' points, so there is not much more for me to say at the moment.

In truth, I have been avoiding internet discussion boards lately. I am trying to write a historical novel in my spare time, and came to the conclusion that I would never make significant progress on it if I kept gettting sucked into political debates on the internet.

I also feel more than a bit burned out regarding the whole discussion situation anyway. Ever since September 11, 2001, I have felt towards my own country the same way that Abu Khaleel once wrote that he felt regarding Iraq starting in about 1982 -- that it was headed in the wrong direction, one that was leading to disaster, and frustrated at personal inability to do much about it. I have spent much of the past 3 years arguing till I am blue in the face about that, both to people I meet in person and on various internet outlets, with little to show for it.

So, don't expect much from me in the near future, but I will be watching and reading, and jumping in from time to time.

Though I am drastically cutting back on my internet activities, Abu Khaleel's blog is one of the few I will continue to follow, since I consider him a man of unusual intelligence, knowledge, and insight. His blog is FAR superior to the vast majority of blogs/forums concerning Iraq out there in Cyberspace.
 
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We are the Terrorist. We have commited acts so brutal and unAmerican and un Christian We now are naked for the world to unite and pay back from all Free nations we overthru and put dictators in charge of mass murder.

"We" who, mpeachw? You are not included in this "we".

You, and the guys like you, are the hope for US and the world.

Bush, the mass murder and Charles, the blinded fan of the mass murder, they are this "we", not you.

The Attempted Assassination Of Giuliana Sgrena

Had everything gone as planned, an American sniper would have assassinated Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena with one shot, following the sniper's code of 'one shot, one kill'. The only independent witness to what happened would then be dead, as both her guardian, the heroic Nicola Calipari, the driver of the car, and the other two passengers were Italian secret service agents, thus worked for Berlusconi, and would be unable to say anything (on other accounts, the driver may have been an Iraqi, but he could easily be disposed of). The Americans obviously could have killed everyone in the car by simply blowing it up, but it would then have been impossible to claim that this was just another mistake made by a panicking speeding driver at a checkpoint.

By firing lots of rounds, but with only one shot killing anybody, it is clear that either the Americans are terrible shots, or all the flying ammo was simply a ruse to hide the only shot that mattered, the one that would kill the person with the information on what happened in the chemical warfare attacks on Falluja. All the Americans, except for the sniper, were shooting to miss. The sniper had her lined up, only to be foiled by the heroic sacrifice of Nicola Calipari. Ironic that the neocons are stymied by a combination of altruism and duty, things they cannot possibly comprehend.

 
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I have to thank you, Alvaro for commenting that impeachw is one of the hopes for the world. Many of us Americans are really frightenend by the anti-american sentiments. But there are many of us who feel like impeachw, we just aren't heard.

You know, impeachw sounds like a Christian. Many Christians in this country are taught at a very early age to be humble and do good works but not to brag about those works.

I think this is a problem in a way. Because many Christian Americans who have been upset by Bush's policies don't see themselves as ones to speak up--they'd rather minister to the poor and hungry. Or they are scared by the anti-American sentiments out there and are afraid to speak; a sort of paralyzation comes over a country that is constantly criticized. You know we never hear anything positive in our own news, let alone in the international news.

In my church's Book of Confessions it says first to honor your Father in Heaven, then your earthly father and mother and anyone with authority over you including your country's leaders.

While I'm sure Chrisitian Americans don't always consciously think "I have to honor President Bush" it is at least ingrained in their learning to not stand against their President, to not be leaders in this way.

So go ahead and be critical, but know that even if we are not always vocal, there are certainly those who are doing things behind the scenes to try to bring about change. God bless you.



Ohio
 
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...and of course Alvaro chimes in.

So the grunts at the checkpoint decided (under orders) to assassinate the brilliant journalist who was going to 'spill the beans' about the whole evil US operation. That would of course made a lot of sense if any of it were true. If the journalist was brilliant, if she had beans to spill, and if the US soldiers had orders to kill her. Since none of the above are true, we can just chalk this up as another tragic event in war that gets spun by wackos into a conspiacy.

Did it ever occur to you Alvaro, that if the US had wanted to kill this journalist, and just make her disappear, that it would not have been so difficult? Why not kill everyone in the vehicle, dispose of bodies and wreckage, and pretend as if nothing happened? Why go through the trouble of presenting the banal and tragic truth with all of its political consequences?

But wait Alvaro - I thought your theory before this one was that it was the US who was capturing and slaughtering people to begin with? Right? What happened to that one?

So the US (posing as terrorists)captures journalists and other civilians and slaughters them for propaganda purposes. In some cases we let the Italian government pay bribes to release the person (whom we want to kill because she is a threat - right?) only to then shoot up her car and kill the Italian security agent and create a public scandal.

Sounds like an excellent plan.

"an American sniper would have assassinated Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena with one shot,"

I suppose Italian forensics experts would not have been able to identify what type of weapon caused the fatal wound? Was it a small caliber infantry rifle? Or a large caliber sniper rifle? Or a .50 cal machine gun round? Or a 25mm canon round?
 
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Regarding the shooting of the Italian reporter:

Some people are talking as if it can only be explained by some deliberate attempt at assassination. They give the US military way too much credit. The unfortunate truth is the shooting is perfectly understandable as just another gross fuck up resulting from the combination of 1) confusion and 2) fear on the part of US soldiers.

What the example actually illustrates is how easily jumpy soldiers can blow away innocent people in an environment like that of current Iraq.

Does this somehow excuse what happened? Of course not. My point is that this sort of thing happens all the time, it is just that the victims are usually not high profile figures who will attract the attention of the international press, but instead "mere" ordinary Iraqis blown away by their "liberators."

The idea that the US could invade and occupy Iraq, could somehow conduct a war, in some sort of "clean" or "precise" way that spared innocents was just another bit of lying propaganda in the Bush administrations tapestry of lying propaganda.

The truth is that war is an ugly, messy, nasty, imprecise, thoroughly confusing business, which is one of the main reasons why it is such an unforgivable CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY to start wars unnecessarily in the first place.

Paraphrasing the Nuremberg Tribunals at the end of World War II -- the greatest war crime of all is to unnecessarily start a war, because this action contains within itself the seeds and causes of all the other crimes which follow.
 
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Charles and Diogenes,

I agree that the journalist shooting was more than likely an accidental shooting. Sgrena is saying that the Americans came to the vehicle and shouted that there was a dead person and they tried to give her an IV and that they seemed stunned.

And besides soldiers being high strung or confused as Diogenes says, I believe by now a lot must be getting battle fatigue where they aren't sleeping well and their minds aren't working right.
This could then explain too the differing stories on both sides.


Ohio
 
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Most people here find it real easy (in an almost infantile way) to characterize the US soldiers as frightened, poorly trained, trigger happy killers.

That position falls into perfect goose step with the world view that the US itself is a frightened, incompetent, trigger happy (and also greedy evil imperialistic etc.) killer.

There are certainly other, less simple, explanations. Some of you ought to consider them.

Washington Post has an article today on US checkpoints:

Checkpoint Iraq: A Tactic That Works

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A28924-2005Mar12.html

I am certainly willing to concede that lethal mistakes have been and will be made. Mistakes are a part of war - as Diogenes rightly points out. But for all the attention given to mistakes, there is very little credit given to successes.
 
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I hope Abu's just gone down to his farm, or is reorganising his Blog like he said he might, and that nothing has happened to him.
The following from Charles is difficult to resist:

"But for all the attention given to mistakes, there is very little credit given to successes."

Could you list these successes, Charles, in an systematic way? The ones that have been worth all the chaos and bloodshed for innocent Iraqis?
Circular
 
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The Washington Post article was interesting , Charles with yet another visual of what might have gone on. It made me a little ashamed to realize that I don't know all the complexities of the checkpoint situation.

My major curiosity is why is there contention over whether the car was speeding or not-has anyone heard if this has been ironed out?

What I think is unfortunate is the delay in getting out the facts (which is justified) in some of these instances, in order to logically analyze the situation. The delay in these situations makes it appear as though the military, etc. has somtehing to hide when they really don't. It's all the messiness of war. Face it Charles, we will always look like the "bad guys" until this war is over.

And it goes back to Diogenes--this is why you only wage war as a last resort.
 
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Circ,

You might want to visit Chrenkoff on occasion. He is gracious enough to compile a series called 'Good news from Iraq.'

Here is the link to installment 21:

http://chrenkoff.blogspot.com/2005/02/good-news-from-iraq-part-21.html

One thing you will have to admit is that the task of compiling good news if far more difficult than bad news. Good news isn't 'news.' When US soldiers at a checkpoint rescued Egyptian (?) hostages and captured/killed some of the perps, it hardly registered in media. How many checkpoint arrests/confiscations have been made? How many op's interrupted? Honestly I don't know.

I seem to recall that Saddam is in jail, as are many of his buddies. The Iraqis also had elections. There is no civil war (although many still have their fingers crossed I'm sure). Is there a new wave of freedom rippling across the ME? I think even you and I can agree that if it weren't for the insurgents (did you see Kofi's statement that anyone attacking civilians is a terrorist and nothing but) blowing people and infrastructure to bits, then things would be way way way way better.

Things would also be much better for the Iraqis if the kiwis sent over a division to help (BTW - how many divisions do you kiwis have?).

I think in many areas internal security has already been handed over to Iraqi forces with US in support. Maybe more troops are not necessary. A kind word would help though.

Ohio,

If you are interested in the US soldier POV, you might want to visit 'blackfive':

http://www.blackfive.net/main/

"we will always look like the "bad guys" until this war is over."

We will always always look like bad guys to certain people - especially the real bad guys. Sometimes worrying about how we are perceived by people who don't like us anyway is less important than doing the right thing.
 
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Touche', Charles on your last point.

I think I will chill and just read posts for awhile.

Ohio
 
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Charles you still don’t get it.
NZ doesn’t have any Divisions - our population is less than that of a medium-sized US city. Nevertheless our troops have served overseas, mainly under the auspices of the UN, since the end of WW2. They have been lethal when necessary - in Malaya, Korea, Borneo, Vietnam and Afghanistan - and most recently in East Timor. But mainly their work has been in reconstruction and peacekeeping - clearing minefields in Cambodia and Angola, monitoring borders in the Middle East, keeping the Indonesian militia out of East Timor while rebuilding the villages, stabilising a province in Afghanistan - and they are far happier with a hammer rather than a Steyr in their hands.
As far as I’m aware, they have never called the locals "Gooks" or "Hajis," they have never said "If it’s dead and Vietnamese, it must be Viet Cong," "If they don’t stop fast enough for our checkpoints, they deserve to get blown away." By what right do your troops set up checkpoints in Iraq, two years after you have "liberated" the place? (Go on Charles, whine whine, but it’s those terrible terrorists, we have to keep killing innocent Iraqis until we’ve beaten the terrorists. What sane nation would want to join into that?) Whose country is it anyway? Yours or theirs? I drive constantly around my country - how do you think I would feel if my right to do so was constrained by a whole lot of uninvited, ignorant, trigger-happy hillbillies who have no enduring business here and no understanding of the place?
Remember Zina’s comment about her colleague who asked her if she was going to fly or drive from the US to Europe? I find this so hard to believe - that an adult could be that ignorant in this day and age. I certainly wouldn’t want her brothers over here toting guns.
Don’t you read anything that Abu has actually said? Sure, it’s great freeing Iraq from the Saddam regime - but it’s not so great when you replace his regime with troops whose first instinct in any situation is to shoot the nearest Arab. Apparently they’re also shooting their allies - the British have asked that US troops transiting their area be given lessons in recognition of the Union Jack, to stop them loosing off at anything that moves. These are the guys with real NCO’s and officers, Charles, and properly trained troops, who have got it right in their part of Iraq.
If you are going to be the only superpower in the 21st century, rushing around spreading freedom and democracy wherever takes your fancy, can’t you at least get it a little bit right? So far you’ve got it all wrong in Iraq, just like you did in Vietnam.
Don’t the troops of a nation to some extent represent the mood and nature of that nation? Germany’s ruthless SS in WW2, Eisenhower’s "greatest generation" in Europe and the Pacific, Mao’s fanatical hordes in Korea, the incredible courage of the Vietnamese refusing to give in against a nation 20 times their size, the united and motivated world forces of Gulf I? And the frightened, trigger-happy, "blow it all away, let God pick up the pieces" Marines and GI’s in Iraq?
After two years, you’ve managed some half-assed elections that haven’t produced any tangible results.
Tell us more about your "successes," Charles. Then you might get some kind words.
Circular
 
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Dear Circular,

I take offense to the comment about our troops first instinct is to shoot the nearest Arab. That is VERY prejudicial. You do realize that some of our soldiers are Arabs? I really doubt that is the emotion going on.

Although I don't believe in the reason we are over there, did it occur to you that the reporting of several incidences of friendly fire being the majority of American accidents is because we have the most troops in Iraq? Have you heard that Italy wants to negotiate but not tell us about where their people are going to be?
Have you also heard of battle fatigue?

And lastly, would you like it if your hard-working soldiers, many of whom signed up in the military to get decent pay when their communities are depressed ie. West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee-(AND by the way you may call them Hillbillies, but please use a capital H if you are going to Circular because they've earned that proud name; it means HONESTY, PRIDE, LOYALTY, HONOR and HARD WORKMANSHIP) and were not by their choice involved in the decision to enact the war that they were stuck in) would you like it if YOUR troops were insidiously villified by allies, yes allies??

Please think about it is all I'm asking.

Ohio
 
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O.k. so I goofed. I meant to say some of our soldiers are Arab-american.
 
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And one more thing, Hillbillies are a hell of a lot of fun, too.

Have you ever seen the Blue Ridge Mountains? Well, them thar hills can make folks just-a-give away thar inhibitins'!!!
 
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Ohio, come on.

You act more concerned about Circular's rhetoric than the situation in Iraq.

Frankly, when a country invades another without justification, shoots and bombs the hell out of it, and then proceeds to occupy it and rule over it by military means, heated rhetoric about the situation against the country that did these wrongful things is only to be expected.

I am less concerned with rhetoric against the US for what we have done to Iraq, but rather the fact that we did it and are continuing to do it.

STOP DOING SUCH THINGS, and anti-US rhetoric and feeling will naturally diminish. It's as simple as that.
 
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Youre' wrong for once, Diogenes.
I believe debaters, writers, scholars you name it have an obligation to rise above the hurtful rhetoric that does nothing but to instill more hatred.

Do you want so many people to stir up the world in such a hatred that might cause a new unjustified war against the U.S.? Not that we don't deserve it, but I'm just asking for people to remember the hardworking QUIET Americans that were/are against the war and let's give them some respect.

If you had the U.S. at your mercy would that make you happier? If the answer is yes, even in jest than you have just become the same as the few ungodly Americans that did commit unjustified actions. As the native Americans say, walk a mile in my moccassins...
 
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Perhaps I am reading too much into what you said, but for my part I don't think being a "quiet american" is in the least bit admirable.

When your government is committing wrong in your name, it is your moral duty to speak out against it. Not to be quiet, but to be loud as hell about it.

As to rhetoric in general, I think it should be as accurate as possible. When innaccuracies start creeping in, the credibility of the message suffers. So I agree with you to that extent. My post above was directed at what I thought was perceived to be an attitude behind your post which was more concerned with anti-US rhetoric than with the things the US is doing to provoke such rhetoric in the first place.

Perhaps, again, I am reading too much into your comments here. If so, sorry about the confusion.
 
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O.K. I guess when I say quiet, I mean many things-the people who can't speak up for themselves-those who are poor who joined the military to survive and can't see speaking against the war due to poverty and disloyalty toward their comrades, those who are passive I e, some Christian and Muslim-Americans and especially the sects like the Amish. Mothers like myself who by the way I email and write the Congress quite frequently about the war and the Israeli-Palestinian issue and I keep not hearing back. I want to protest in my small town and I hope to this Spring. We have had protesters here since the war began, I'm proud to say. But my point is, they never get on the front pages of even the local newspapaers. And we can't all afford a Washington trip.

I need suggestions, Diogenes on what to do. I feel so helpless. I wish we here could write up some sort of international petition. Food for thought.


Ohio
 
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Where is Pumpkintown?
 
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Circ,

I know its easy for you and others to claim that US soldiers are poorly trained homicidal maniacs, but I just don't think that is the case. Do you know any soldiers? Has it ever occurred to you that you are only considering one side of the story (a side that has a definite anti-American agenda?)?

This from your NZDF website:

"UN Security Council Resolution 1483 made it clear that the UN has a vital role to play in the post-war period. It appealed to UN member states to assist the people of Iraq in their efforts to rebuild their country and to contribute to conditions of stability and security in Iraq. Under Resolution 1483, NZ can make a useful contribution without in any way becoming an occupying power."

Why did NZ withdraw its 61 engineers? Did the UN resolution that justified the deployment get annulled? Did Iraq become such a wonderful place that help was no longer needed?
 
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O.k. I have an idea. We stage a protest against the U.S. govt getting involved in other countries affairs. We do it in a town in Ohio known for protests. A small one so if we get lots of people it will really make news.
Ohio makes sense because we were the state that fought out the election with such gusto and we are an important state. And mostly we should have it here because I can't leave. Just kidding.

But my condition is it is not a protest against the war because I do not want our troops to leave the poor Iraqis high and dry and undefended. It now would have to be a protest about staying out of other countries business and to call for the need for better rhetoric with our Arab brothers. how crazy does this sound?
 
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I haven't been to this forum for a while actually... I've had an acute shortage of three essential ingredients: time, means... and motive.

Also, I feel that we are in the process of watching the formulation of a new ball game. There is so much input... but much of it so vague! And... I am questioning the very concept of this blog!

I have just read through all your comments. So many good points from so many good people... as well as some bad ones by a few 'bad apples'. America must have been having some bad apple seasons for a few years in a row! I have had to tidy things up a bit to leave a clean discussion.


Charles,

An 'uninformed' person does not know. Those people "believe" something that is not true. How did all those millions of people get that impression? Have you already forgotten all that what was said and insinuated by the media and by senior administration officials?

If we imagine a simple person thinking that 9/11 was done by those bloody Airabs. Eye-raq is an Airab country. Therefore Eye-raqis must be responsible for 911. Will you not concede that some misinformation at a more sisnister level has taken place sometime in America?

By the way, your unprovoked and ill-mannered attack on Zina was mean.
It seems that you have "lived abroad for much of the 90's". That sounds more than the period Zina has spent in the States. Have you learned that country's language to the same proficiency as Zina's English? If you haven't, then that says something about your (lack of) learning capabilities. Through your many comments in this website, you certainly have demonstrated very clearly your (lack of ) ability to learn anything new.

If you have learned that foreign language, then please accept my apologies.

How does that feel? It is basically a tactic we are all bcoming familiar with: Assume, Attack... and (occasionally) Apologize. Sounds familiar?

You are still welcome to comment (I really want you to) but I respectfully request again that you do not spam this section of this blog. I will be grateful if you restrict yourself to a maximum number of comments that is equal to two more than the highest number of posts made by anybody. Is this fair? This may act as an incentive for you to reflect a bit more before posting. So far, you have managed to offend almost all regular participants... most of the time needlessly. Was that 'common sense' bit really necessary?

Let us all please have a civilized debate.
 
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Welcome back Abu Khaleel. We were worried about you.

My apologies in advance. I'm sure I'm the vague one. I'm going to try to write down my points to edit them, before posting.
 
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Ohio,

Thank you. I am afraid I was the one who was a bit 'vague'! I was actually referring to the political situation in Iraq up there. Sorry. I should have have been more explicit.
 
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I wish you could tell us more about your experiences in Iraq.


Ohio
 
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Abu Khaleel,

A couple of quick points:

1. Welcome back.
2. I don't consider my posts to be spam. It seems to me a spammer is someone who has a ready prepared text who cuts and pastes randomly without a thought as to what the thread is about. I have noticed a few of those here on occasion. You may not like my comments because I disagree with almost everyone here, but that does not make my comments 'spam.' But since you'rethe boss here I'll take a break for a while.
3. Re: Zina. While she may be a foreign ex-pat in the US, a highly doubt it. Her poor English skills were more in line with uneducated 'hip-hop' slang than a foreigner's inability to speak English.

For the record, I lived in Russia from 92-98 and I do speak, read, and write Russian. I taught myself (I had no formal/academic training) so I do make grammatical errors. Russian grammar is a beech.

"How did all those millions of people get that impression? Have you already forgotten all that what was said and insinuated by the media and by senior administration officials?"

It cuts both ways Abu Khaleel. I would like to see a public opinion poll run from a different angle:

1. Did Bush ever claim that an attack from Saddam was imminent?
2. Did the French admit that Saddam would never comply faithfully with disarmament requirements?
3. Did the French admit that the only reason Saddam was cooperating at all with UN inspectors was because of 250K troops on the border?
4. During which of the following years was Saddam in compliance with UNSC resolutions upon which the GWI ceasefire was contingent: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003?
5. Did the US provide chemical weapons to Saddam?
6. What countries provided Saddam with over 95% of all of his weapons systems? a. UK/US, b. France/Germany/China/Russia.
7. During the 1980's, was the vast majority of 'support' provided by the US in the form of direct military aid or in agricultural product export loan guarantees issued to US exporters (not Iraq)?
8. Is the US stealing oil from Iraq?
9. Does Bush remind you of Hitler?
10. Does the US target civilians?
11. Does the US target journalists?
12. For how many years now has the UN officially been asking for all member countries to help Iraq in establishing security?
13. How many countries are making significant contributions in this regard?
14. How many of you think that the UN request should be honored?
15. Is Bush a liar?

"Will you not concede that some misinformation at a more sisnister level has taken place sometime in America?"

Sinister? No.
 
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Who’s this "Abu Kahleel" guy that has suddenly joined in the discussion? Where did he come from?
Good to see you back, Abu. I certainly hope you recover your motivation to Blog, otherwise I’ll have to wrestle with the symptoms of "Iraquna Withdrawal."
If you want suggestions: is the "Letter to America" theme perhaps approaching a use-by date? Are you perhaps either preaching to the converted in the case of many of us, or battering your head against a brick wall in the case of the die-hard war apologists? The "what a stuff-up!" "not a stuff-up!" debate becomes increasingly sterile with the passage of time, and the Bush administrations’ attention seems to be wandering elsewhere anyway: maybe they have consigned Iraq to the "Too Hard" basket and just want to get out with some sort of intact image for their fanatical constituency?
Is more emphasis on the "Glimpse of Iraq" theme possibly the way to go? I know you don’t want to be a mere reporter, but information about what real, ordinary Iraqis are thinking and feeling is so hard to come by, with independent reporting more or less shut down, and is really appreciated out here. I’m sure many of us would like to hear more about "the country I know and live in, not the one portrayed ... by the mass media."Could the Glimpse section be re-opened for Comments? What are the best jokes circulating about the outcome of the "election?"
Circulator
 
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Circulator-are you by any chance related to a Circular?

I like it when you are in a good mood! I agree that Glimpse of Iraq is nice. I wish Abu Khaleel would write more too. And that we could all chat. Kind of like a round table discussion.
 
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Circulatory, Ohio (and others)

To tell you the truth, I enjoy writing the "Glimpse" more than this one! These letters frequently leave me feeling angry and bitter (any idea why? ;) I'm sure you have already noticed that many of the people I mention there are people I know. This is probably why I switched off the comments section. There were some hateful and truly obnoxious comments that deeply offended me in attacking or insulting people that I love and respect.

I promise that I will make the effort to post more frequently there... external factors permitting.

As to contemporary events, I have always felt that there are numerous Iraqi bloggers doing just that. Besides, the energy required for such an exercise requires a younger soul! What is it that you feel is missing?

As to this blog, I really don't know yet. The Iraqi component seems certain to have a larger share of the new ball game that will be unfolding… with the US administration pulling some of the main strings from behind the scenes. If we discuss that too often, I am sure some of our American friends here will start yelling "conspiracy theory"!.

There is also my promise of discussing the issue of religion … but such murky waters may attract some ferocious sharks. I can give you the bottom line on this: I believe that there is a thin line that can be charted between appeasing religious feelings of millions… and secularism. Surprising? Well, I think I can defend my position, but the subject may be boring to many.

What do you think?
 
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Charles --

[charles] ” 1. Did Bush ever claim that an attack from Saddam was imminent?”

The entire message that the Bush Administration gave out on Iraq is that Iraq was a great threat to America and that America risked attack if it did not do something about it. This message was calculated to scare Americans into supporting an unjust, illegal war, and Bush knew full well that once the US was in Iraq, he would call the shots from there on as to how long they would remain, and as to which additional countries would be invaded. You are playing semantic games here. Iraq was clearly labeled as a legitimate target for a preemptive strike, whether this threat was “imminent”, “immediate”, “grave”, “mortal” or of “unique urgency” is immaterial – the lie was told and the US public believed it.

[charles]” 2. Did the French admit that Saddam would never comply faithfully with disarmament requirements?
3. Did the French admit that the only reason Saddam was cooperating at all with UN inspectors was because of 250K troops on the border?”

You are trying to rope in France as being in agreement with the US attack on Iraq. Whereas the answer to both these questions is ‘yes’, France did not feel an invasion was warranted, nor did they feel that Iraq was a “serious and growing threat” either. They thought that continued inspections were the answer, and they were right. Civilisation triumphs over barbarity yet again, morally speaking.

[charles]” 4. During which of the following years was Saddam in compliance with UNSC resolutions upon which the GWI ceasefire was contingent: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003?”

I’m guessing very few to none. So what? The US/Britain were in contravention of the Ceasefire EVERY SINGLE YEAR THAT YOU HAVE LISTED THERE. Furthermore, I point out to you that US manipulation of sanctions and bombing resulted in the direct or otherwise preventable deaths of around half a million Iraqis. Furthermore, I ask YOU : how many US citizens was Saddam responsible for the death of, from the 1991 Ceasefire to 2003 ? Answer THAT.

[charles]” 5. Did the US provide chemical weapons to Saddam?”

Hmm. More semantic tricks. Directly shipping tons of nerve gas? No. BUT: The US provided samples of bacterial and viral agents that could be used in creating NBC weaponry, as well as millions of dollars in material precursors that were the raw materials for creating chemical weapons. That the US KNEW were going to be used to make chemical weapons. The Dow company is one of these suppliers, for example. US military sources even provided targeting data for Hussein’s chemical weaponry, and furthermore helped cover up some of Hussein’s use of gas against the Kurds. Real noble of your government.

[charles]” 6. What countries provided Saddam with over 95% of all of his weapons systems? a. UK/US, b. France/Germany/China/Russia.”

Option (b). Your point is? The real underlying argument here is that you say everybody supported Saddam and thus everybody is bad. However, the flipside is that the USA then made it its personal mission to “get” Saddam, in the process of which mountains of innocent Iraqis who happened to be in the way were directly or indirectly killed. The other countries chose routes which would harm ordinary Iraqis the least.

[charles] “8. Is the US stealing oil from Iraq?”

Yes. Oil revenues until 2007 belong to the US, and it has used these revenues largely to fund its own operations there, either directly or through lackeys.

[charles] “9. Does Bush remind you of Hitler?”

No. Hitler was far more intelligent, a better orator and quite frankly, at least had had the guts to put his money where his mouth was, having fought in the trenches of World war 1. Bush is a Hitler – lite, willing to send others to do what he himself is too chicken to do.

[charles] “10. Does the US target civilians?”

Yes of course it does. Those killed by bombs and cannon fire can attest to that. A pro American observer might lessen this criticism by pointing out that civilians were not deliberately targeted, but that in its rush to kill insurgents, the US eliminates anybody even remotely suspected to be such. That btw, is still a war crime.

[charles] “11. Does the US target journalists?”

Yes. Certainly. Serbian TV can attest to this, as can Al Jazeera. They received cruise missiles and JDAM’s respectively, despite the fact that they had alerted US authorities to their locations. Disgusting.

Charles, on the UN resolutions to provide security in Iraq, I would agree that people should honour this and help toss the US out of Iraq by force if necessary. Nations of the world ought to unite and send money, arms and troops as well as enforcing an embargo on rogue nations that think military force is the way to resolve disputes. (Nice the way elastic interpretation of UN edicts can be used, huh? Just ask GWB ...)

[charles]” 15. Is Bush a liar?”

AAAAH HA HA HA HA HAAH!

*wipes tears from eyes*

Must I really answer that?
 
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Abu Khaleel --

I just wanted to tell you that the 'Glimpse of Iraq' series is very beautifully written and a valuable resource for anybody looking for a feel of iraqi society and land. Thank you for your efforts there.

Secondly, I think a post on the future of Iraq as you see it might be quite valuable too. Ferocious sharks? Well, as long as the can reason and debate, why not? As long as these sharks do not do physical harm, then why not?

Is it not through debate that we decide on the viability of ideas?
 
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i was wondering if in "Glimpse" sometime you could tell us about Harun Rashid. And if it is true he gave all of his orders in formal Arabic poetry?


Ohio
 
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Hello Abu Khaleel,
"There is also my promise of discussing the issue of religion … but such murky waters may attract some ferocious sharks. I can give you the bottom line on this: I believe that there is a thin line that can be charted between appeasing religious feelings of millions… and secularism. Surprising? Well, I think I can defend my position, but the subject may be boring to many.

What do you think?"
Not boring in the least. Rather the reverse. But I must warn you that this is a highly contentious subject(with me)!
Secularism is failing around the world, losing ground here in America with the reformed alcoholic Bush financing his religious charities with the my tax money. America was founded as a secular nation and is now being destroyed by the partisan warfare of nauseating anti-science religious fanatics. Of course I want to hear what you want to say about the role of marginalized secularism in Iraq. What a world!
 
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Regarding swimming with sharks, Abu, since you seem to be soliciting an opinion:
As a very devout unbeliever, or disbeliever, or non-believer, I must confess to a profound lack of interest in the details of the doctrines and beliefs of any religion, if that’s what you’re talking about. But doubtless others here would feel differently.
(I don’t even feel guilty about it either. At the last Census here in NZ, about 30% of the population identified themselves as having ‘No Religion.’ Most of the remainder identified themselves as adhering to one of the mainstream Christian denominations, but other surveys of Church attendance suggest that a lot of these are at best nominal rather than practising in their claimed religiosity, so you could safely say that the majority of the population are for all practical purposes non-religious. It doesn’t seem to be doing us much harm, as far as being a fundamentally decent society is concerned. I gather something similar could be said about many European states. I don’t know if we’re leading the world into the future, or into perdition, but at the moment it feels OK.)
Something that would interest me, regarding secularity, is my vague awareness of the UN Declaration of Human Rights thingy, promoting all manner of equality before the law, between the sexes, between races and faiths and sects, etc. To what extent, if any, is there a clash between these presumably secular principles and Muslim beliefs as they may affect the citizens of a future Iraq? What about the Muslim world in general? Are these contentious questions, or is that the thin line you are talking about?
Circular
 
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For you dear Circular,
"A philosopher may deplore the eternal discord of the human race, but he will confess that the desire of spoil is a more rational provocation than the vanity of conquest. From the age of Constantine to that of the Plantagenets, this rapacious spirit continued to instigate the poor and hardy Caledonians: but the same people, whose generous humanity seems to inspire the songs of Ossian, was disgraced by a savage ignorance of the virtues of peace and of the laws of war. Their southern neighbours have felt, and perhaps exaggerated, the cruel depredations of the Scots and Picts: and a valiant tribe of Caledonia, the Attacotti, the enemies, and afterwards the soldiers, of Valentinian, are accused, by an eye-witness, of delighting in the taste of human flesh. When they hunted the woods for prey, it is said that they attacked the shepherd rather than his flock; and that they curiously selected the most delicate and brawny parts, both of males and females, which they prepared for their horrid repasts. If, in the neighbourhood of the commercial and literary town of Glasgow, a race of cannibals has really existed, we may contemplate, in the period of the Scottish history, the opposite extremes of savage and civilized life. Such reflections tend to enlarge the circle of our ideas: and to encourage the pleasing hope that New Zealand may produce, in some future age, the Hume of the Southern Hemisphere."
-Icosahedron
 
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Bruno:

You are going off the deep end again, e.g., Bush is worse than Hitler and the U.S. purposefully targets journalists. Talk about binary, un-nuanced thinking. Is there any immoral act that you will not accuse the U.S. of embracing when reacting to Charles’ jingoism?

To cite a further example, your comments concerning the non-U.S. source for the vast bulk of Saddam's weaponry are transparently disingenuous. The purpose of Charles' question was quite obviously to rebut the frequently made assertion the U.S. armed Saddam or that Saddam was a pliant U.S. client. The fact that the U.S. greatly constrained military sales to Iraq during the Iran/Iraq war when Saddam desperately needed them belies such claims. Of course, the U.S. helped both Iraq and Iran in that war when either side looked as if it might score a decisive victory. This policy was pursued largely because the U.S. feared that a clearly victorious Iraq or Iran would become more militarily aggressive and move on to threaten other neighboring states. Such events could have resulted in further death, destruction, and civilian suffering ( the altrusitic concerns) as well as having grave effects on world energy prices and the world economy (issues of economic self-interest).

Abu Khaleel:

I, for one, would be very interested in your thoughts on how the Iraqi politicians can accommodate passionately held, but frequently competing, religious and secular values in a new constitutional system. After all, political compromise is the preferred means by which democratic governments reach a consensus for action on contentious issues.

Mark-In-Chi-Town
 
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Bruno:

You are going off the deep end again, e.g., Bush is worse than Hitler and the U.S. purposefully targets journalists. Talk about binary, un-nuanced thinking. Is there any immoral act that you will not accuse the U.S. of embracing when reacting to Charles’ jingoism?

To cite a further example, your comments concerning the non-U.S. source for the vast bulk of Saddam's weaponry are transparently disingenuous. The purpose of Charles' question was quite obviously to rebut the frequently made assertion the U.S. armed Saddam or that Saddam was a pliant U.S. client. The fact that the U.S. greatly constrained military sales to Iraq during the Iran/Iraq war when Saddam desperately needed them belies such claims. Of course, the U.S. helped both Iraq and Iran in that war when either side looked as if it might score a decisive victory. This policy was pursued largely because the U.S. feared that a clearly victorious Iraq or Iran would become more militarily aggressive and move on to threaten other neighboring states. Such events could have resulted in further death, destruction, and civilian suffering ( the altrusitic concerns) as well as having grave effects on world energy prices and the world economy (issues of economic self-interest).

Abu Khaleel:

I, for one, would be very interested in your thoughts on how the Iraqi politicians can accommodate passionately held, but frequently competing, religious and secular values in a new constitutional system. After all, political compromise is the preferred means by which democratic governments reach a consensus for action on contentious issues.

Mark-In-Chi-Town
 
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Icosahedron
Duh! What?
Circular
 
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Mark --

The Bush / Hitler question was answered in an appropriate way. What I am saying is that whereas Hitler had the guts to come out and slam the gauntlet down on the table for the world to see, Bush seeks more insidious ways to achieve similar aims of global supremacy. Whereas Hitler fought in the trenches in possibly the most ghastly war in human history, doing one of the most dangerous jobs (runner), Bush was getting wasted on shooters while serving snug and safe back home in the US. The irony is that Bush is still somehow seen as a ‘tough guy’ by the right wing groupies, whereas in reality he is a daddy’s boy playing at cowboys and Indians with other people’s lives.

Bush may not have an explicit ideology of racial eradication, but the ideology that he, and to a lesser degree, America as a whole seems to believe in, is in the creation of client states, control of foreign resources and utilizing subservient labour pools for profit. He is not Hitler … yet still, somehow, after ‘liberation’, an estimated 100 000 Iraqis have died as a result. It is the lie that Bush is, that annoys me so much.

Next: The US HAS targeted journalists.

It is a fact.

During the Kosovo crisis the US military warned Serbian TV that it was broadcasting propaganda, and told it to stop. When it did not change its tune, the TV station was hit by cruise missiles. Al Jazeera in Baghdad was hit by bombs after going out of its way to make sure that the US military knew exactly where its position was. Those two events are probably the most damning of a spectrum of similar events. Almost in that category is the shelling of the Palestine hotel, despite that the entire world knew that the hotel was filled with correspondents.

There is a second group of not quite so cut and dried incidents. The killing of Mazen Dana comes to mind. The massacre of civilians and Egyptian newscasters on Haifa street by helicopter cannon fire comes to mind. The bombing of Al Jazeera in Afghanistan, Kabul comes to mind. The shooting of Giuliana Sgrena comes to mind. The systematic harassment and /or detention of many other journalists not toeing the US line supports this trend.

Individually this second group of examples could be dismissed on a case by case basis of soldiers overreacting; seen as a whole one can only come to the conclusion that (the Al Jazeera / Serbian examples not even counted, now) either the US military is deliberately targeting non embedded journalists, or that American soldiers have incredibly poor fire discipline and/or liaison with their superiors. I really don’t know which is more damning.

The argument with Charles is the usual one. The US has made a moral case for invading Iraq. It has condemned Saddam for all sorts of hideous abuses, and feels he must hang. Fair enough, I agree. HOWEVER, people like Charles ignore the extensive material support that the US was providing him, which to my mind completely undermines that case for superior US morality. If Saddam must hang, then so must those US accomplices who facilitated his acts, and, as in the case of Halabja, tried to cover up his misdeeds. Whether other countries provided even more materials is irrelevant: they have not invaded Iraq on the basis of a superior moral foundation and the pretext of punishing the dictator that they were previously supporting – for acts committed WHILE they supported him.

Look, Mark, maybe I’m not as tuned in to American politics as Americans. Perhaps you can point me to where GW Bush ranted and raved against his father’s evil policy of arming Iraq, and facilitating the deaths of Iraqis. Perhaps you could direct me to where the neocons have repudiated Rumsfeld’s dealings with Hussein, and asked him to apologise. I must be watching all the wrong news, then. To me it seems that the same people that helped their buddy Hussein in the 1980’s are making him out to be the worst garbage since Stalin. Yet they don’t seem to have changed their political direction much. Nor have they offered a mea culpa to the Kurds etc. for outrages committed with US assistance, never mind compensation. Their “change of heart” is insincere, and a lie.

Fair enough, I can understand your “balance of power” between Iraq / Iran scenario, even though I don’t agree with it. On the other hand, those responsible don’t seem too repentant for what they did, despite their reasons. They seem to be hell bent on dodging all culpability, instead. Having practical reasons for supporting Saddam does not necessarily mean having moral correctness at the same time … in fact it is quite possible to have the opposite moral stance … yet they are making a moral case for war against Iraq. Kinda hypocritical when they are about as black as Saddam, eh?

(A correct moral approach would have been to try and force a political solution to the Iraq-Iran war, through massive pressure. Instead, glee at two enemies killing one other ruled the day.)

For example your ‘greatly constrained’ sales of weaponry to Iraq ignores the fact that much was passed to Iraq through intermediary companies in the Middle East. You also ignore the fact that it was US technology and seed materials that enabled Saddam to build and use his NBC arsenal. You ignore the fact that despite that the US Senate of the time tried to cut off various aid to Iraq in response to Halabja, the Reagan administration managed to quash all such efforts, as in 1988, for example.

Let me sum up this monolithic argument into a single short piece: The actions of the US vis a vis Iraq, past and present, are inconsistent with a moral, humanitarian motivation. Yet this is exactly the argument made for deposing Saddam. This argument is a lie. The people who helped Saddam in the 1980’s and their intellectual successors have not changed. They are hypocrites through and through.

THAT is my position.
 
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Well, I am a little more heartened about my countrymen and women.

Check out Aljazeera.net for a new ABC/Washington post poll about how Americans feel about the war in Iraq.(I'm sorry I don't know how to give you a link yet).

And, at the same address see: Global News, where Mundhir Sulaiman- an expert on U.S. national security affairs says:
"Traditionally, Americans do not support military intervention and human losses in order to achieve aims like spreading democracy."


Ohio
 
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Bruno:

It is true that journalists have been "targeted" in the sense that a weapon was purposefully fired in their direction, but that is not what most people mean when they use the phrase. They mean deliberately attempting to kill or harm a journalist. As you concede, you have cited no direct evidence of such deliberate attempts. As to your inference that there is a pattern of occurrences which support of conclusion that such deliberate attempts are common or are policy, it is illogical in view of the significant number of friendly fire incidents in this war.

Of course, the remaining issue is fire discipline and communication. The anecdotal evidence that you cite is, in my view, insufficient to draw generalized conclusions as to discipline or the lack thereof. What is your standard for fire discipline and communication, a complete lack of friendly fire or journalist incidents? I would submit that perfection is an unreasonable standard for human conduct, particularly in matters as complex and dangerous as conducting a war.
This is not to say that greater efforts should not be made to reduce the number of such incidents.

You also wrote, "Bush may not have an explicit ideology of racial eradication, but the ideology that he, and to a lesser degree, America as a whole seems to believe in, is in the creation of client states, control of foreign resources and utilizing subservient labour pools for profit."

This may truly be your opinion, but I doubt it. Such rhetoric sounds more like an accusation that the U.S. is in essence running a series of Nazi forced labor camps through its client states. I submit that your characterization is an insult the victims of his atrocities. You might want to bear in mind that the Nazis were responsible for the death of 20 million Russians and the purposeful execution of over 6 million Jews, gypsies, communists, homosexuals and other "undesirables." Even assuming, for the sake of argument, that your 100,000 figure is accurate, it utterly pales in comparison to Hitler's legacy of depravity.

As to client states, the U.S., like every other world power throughout history, has attempted to influence both allies and enemies in a manner that furthers its own interests. There is nothing necessarily sinister in such an approach as long as it is tempered by a certain level of respect for other nation’s rights and certain ethical limits. What those limits are or should be under a given set of circumstances are matters that are likely to be debated for all of human history.

Last time I checked, Americans were paying the same exceptionally high prices on world energy markets as every other country. Why doesn’t the U.S. get a better price than everyone else from its clients for this most important “foreign resource?"

As to subservient labor, there is no dispute that the U.S. generally favors relatively free trade, free-market economic policies.
Whether such policies are harmful or beneficial to the economies of other countries is a matter of considerable debate between fair minded people. As a result of such policies, the Chinese have become one of the world’s leading exporters of manufactured products. China can hardly be accused of being an American client; it is more like an emerging rival.

Are you really such a committed ideologue that you think nearly all the world's evil flows from American capitalist greed and global military ambitions? If so, Utopia merely awaits a reversal of American military and economic strength. Perhaps, China, the great respecters of human rights (sarcasm alert), will usher that golden period of history if it becomes the world’s leading economic and military power.

Bruno, from our past debates, I know that you are far more nuanced in your thinking than what you have let on. Could you do me a favor and cool down the rhetoric a little, not matter how mad Charles makes you, so that I don't feel compelled to respond. Thanks.

Mark-In-Chi-Town
 
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My family is more of German and French descent but I am a tiny bit Scotch-Irish.

And my 7 yr. old daughter, Tessa wanted me to say, "Top O' the Mornin' to Ya!!!!"
 
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Mark --

*sigh*

I was kind of hoping not to drag out the “US targets / kills journalists” argument, but here we go I guess.

To be absolutely factual, I am correct, you do realize? I will cite extracts which, I apologise, I should have cited already. While it is difficult to gather material on this, the killing of journalists and their harassment fits into a larger picture of “information dominance”, where the US military version of a story is the ONLY version that gets presented to the world. This makes sense from a military point of view, given that America is especially vulnerable to casualties and atrocities related to its operations. There seems to be a sense of understanding amongst the US military that if the ‘accidental’ killing of a journo can be excused under the very elastic ‘rules of engagement’ then they will not be punished.

Alright, so here we go:


A specific citation that is relevant to the deliberate targeting of journos is the attitude that the US WILL target them on the basis of satellite uplinks when they try to beam their stories out:

Pentagon threatens to target journalists in Iraq. (RealAudio, 49 minutes into the broadcast.) Radio One interview

”Ms. Adie also revealed that the US military are openly asking journalists what their feelings are on the war, and are using this information to block reporters from access to reporting on the conflict. These actions are "shameless" and "entirely hostile to the free spread of information," says Ms. Adie. "What actually appalls me is the difference between twelve years ago and now. I've seen a complete erosion of any kind of acknowledgment that reporters should be able to report as they witness."”


BBC reporter Kate Adie, in [the same as above] radio interview, March 9, 2003:

"I was told by a senior officer in the Pentagon, that if uplinks — that is the television signals out of Baghdad, for example — were detected by any planes electronic media ... mediums, of the military above Baghdad ... they'd be fired down on. Even if they were journalists."

Tom McGurk: "Kate, sorry to interrupt you. Just to explain for our listeners. Uplinks is where you have your own satellite telephone method of distributing information."

Kate Adie: "The telephones and the television signals."

Tom McGurk: "And they would be fired on?"

Kate Adie: "Yes. They would be 'targeted down,' said the officer."

Tom McGurk: "Extraordinary!"

Kate Adie: "Shameless! He said, 'Well ... they know this ... they've been warned.'”


Now, let’s try and take an objective view for your sake, for a second, Mark. The argument could be made that Iraqi military could also use uplinks to communicate, and thus it would be legitimate to target what MIGHT be military targets. This argument kind of collapses when one realizes that if the US military can detect the *TV* uplink, their ELINT is certainly good enough to read the CONTENT of it. Hence bombing of a news uplink must be deliberate. Not to mention the fact that no ‘embedded’ reporter ever had the misfortune to be bombed by mistake, although you can feel free to correct me here. The news reporters in the next excerpt did not have the good fortune to be embedded, and they were blown up:

From : Dead Messengers 4: How the U.S. Military Threatens Journalists
By Steve Weissman, t r u t h o u t, 08.03.2005

“On November 13, 2001 - the day before Northern Alliance forces captured Kabul - the U.S. military had bombed the BBC's broadcasting facilities there. More intriguing to the journalist in Gowing, the U.S. also destroyed the Kabul bureau of the Arab satellite channel al-Jazeera, which the Bush administration had publicly branded as an al-Qaida propaganda outlet for broadcasting video tapes from Osama bin Laden.

Gowing's question for Pentagon officials was obvious: Why did you bomb al-Jazeera?

The answer came from Rear Admiral Craig Quigley, who served at the time as deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. On the day the bombs dropped, he told an al-Jazeera journalist that it was all a "mistake" because "a weapon went awry." Later, he told Gowing a different, far scarier story, which the British journalist described at length in The Guardian on April 8, 2002.

The compound occupied by al-Jazeera "had been, and was at the time, a facility used by al-Qaida," said Quigley. The admiral made no distinction between al-Qaida and the Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan.

The "al-Qaida activity" had been "multiple purpose," Quigley added. That gave the compound "military significance," which made it a "legitimate target." ”
[…]

"Nobody in any of the coalition intelligence systems was paying any attention to where those things [broadcast uplinks] were, to the best of my knowledge," said Quigley. "I do not know why they would."

Journalists had been uplinking to al-Jazeera's satellite from the same location in Kabul for 20 months. They had marked the compound clearly and told the Pentagon they were there. And, on at least one occasion, U.S. intelligence admitted knowing the content of an Osama bin Laden tape that the journalists in Kabul had beamed back to their headquarters in Qatar. But, Quigley insisted, the military - or at least those who did the targeting - never knew the compound was al-Jazeera's.

"It was not relevant for us to know that it was a broadcast facility," said Quigley. The military was only concerned about identifying targets "directly relevant to prosecuting the war."

"So," asked Gowing, "if they [news broadcasters] are uplinking [by satellite], essentially that would not be relevant in your calculations. If they happen to be there: tough! They get hit?"

"Yeah - that is pretty much it," the admiral replied. "If there is a legitimate target next door to a broadcast facility, that would not slow us down one bit from taking out the legitimate target next door."

"Not one bit," Quigley emphasized again.

"We take as much prudence and diligence as we can in our targeting process. The coincidental co-location of news representatives is not going to be a deciding criterion as to whether or not we engage a target."
[…]

But, what if al-Jazeera did talk to terrorists? To journalists, talking with "the enemy" produces scoops. To admirals and generals, it invites capital punishment.

Gowing offered an added reason that the Pentagon might have found al-Jazeera militarily significant. Because Kabul had such unreliable telephone service, the satellite channel's bureau chief, Tasir Allouni, carried a radio handset tuned to the Taliban frequency. This allowed him to monitor Taliban activities and maintain two-way contact with officials. But, wrote Gowing, it meant he was, "to a certain extent, inside their military communications loop."

"While journalistically understandable," wrote Gowing, "this, and regular contacts with senior Taliban, could be construed as activity of 'military significance.' "
//end extract


In other words, if journalists try to talk to somebody of significance in a country the US is attacking, they will be killed. This serves the double purpose of silencing the journalist AND the target. Let us flip this around to see how it sounds: imagine that the CNN facilities in New York or Washington were hit by an Iraqi car bomb while interviewing a General Kimmit, killing a bunch of journalists and the General. When everybody expresses outrage at this, the Iraqis say that it was not relevant that it was a broadcast facility and that ‘military activity’ there rendered it a legitimate military target. Is this fair to you? Do you agree with this sentiment? Well, your leaders do, as we shall see in the Serbian incident:


From International Action: “Destruction of the Yugoslav Media”
By Carol Holland (New York)

In mid-April, NATO Air Commander, David Wilby, announced that NATO was sick of the Serb propaganda televised to every household and warned that unless Serb Television broadcast three hours of US programming in the daytime and another three hours in the evening, the TV station would be blown-up. Even pro-war TV reporters phrased the announcement as an outlandish question. The idea didn’t go over. When Belgrade offered to accept the six hours in exchange for six minutes of Yugoslav news on Western networks, NATO backtracked, saying it had only meant it would bomb transmitters also used for military communications. NATO also explicitly assured the International Federation of Journalists it would not target media workers.5 Even so, against the wishes of other NATO leaders, General Wesley Clark gave orders to bomb.6

[…]

On April 23, 1999, US/NATO bombers destroyed the Serbian state television headquarters in downtown Belgrade, Radio Television Serbia, killing 16 civilian employees and wounding 19. In addition, between March 24, 1999 and June 10, 1999, US/NATO bombs destroyed more than ten private radio and television stations, and 36 TV transmitters. Transmitters at Iriski venac, Krnjaca, Mt Cer, Bukulja, Tornik, Crni vrh, Jasetrebac, Ovcar, Grmija and others were destroyed, so that the transmitter infrastructure for the entire territory of Serbia was severely damaged. The studios and transmitter located at the Business Centre USCE which housed TV stations BK TV, Pink, Kosava and SOS Channel, and several other radio stations, were bombed two times in six days. The transmitter of the TV station Palma was bombed and destroyed on April 28, and the satellite station "Yugoslavia" in the village of Prilike near Ivanjica was severely damaged.1

[…]

Six hours later U.S. Secretary of State for International Development, Clare Short, said RTS was a "legitimate target" a "propaganda machine" and "causing untold suffering to the people of Kosovo". In England Tony Blair said the attack was "entirely justified," and went on to assert that television is part of the apparatus which keeps a political leader in power, so camera operators, make-up ladies and janitors are therefore legitimate targets.8”
//end extract

This extract goes to show conclusively that NATO, and specifically the US in this case, has not only targeted journalists, but also their broadcast equipment and facilities in an effort to suppress news that it views as unfavourable. This attitude was condoned at the highest levels of the military and government. Is it really such a surprise that similar actions have been taken in Iraq? Simply, the content of the news was in this case enough to warrant elimination, not even justified by the presence of targets of military value.

The same argument is valid for the bombing of Al Jazeera in Baghdad:

US Bombs Al-Jazeera Baghdad Office - Kills Cameraman 4-8-3

“BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Al-Jazeera television said on Tuesday its cameraman Tarek Ayoub was killed during a U.S. air raid on Baghdad which also set the Arab network's office ablaze. The Qatar-based satellite network said Ayoub, a Jordanian national, died in hospital after he was wounded in a missile strike on Jazeera's office near the Information Ministry. Another member of Jazeera's Baghdad crew, Zohair al-Iraqi, was slightly wounded. Reuters correspondent Samia Nakhoul had earlier said U.S. planes were bombing targets near the ministry.”

And

Shooting the Messenger by Jeremy Scahill
from the March 7, 2005 issue of The Nation

“Consider the events of April 8, 2003. Early that morning, Al Jazeera correspondent Tareq Ayyoub was reporting from the network's Baghdad bureau. He was providing an eyewitness account of a fierce battle between US and Iraqi forces along the banks of the Tigris. As he stood on the roof of the building, a US warplane swooped in and fired a rocket at Al Jazeera's office. Ayyoub was killed instantly. US Central Command released a statement claiming, "Coalition forces came under significant enemy fire from the building where the Al-Jazeera journalists were working." No evidence was ever produced to bolster this claim. Al Jazeera, which gave the US military its coordinates weeks before the invasion began, says it received assurances a day before Ayyoub's
death that the network would not be attacked.”


It’s really kind of funny that this should happen, given that Al Jazeera has records PROVING that it specifically supplied the US military with the coordinates of its office. Odd as well, that its correspondents have routinely been arrested and harassed by the US military, no? Given the immense precision that US bombs are reputed to have ( dropping down ventilation ducts, specific windows on a building) isn’t it a bit odd that Al Jazeera should be hit by accident while bombs were being dropped on another target? Notice Mark, that I am assuming that the US military is being honest about there actually being another target, and that that target was a legitimate one, despite copious lies being the usual modus operandi employed when it does something bad ‘accidentally on purpose’ or screws up. It’s also interesting to note that very often the US military says it was ‘taking hostile fire’ in its initial statements on an event, (like the Palestine Hotel incident) and then later backtracks if these claims are disproved. Hardly a shiny example of honesty, hmm?

The lack of respect for the lives of journalists and people who could actually report from a war zone is further exemplified by the labeling of Fallujan hospitals as “centers for enemy propaganda” where the US accused doctors of inflating civilian body counts. I bring to your attention the fact that a hospital was indeed later bombed, killing many doctors, and the main Fallujan hospital that was initially occupied by US troops (against the Geneva Convention, btw) saw them confiscate all means of communication from the doctors there.

Finally, I could also bring up the subject of Mazen Dana. I’ll let the excerpt speak for itself.


Reuters Cameraman Killed For Filming U.S. Graves: Brother - Tuesday, August 19 2003
By Awad al-Ragoub - OCCUPIED JERUSALEM –

“The brother of Reuters cameraman Mazen Dana said he was deliberately murdered for discovering mass graves of U.S. troops killed in Iraqi resistance attacks.
"The U.S. troops killed my brother in cold blood," Nazmi Dana told IslamOnline.net in exclusive statements. "The U.S. occupation troops shot dead my brother on purpose, although he was wearing his press badge, which was also emblazoned on the car he was driving," he said. He also recalled that his brother had obtained a prior permit from the U.S. occupation authorities in Iraq to film in the site. On Sunday, August 17, U.S. troops shot dead the award-winning Reuters cameraman while he was filming near the U.S.-run Abu Gharib prison in Baghdad. His last pictures show a U.S. tank driving toward him outside the prison walls, several shots ring out from the tank and the camera falls to the ground.”


Hmm. Same story. An un embedded news reporter, poking his nose into US business (whether his story is true or not is an interesting footnote) is ‘accidentally shot’ despite having specifically obtained permission to film there. Interesting to note that despite being only 50m away from a tank equipped with vision intensification equipment, in broad daylight, the soldier was unable to tell the very large difference between an RPG launcher and a camera.

Mark, I feel that these incidents, amongst MANY others of similar nature, prove that not only does the US target journalists as entire news networks and single TV stations, but also has a nasty habit of ‘accidents’ relating to individual reporters. This fits into the bigger picture of intimidating individual journalists and discouraging un-approved viewpoints through legislation or heavy ‘hints’. This also ties into the paranoia that Vietnam was lost by allowing unfettered news coverage.


On US foreign policy --

I never claimed the US is running labour camps. However, it is true that in some Latin American countries, intervention has occurred when serious land reform has been initiated, in an effort to return the land to its native owners, for example Nicaragua. The United Fruit Company in (I think) Guatemala precipitated an American invasion in order to restore power to that company. In Iran the nationalization of the oil sector caused the CIA driven coup that ousted Mossadeq and installed the Shah. In Chile the nationalization of US run copper mines (OK, and the commy leanings of Allende) caused the CIA to meddle extensively there, and in the end Pinochet became the US – approved dictator. The assassination of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic seems to have been in part due to the friction between his business interests competing with US business interests. There are many more examples.

[mark] “Are you really such a committed ideologue that you think nearly all the world's evil flows from American capitalist greed and global military ambitions?”

No, I’m not. But I’ll say one thing, the more I dig around in the US’s record in the world, the more anti-US I become.

For a while it truly seemed as though the fall of the USSR would usher in a more reasonable age, because the pressure of a third world war, and the pressure of a battle against an implacable enemy would be lifted. You see, I really did believe (in part) in the “it is justified if it is done against Communism” argument. Now, having delved more deeply in the various statements and articles that explore your country’s history, I am beginning to doubt the um, intrinsic “goodness” of the US rather heavily. I have read the neo conservative papers. I have seen the way in which the invasion of Iraq fits into their master plans. An invasion that was really unnecessary, because there was no way in hell that Iraq was a threat to the US.

For the record, I couldn’t care less about how great the US is, or how well your economy is doing or even legitimate action in defense of business interests. However, when you indulge in the brazen use of power, in the absence of a real threat, and in obvious pursuit of unhealthy goals that will ultimately affect me … then yes, my bile rises up.

From where I’m standing, it seems now that the Soviet bully has been deposed, the American is starting to flex his muscles and think that maybe he would like a piece of that action after all.

These are dangerous waters.
 
_____________________________________________________________________

Bruno –

Those shining objects in the sky – they are just weather balloons…

But seriously, there are some explanations.

“A specific citation that is relevant to the deliberate targeting of journos is the attitude that the US WILL target them on the basis of satellite uplinks when they try to beam their stories out”

Bruno, there is an absolute difference between journalists deliberately being targeted for being journalists, and journalists becoming a target due to the overlap in technologies that they share in common with the military. Fifty years ago, the military would have to level an entire city on the hope they would hit their targets. Now, with their wonderful smart weapons, they can home in on signal transmitters (wireless, satellite, etc.). Now if you are in a war zone, and you know this technology exists, it certainly behooves you shut down your transmitter. Period. Write a note to your editor and send it by carrier pidgeon. Take a video and walk it out. Do NOT transmit signals that could be mistaken for enemy communications. One of the primary tasks of the military is to suppress enemy command and control. Of course the alternative would be to level the whole city, but I think journalists, and everyone else, would suffer far more.

“Pentagon threatens to target journalists in Iraq.”

Typical MSM headline. Why read the article when the editor has already told you the story that the evil Pentagon ‘threatens’ freedom loving truth seeking journalists? A more appropriate title would be – Pentagon warns journalists not to use certain communications devices/transmitters within war zone.’

“Ms. Adie also revealed that the US military are openly asking journalists what their feelings are on the war, and are using this information to block reporters from access to reporting on the conflict.”

Give us some examples. Which journalists have been blocked from reporting? Does she mention any? Remember what happened to that Afghan leader? A couple of fanatic ‘journalists’ showed up for interview and blew him to bits? I think its reasonable to ask a few questions of a stranger in a war zone with whom you will have to bunk and may harbor ill will towards you or your buddies.

"I was told by a senior officer in the Pentagon, that if uplinks — that is the television signals out of Baghdad, for example — were detected by any planes electronic media ... mediums, of the military above Baghdad ... they'd be fired down on. Even if they were journalists."

Duh? It might be Donald Duck calling Mickey Mouse – or it might be Saddam coordinating defenses, or it might be a journalist under pressure to get out the story for his 24/7 cable news station. The journalists must realize that they need to use good ‘ole 1980’s technology in a war zone – and the editors will have to wait.

”This argument kind of collapses when one realizes that if the US military can detect the *TV* uplink, their ELINT is certainly good enough to read the CONTENT of it.”

I guess that is the crux of the issue. If the pilot flying overhead in his F-15 has a magic box that will translate digital audio/video so that he can listen/watch and identify who is transmitting (probably check it against his onboard database of all known Saddam loyalists and jihadis) to clarify whether this unidentified communication is from neutral/foe, all in the space of time it took you to read this paragraph, then maybe you are right.

“Not to mention the fact that no ‘embedded’ reporter ever had the misfortune to be bombed by mistake, although you can feel free to correct me here.”

A US soldier in Afghanistan gave his own GPS coordinates by mistake to a B-52.

The news reporters in the next excerpt did not have the good fortune to be embedded, and they were blown up:

”How the U.S. Military Threatens Journalists”

Or, “How modern dual use communications technology creates new risks”

“the day before Northern Alliance forces captured Kabul”

This is important. Kabul is in the hands of the enemy, they are losing, and they are no doubt frantically communicating with their disintegrating forces. US pilots probably have much greater discretion as to ROE over enemy territory, and command and control targets are a high priority. Now today in Kabul or Baghdad, I’m sure there isn’t much j-damning of cell phone users.

“The compound occupied by al-Jazeera "had been, and was at the time, a facility used by al-Qaida," said Quigley. The admiral made no distinction between al-Qaida and the Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan.”

Al Jazeera needs a more savvy real estate agent. Lesson: Do not share office space with terrorist organizations who are at war with the US.

"Yeah - that is pretty much it," the admiral replied. "If there is a legitimate target next door to a broadcast facility, that would not slow us down one bit from taking out the legitimate target next door."

Please clarify. Was it the same facility that they shared? Was it an adjacent facility that was damaged during attack on target facility? Did the bomb miss the target facility and hit the adjacent facility?

”But, what if al-Jazeera did talk to terrorists? To journalists, talking with "the enemy" produces scoops. To admirals and generals, it invites capital punishment.”

Better to invite terrorist contacts out to country for picnic/scoop than co-locate with them in the capital of the country that is in the middle of a shooting war.

”But, wrote Gowing, it meant he was, "to a certain extent, inside their military communications loop." … While journalistically understandable," wrote Gowing, "this, and regular contacts with senior Taliban, could be construed as activity of 'military significance.' "

Duh? Oh wait – let’s stop the war and take all command and control targets off the board and risk lives so that some dumb ass journalist can chat with the enemy leadership at HIS convenience. The US military honestly and truly couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the journalist. It is not about the journalist. He stupidly put himself in the ‘wrong place at the wrong time.’


”In other words, if journalists try to talk to somebody of significance in a country the US is attacking, they will be killed.”

No. Stop the hyperbole. If a journalist decides to hang out with a person who is a probable high value target in the middle of a war zone, he is taking a significant risk. This is the banal truth. Do not exaggerate or try to make it sound like something special.

“Let us flip this around to see how it sounds: imagine that the CNN facilities in New York or Washington were hit by an Iraqi car bomb while interviewing a General Kimmit, killing a bunch of journalists and the General… Is this fair to you?”

A General is a military target. But your biggest misunderstanding is that the terrorists care far less than the evil US military about what you think may or may not be appropriate methods of conducting war.

From International Action: “Destruction of the Yugoslav Media”
By Carol Holland (New York)

”In mid-April, NATO Air Commander, David Wilby, announced that NATO was sick of the Serb propaganda televised to every household and warned that … the TV station would be blown-up.”

Let’s define ‘journalist.’ Is it someone who independently seeks out and reports the truth, bla, bla, bla? Is it someone who works for state controlled media of a murderous totalitarian kleptocracy actively engaged in genocide and using the power of the media to disguise its activities? Maybe there is no difference. Maybe it’s a club and once you are in – you are in for good. And no matter what you do – you can never be targeted.

“This extract goes to show conclusively that NATO, and specifically the US in this case, has not only targeted journalists, but also their broadcast equipment and facilities in an effort to suppress news that it views as unfavourable.”

The target was command and control broadcast equipment – not the journalists and janitors. You got it backwards again. You deliberately put ‘journalists’ in the first place to emphasize them as the primary targets when that is not true.

The same argument is valid for the bombing of Al Jazeera in Baghdad:

US Bombs Al-Jazeera Baghdad Office - Kills Cameraman 4-8-3

Was ‘al jazeera’ deliberately targeted? Was it engaged in any activity which might be considered of military significance? Or was it simply like our previous F-15 situation where the pilot locked on to signal while flying over the enemy controlled capital at 800 mph and in his 30 second targeting window decided to let one loose? You say it was nearby the ministry of information? Hmmmm. I wonder who their real estate agent is?

”He was providing an eyewitness account of a fierce battle between US and Iraqi forces along the banks of the Tigris. As he stood on the roof of the building, a US warplane swooped in and fired a rocket at Al Jazeera's office.”

So this guy is in a strategic observation point in direct line of sight of US soldiers during a firefight and the marine pilot providing tactical ground support sees him (again – 500 mph – a small blip on a small building) and has a few seconds to think. What’s he thinking? What is his training telling him? Is this a fedayeen soldier providing spotting intel to an Iraqi mortar battery? Or, after leafing through his cockpit map of local al jazeera outlets, he thinks, ah – this is a journalist! My guys are getting shot up down there but screw the mission and screw them – here is a ‘journalist’ to shoot. Yeeee haaaaaw…

“Al Jazeera, which gave the US military its coordinates weeks before the invasion began, says it received assurances a day before Ayyoub's
death that the network would not be attacked.”

None of this sounds silly to you? Central command probably did not ‘attack’ al jazeera. It was a pilot providing tactical cover to US soldiers in a firefight.

“It’s really kind of funny that this should happen, given that Al Jazeera has records PROVING that it specifically supplied the US military with the coordinates of its office.”

I’m just sooo sure that if ever fedayeen walked into the office to set up observation point that the local al jazeera journalists would have fought to the death to defend the neutral sanctity of the facility.

“It’s also interesting to note that very often the US military says it was ‘taking hostile fire’ in its initial statements on an event, (like the Palestine Hotel incident) and then later backtracks if these claims are disproved. Hardly a shiny example of honesty, hmm?”

Try to get past all of the flashy words and think about the context.

”The lack of respect for the lives of journalists and people who could actually report from a war zone is further exemplified by the labeling of Fallujan hospitals as “centers for enemy propaganda” where the US accused doctors of inflating civilian body counts. I bring to your attention the fact that a hospital was indeed later bombed, killing many doctors, and the main Fallujan hospital that was initially occupied by US troops (against the Geneva Convention, btw) saw them confiscate all means of communication from the doctors there.”

Why didn’t we just bomb all the hospitals and schools? I’m sure the chief aim of the US military is to randomly kill civilians, doctors, and teachers. If that’s the goal, why not just do it? Its not as if we couldn’t – right?

”Finally, I could also bring up the subject of Mazen Dana. I’ll let the excerpt speak for itself.”

Save the most absurd for last. Kind of like the Fallujans thinking US soldiers in sun glasses could see through their womens’ dresses. So now we are after reuters reporters too?
 
_____________________________________________________________________

OK, there’s something not so hot with the comments, and I can’t see who replied to my post but I’ll answer anyway.

Let us look at a big picture view here.

The US military clearly has a history of silencing journalists and news networks that it does not like. The FACTS are that it wiped out Serbia’s entire news and TV system, killing many civilians in the process. Alright, this we know.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, despite news agencies going out of their way to provide coordinates to the US military, they are repeatedly hit. Conclusions? Either it was deliberate, like in Serbia, or the US military deliberately did not pass this information to the sharp edge in the field. Either way, they are setting up the stage for journalists to be killed.

Your defense of the “uplink” confusion is frankly pathetic. First of all, US ELINT is quite capable of reading the content of signals and passing the relevant information to strike aircraft. To the best of my knowledge strike aircraft are directed to targets by fire control, and ought not engage targets ad hoc unless they are very obviously ‘enemy’. Secondly, assuming that you are correct and they can’t distinguish between the various signals that still does not explain why embedded journalists are NEVER hit. How does the pilot distinguish between an embedded news link and Al Jazeera? According to you, he doesn’t. Funny that with the much greater numbers of embedded journos running around, in positions not specifically revealed to US command, not one has been whacked yet.

“A US soldier in Afghanistan gave his own GPS coordinates by mistake to a B-52.”

… is irrelevant to the argument, given it was a self-facilitated accident. If he had been uplinking news on his own and the B52 dropped a load on him, well, that’s different.

Al Jazeera in Afghanistan was the scene of ‘Al Qaeda activity’ yes, in that they WERE INTERVIEWING TALIBAN AND AQ THERE. If you are making the case that it is acceptable to hit a news network when it is interviewing somebody you don’t like, that you are fighting, then I assume that by extension CNN and Fox in the US are legitimate targets if they happen to have a US official or military officer being interviewed. Do you agree with me here? I’d really like to have your opinion on this.

“The US military honestly and truly couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the journalist. It is not about the journalist. He stupidly put himself in the ‘wrong place at the wrong time.’”

Or is THIS your opinion? You realize the implications, right?

“Let’s define ‘journalist.’ […] Is it someone who works for state controlled media of a murderous totalitarian kleptocracy actively engaged in genocide and using the power of the media to disguise its activities?”

Oh, right.

That clears things up. If I report news for what some call a “murderous totalitarian kleptocracy actively engaged in genocide” then I am a legitimate target. ESPECIALLY if my news contradicts or challenges the perceptions that the opponents of the ‘kleptocracy’ would like us to believe. So, if I see the US as a megalomaniac, child-killing, hypocritical super power bent on global domination, then that means I am allowed to knock off Christianne Amanpour or Wolf Blitzer because they are peddlers of propaganda. Hey, no problem, I can live with that. As long as the same standards apply to all.

““This extract goes to show conclusively that NATO, and specifically the US in this case, has not only targeted journalists, but also their broadcast equipment and facilities in an effort to suppress news that it views as unfavourable.”

The target was command and control broadcast equipment – not the journalists and janitors. You got it backwards again. You deliberately put ‘journalists’ in the first place to emphasize them as the primary targets when that is not true.”

Hmm. This is Charles, for sure. He is engaging in his word little games again, trying to convince himself that firing cruise missiles into a 24 hour newsroom is not targeting journalists. Yes, Charles, the US wasn’t targeting them, they just lobbed a few tons of explosives into their studios – and – those pesky Serbs went and got themselves killed on purpose - JUST TO MAKE YOU LOOK BAD !

Man!

Who would’ve thought journalists might have been killed in the process !? (The same as that idiot Italian Calipari purposefully damaged perfectly good US bullets by driving in front of them!).

Charles is again trying to make some sort of semantic “point” by focusing on the HUGE DIFFERENCE between ‘journalists’ being killed individually and journalists killed as part of an effort to eliminate news that is not to the liking of the US.

I’m sure that one of those killed, like Tarek Ayoub, is much relieved to know that HE, Tarek Ayoub, was not PERSONALLY targeted by a US aircraft with HIS name scrawled on the rocket it carried, but was rather an incidental victim of an effort to wipe out the Al Jazeera TV station as well as any of those working in it’s Baghdad office at the time.

The Fallujan example of the bombed hospital is relevant because it was hit TO SUPPRESS news exiting Fallujah about the reality of the situation. THAT is why it was hit. (And, in the spirit of being nice to Mark, probably because it also would have been used to treat resistance casualties in the battle. That’s still a war crime, btw.)

This violence fits into a larger pattern of the US either preventing journalists from doing their work by censoring them / intimidating them by PROXY like this:

Iraqi Gov't Warns Media About Coverage
Thu Nov 11, Middle East - AP

The Iraqi government warned news organizations Thursday to distinguish between insurgents and ordinary civilians in coverage of the fighting in Fallujah and to promote the leadership's position or face unspecified action.
[...]
"You must be precise and objective in handling news and information," the statement said. It also told news organizations to tell their correspondents "to be credible and precise" and not to "add patriotic descriptions to groups of killers and criminals." Finally, the commission told news organizations to provide space to explain "the government position, expressing the ambition of most of the Iraqi people" and underscore that "these military operations did not come about until all peaceful means were attempted" to avoid violence. It said that failure to follow the instructions will require authorities to "take all necessary measures to safeguard the supreme interest of the homeland." The statement did not provide further details. "


Or threatening them DIRECTLY like this:


Administration wants upbeat reports, will 'curtail' bad news about Iraq.
posted September 30, 2004, by Tom Regan | csmonitor.com

In one sign that the administration and the military are working harder to keep a lid on negative stories, Salon reports that an Army Reserve staff sargent from Texas, with 20 years experience who is now serving in Iraq, may face up to 20 years in prison for "disloyalty and insubordination."The reason? He wrote an article criticizing the occupation of Iraq on an anti-war website, LewRockwell.com. The article contained no classified information. In his commentary, Sgt. Al Lorentz offered a "bleak assessment" of the situation.”


Or harassing / obstructing / censoring them like this:

News about Iraq goes through filters
Seattle Post - February 17, 2005 - By DAHR JAMAIL

“I've personally witnessed photographers in Baghdad who have had their cameras either confiscated or smashed by soldiers, who were, of course, acting on orders from their superiors. And no, the journalists weren't trying to photograph something that would jeopardize the security of the soldiers. Even Christiane Amanpour, CNN's top war correspondent, announced on national television that her own network was censuring her journalism.”


Or detaining them like this:


US forces holding Fallujah correspondent: Arabic TV channel
Tue Nov 16 Mideast - AFP

"Fallujah resident Abdel Kader Al-Saadi was picked up on Thursday in the battle-torn city where US troops have been battling Iraqi insurgents, the station said in a statement late Tuesday. The US army command had informed the mainly Saudi-financed channel that the correspondent "has been arrested with a large number of residents" and would be freed "as soon as possible". "Al-Arabiya deplores the detention, for the fifth day running, of its correspondent," and "calls on all human rights organisation to guarantee his safety," the TV station said in its statement. "


Or beating them up like this:


Japanese reporters in Iraq say U.S. troops roughed them up
Monday, July 28, 2003 - BAGHDAD

“Japan Press reporter Kazutaka Sato, 47, was put in a hold, thrown to the ground and kicked, sustaining injuries to his face and hands, according to Mika Yamamoto, 36, a Japan Press reporter who was with Sato at the time of the incident. She said the two had been in the Mansur district of Baghdad filming the damage caused to civilians by the U.S. military when they had their cameras confiscated. After being thrown to the ground and assaulted by several U.S. soldiers, Sato had his hands tied and was detained for about one hour. The soldiers did not explain why photography was forbidden in the area. "By obstructing our legitimate news gathering activities, I suppose they had something to hide from us, such as bodies of civilians," Yamamoto said. Sato and Yamamoto had been in Iraq since July 19 doing coverage for Nippon Television Network Corp. (Kyodo News)”


Or beating them up AND molesting them like this:


Reuters staff abused by U.S. troops in Iraq
Reuters, 05.18.04 - By Andrew Marshall

“U.S. forces beat three Iraqis working for Reuters and subjected them to sexual and religious taunts and humiliation during their detention last January in a military camp [Volturno] near Falluja, the three said on Tuesday. The three first told Reuters of the ordeal after their release but only decided to make it public when the U.S. military said there was no evidence they had been abused, and following the exposure of similar mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. Two of the three said they had been forced to insert a finger into their anus and then lick it, and were forced to put shoes in their mouths, particularly humiliating in Arab culture. All three said they were forced to make demeaning gestures as soldiers laughed, taunted them and took photographs. They said they did not want to give details publicly earlier because of the degrading nature of the abuse.”

[My note: US investigations cleared troops of all abuse, despite the fact that they had *admitted* subjecting the three to ‘stress techniques’, cavity searches and did not even bother interviewing them in person. Another ‘hoohah’ for the US military justice system. I mean, where else are cavity searches SOP?]


Or ‘Accidentally’ killing them like this:


Reuters disputes US version of cameraman's death
Dominic Timms - Tuesday November 2, 2004

"News agency Reuters today demanded a full investigation into the shooting of one of its cameramen in Iraq, after rejecting the US military's explanation of the incident. The Reuters global managing editor, David Schlesinger, dismissed American claims that Dhia Najim was killed yesterday during a gunfight between marines and insurgents in the city of Ramadi. Mr Schlesinger said video footage taken just before Mr Najim died showed that the fighting in Ramadi, which the cameraman had been filming earlier in the day, HAD SUBSIDED. [my emphasis] "We reject the clear implication in the marines' statement that Dhia was part of an insurgent group," he said. "This claim is not supported by the available evidence. I strongly urge the US military to conduct a proper investigation into this tragic event." In their first comment on the incident, US military officials today insisted Mr Najim was killed during a gunfight between US marines and Iraqi insurgents. "Marines from the 1st Marine Division of the 1 Marine Expeditionary Force engaged several insurgents in a brief small arms firefight that killed an individual who was carrying a video camera earlier Monday morning," a statement from the army said."

[My note: Yes, personally I can fully understand that after the shooting has stopped, a man poncing around with a video camera is a legitimate target for a bullet to the head. Clearly he is up to no good. That was sarcasm, btw.]


Or try to (quite possibly) assassinate them like this:


BBC - Hostage's shooting 'no accident'
Sunday, 6 March, 2005,

[...]
Earlier, she [Sgrena] suggested US troops might have deliberately tried to kill her. An Italian secret service agent, Nicola Calipari, who negotiated Ms Sgrena's release, died as he shielded Ms Sgrena from the shots.
[...]
"It can't be just said that it was just an accident. We can't accept this, it is not possible." She said Italian officials knew her car was on the airport road and she assumed they had informed the Americans.
[...]
"You have to have the responsibility to pass immediately any information and the information was given to the Italians that we were on the road so I think that they have given the information to tell the Americans that we were on the road." Earlier, in another interview with Sky Italia TV, she said it was possible the soldiers had targeted her because Washington opposed the policy of negotiating with kidnappers. "Everyone knows that the Americans do not like negotiations to free hostages, and because of this I don't see why I should exclude the possibility of me having been the target," she said. And writing in her left-wing Il Manifesto newspaper, she said upon her release her kidnappers warned her to be careful 'because there are Americans who don't want you to go back'."

[That's odd. Even her Iraqi captors knew she was going to be blasted. I guess they have learned about US methods first hand, huh?]

Really, is there a reason to go on? Not only are your counterarguments full of holes, but you are very obviously ignorant of the wider context that this media clampdown has taken place in.

The military and Administration has engaged in systematic media control, be it through explicit measures like banning Al Jazeera from reporting in Iraq and closing down newspapers … or through dark hints that the news agencies are somehow ‘collaborating’ with the ‘terrorists’ and hence legitimate targets … or through fostering a culture of : *nudge*nudge*wink*wink* “unilaterals [the military’s pet name for independent journos] are BAD and you can zap ‘em if you can”.

This current resonance fits in perfectly with the former violent action taken to shut down Serbian news, only now there seem to be a HELL of a lot of ‘unfortunate accidents’. Who can reasonably acquit the perpetrators of all malice and ill intent? Which person can honestly stand up and say that the US never had ANY intent to clamp forcefully down on independent news and journalists?

You are a sad case, Charles.
 
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@ Bruno

"You are a sad case, Charles."

Sad because I'm too stupid to believe in socialist propaganda? Or because my world view can not be reduced to absurd levels of moral relativism?

"The US military clearly has a history of silencing journalists and news networks that it does not like."

You make it sound almost capricious. Nice try. I'm sure you have lots of people here just gobbling it up!

"In Iraq and Afghanistan, despite news agencies going out of their way to provide coordinates to the US military, they are repeatedly hit."

You have already been debunked - why repeat yourself? The Serbian communications facilities were warned in advance, the al jazeera facilities shared office space with terrorists, and any individual casualties can be understood in the context of a journalist miscalculating the inherent risk of reporting in an active combat zone, combined with the fog of war.

"Your defense of the “uplink” confusion is frankly pathetic. First of all, US ELINT is quite capable of reading the content of signals and passing the relevant information to strike aircraft."

Pathetic? Really? Ouch! Please give me a 'timeline' of how such a target assesment might take place over an active battlefield.

"assuming that you are correct and they can’t distinguish between the various signals that still does not explain why embedded journalists are NEVER hit."

Think Bruno. Embedded journalists are with the US military. The units of the US military coordinate their movements to try (not always successfully) to avoid friendly fire. The ROE for pilots over friendly territory is quite different from a 'weapons free' ROE over enemy territory. Depending upon proximity of friendly forces, the ROE constrict or expand. Of the few taped targeting confirmation sequences that I have seen from Iraq/Afghanistan, even over enemy territory the pilot try to check, in what little time he has, the validity of his target. I recall the GWI friendly fire incident where a US apache pilot destroyed two APC's. He took a couple of minutes. Hovering. Checking with base. Confirming target. Reconfirming authorization to shoot. Asking - 'Are you absolutely sure...' and getting confirmation to engage. He fires his weapons. They strike the APC's. And a few seconds later he is ordered to cease fire - blue on blue. Too late. Fog of war.

"I assume that by extension CNN and Fox in the US are legitimate targets if they happen to have a US official or military officer being interviewed. Do you agree with me here? I’d really like to have your opinion on this."

I do not doubt for one nanosecond that past, current, future US enemies would attack any target that they wanted to. Considering the tactics of our current enemies, they seem less interested in military targets than in defenseless civilians.

The journalists can report about the war, but they shouldn't be in it. If they are in it - if they try to actively participate in the process during active combat operations - they are taking a big risk that they should understand. If a journalist in the mountains of Afhganistan is giving a live interview to OBL, and a coalition jet happens to fly by and target OBL, that journalist might get hurt. The fact that he gets hurt has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he was targeted as a journalist.

"That clears things up. If I report news for what some call a “murderous totalitarian kleptocracy actively engaged in genocide” then I am a legitimate target."

You are not the target, but the communications facilities are. Were the Serbian reporters part of the 'independent and free media?' Are you defending anyone involved in the collection, compilation, and presentation of multimedia content, and defining them as journalists? Or are the guarantees afforded to a responsible 'free press' limited to a responsible, free, and independent press corps?

"I see the US as a megalomaniac, child-killing, hypocritical super power bent on global domination"

That is obvious.

"an effort to eliminate news that is not to the liking of the US."

News? I love how you can take a generic word that is broadly used and divorce it entirely from the actual meaning it has in the context of the argument.

"but was rather an incidental victim of an effort to wipe out the Al Jazeera TV station."

Is this the fellow who was on the roof 'spotting' for fedayeen during a firefight? The pilot should have really parked his plane, and confronted him to get a positive ID.

"The Iraqi government warned news organizations Thursday to distinguish between insurgents and ordinary civilians"

And? Does failing to distinguish present a more accurate picture? Presenting more facts in more detail seems to make for more accurate news.

"You must be precise and objective in handling news and information,"

Sounds like someone is really being oppressed here.

"Or try to (quite possibly) assassinate them like this:"

Assassinate? Why promulgate such preposterous allegations?

BBC - Hostage's shooting 'no accident'

Now that's a catchy headline!

"Earlier, she [Sgrena] suggested US troops might have deliberately tried to kill her."

Well it must be true if she suggested it.

"It can't be just said that it was just an accident. We can't accept this, it is not possible."

It was an accident, we don't care if you accept it or not (you still haven't accepted the bankruptcy of communism), and its not only possible, its happened. New headline: "Communist featherweight cannot accept reality of tragic accident that she is ultimately responsbily for"

"She said Italian officials knew her car was on the airport road and she assumed they had informed the Americans."

That's incontestable truth of something - but I'm not sure even she knows what. BTW - which version of her story was this taken from?

This woman is so full of BS.

Really, is there a reason to go on?

No - we are done here. Good work.

"Not only are your counterarguments full of holes, but you are very obviously ignorant of the wider context that this media clampdown has taken place in."

Obviously. Please provide another quote from Sgrena to bolster your quote. She is quite an authority.

"Which person can honestly stand up and say that the US never had ANY intent to clamp forcefully down on independent news and journalists?"

I'm sitting but I will nod my head and concur. They were either not independent, not journalists, or not deliberately targeted.

This next statement is more true than anything you have ever said:

"Remember, it is the Soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the Soldier, not the poet, Who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the Soldier Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag, and Whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag."
 
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This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
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Charles, different topic.

As an American do you think that
America is less globally sensitive than other countries of the world?

I do and am trying to figure out the reason. I just began thinking that it could be because we are not surrounded on all sides by countries very differnt from us with the exception of Mexico. So we have not had to get along and share others languages and cultures too much. (Canada is much like us, so I don't count it).

But the thing I can't figure is that WITHIN the U.S. we have had to be sensitive to all of the different immigrants and their nationalities so why again, aren't we as world- conscious as other countries like England, for example?

Therefore I wonder if it has to be a setup like Europe or the other continents where you have a united nations of countries AROUND you but not WITHIN you in order to understand and be sensitive to the world at large. Does this make sense?

I think it does as I type this, because it just occurred to me that the people within our borders all try to ameliorate to the majority.The melting pot theory.

Yet when it comes to ie. Europe each country has many countries surrounding it and noone has to give up their integrity as much. They are all forced to get along population-wise AND border-wise which is better for learning how to be peace keepers.

I think the big 'ole U.S.'s problem is we are like a big, isolated lonely bear who gets cranky and paws and attacks
things it doesn't understand. You know isolated animals WILL preemptively attack because their perspective has been distorted from being alone too long. When I think of this i am beginning to feel kind of sad!!

I wonder what you non-Americans think of this.
 
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BTW, I am not taking sides on the targeting or not of journalists by the U.S., but I do like your last quote.
 
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Hi Ohio,

I think you are right about US being more isolated in terms of proximity to other countries, and all that the isolation entails in terms of understanding other cultures/languages. From the heart of Europe, you are only a day's drive away from most every other country! In some cases, just a few hours or even minutes!

But I don't agree at all with the idea that somehow this proximity based multiculturalism has anything to do with increased moral sensitivities. I don't think that it was moral sensitivities that stopped many European countries from helping to overthrow a brutal dictator in Iraq. I don't think it is moral sensitivity that stops countries from helping a new democratic Iraq establish itself. I don't think it is morality that keeps the EU from stopping genocide in Sudan, etc.

There is no reason why brutal dictatorships, genocide, and political oppression need to exist any longer. Civilized countries are perfectly capable of stopping these problems, and ousting forfeit regimes. All it would take is a united front and a concerted military effort on a few occasions - and the rest of the problems would fix themselves without intervention. A dictator would know acting improperly to his people or his neighbors would be the same as stepping off a cliff. It would be absolutely clear. There would be no hypothetical 'what if's' - no ambiguity. You break the rules, you are finished. Period.

Right now dictators and thugs can do what they want because they know that no one will stop them.

The average European is not so culturally savvy as some might have you believe. In any case, their opposition to overthrowing Saddam, and in proactively participating in a program to stop nationalistic tyrants and ethnic/religious thuggery is motivated more by moral inertia, calculations of personal convenience, and anti-american sentiment, than by anything related to morality.

I don't believe that your example of the US as a cranky bear who has been alone too long is quite accurate. The US has actively borne the responsibility of protecting the free world for much of the last 60-70 years. Canada has become so reliant on the US for defense that it hardly has a military left at all. It is Europe that is groggy and unsure of itself as it awakens from its hibernation.

Europe had almost zero capability to help the suffering from the asian tsunami. Whatever help they sent to alleviate the real suffering of people in the weeks after the tragedy was just a drop in the bucket and for thousands of people who died after the fact from exposure - too late. Whatever did arrive was most likely dependent upon US logistical support (or some hastily procured ad hoc Russian rentals).

And yet you remember the coverage and the headlines: US stingy, Bush and US warmongers send aircraft carrier (sarcasm) to help tsunami victims, etc. Bush's aircraft carrier produced 900,000 gallons of fresh water per day, his evil helicopters shipped thousands of tons of supplies to remote villages, his murderous marines and military doctors worked greuling shifts around the clock to physically distribute the aid and keep people alive. In addition to the US, the Aussies were also 'johnny on the spot' when it came to helping tsunami victims. Funny how this other isolated nation actually did something to help - and is also a key partner in Iraq...

"BTW, I am not taking sides on the targeting or not of journalists by the U.S., but I do like your last quote."

Really? You have no opinion? People here are accusing US soldiers of deliberately murdering journalists. Do you believe it might be true? Do you know any soldiers? Can you imagine them taking part in some scheme to murder people?

I don't know who came up with that quote. I've seeen it before and yesterday an old friend included it in an email.
 
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O.K. maybe we are not so much like the cranky bear, but I believe we are like the bear coming out of a hibernation, now that we are realizing we need to wake up and communicate with those who are a world away from us.

Again, maybe we will slowly come out of this (I pray) but we had isolated ourselves. Just 5 years or so ago, I knew nothing about Arabs or Muslims, Charles. I did not know that Christians, Muslims and Jews all believed in one God or that we have many of the same prophets. We are the same family of religions, so to speak. Thus if we had learned more about the Muslim/Arab world maybe 9-11 would not have happened.

I absolutely believe that we are one of the most generous countries around, but we need to realize that money alone does not cure the worlds ills. The Arab/Muslim world wants to know that they have our ear on topics like the Palestinians not having a home. They have wanted to believe that we are not just out for our own self-interest in business relations. I read where the Q'uran says that one of the greatest things you can be is an honest businessman. How many of these do we have in America-Halliburton? Enron? Worldcom-or whatever it is called? And yet our businesses of course affect how other countries look at us.

They are re-opening a lawsuit against McDonalds in England because there is this new willingness to stand up against America and her trying to dictate how business is run internationally.

It really scares me that in my mind I can remember as a child being so proud of America and thinking you know, we were the land of milk and honey and the do-gooders for anyone who just asked for help. But we became an entity that gave itself the right to determine what other countries need
the old father- knows- best syndrome.

George Washington once said: "unity at home, isolation abroad."

Today we could take this to mean unity at home and stay out of other countries affairs unless they ask for our help.

I don't believe the Administration is evil, but that they are slow to learn from their mistakes. I do believe that Bush has a heart in there somewhere but that he constantly surrounds himself with people that are in line with his ideals. I like the presidents who were willing to listen to an opposing viewpoint once in awhile.
George Washington I believe eventually saw his error in the bad treatment of the American Indians and I do believe he was coming over to realizing the hypocrisy of a free nation that still enslaved blacks.

I hope to email w/you soon.
 
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Oh and as for the journalist issue, I can't argue to this because I don't have the resources you and Bruno have.
 
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You don't have to answer, Charles, and I don't know why exactly I want to know, but are you a Christian?


Abu Khaleel, I like your idea of the topic of religion.
 
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Some people here assume I am some right wing christian fundamentalist fanatic.

I was raised presby as a child, but I am not actively religious. I do NOT believe in any religious dogma.
 
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Your roots are showing. Why did you stop believing?
 
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I hope you didn't take that wrong.

I meant that your Presbyterian roots are showing.
 
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O.k., Charles, that kind of just slipped out.

why do you think people think you are a right-wing Christian fundamentalist? I don't see you as such.
 
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On these sites people quickly pigeon hole you. Since I support the President in general, I automatically become a right wing christian fundamentalist red state ignorant fool, etc., etc.
 
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It's weird because I feel at home on this site-(the first of it's type I've been to). But in the two Ohio towns I've lived in, the first being a village of under 5,000 people, I have never met but maybe one person who feels like I do.I don't even know too many Democrats.

Yet we were so divided in this state at elections. Where are all the Democrats, I say? I forget, was New Hampshire a red or blue state? I believe blue, correct? Maybe we should switch states??
 
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Charles --

A bit tattered at the edges there?

Methinks that, given your distortions of my arguments and obvious inability to reply to the greater context of my post is telling, no? There are furthermore several obvious logical gaps which you are not quite ‘getting’.

For example, with the “uplink” saga – you have responded with saying that US forces make their positions clear, hence they are not hit. However, that is PRECISELY what Al Jazeera repeatedly did, and they were hit every time.

Funny how your logic only works one way.

Funny also how every person within a two mile radius of a firefight that happens to stand on a roof is a Fedayeen spotter and hence a legitimate target … in your ROE, of course. (And, if that were the USAF’s ROE, then that would just illustrate that they were not considerate of civilian lives at all.)

Funny that it was clear that Al Jazeera in Afghanistan clearly DID NOT ‘share office space’ in any meaningful sense with AQ other than by interviewing them. Now, if Mullah Omar or bin Laden had been present in the studios at the time they were hit, a case could be made that in some sense the strike was legitimate. They were not. Neither was any other AQ / Taliban member.

Another telling distortion is in the misreading of my statements concerning the US’s SYSTEMATIC suppression on news. I never suggested it was “capricious” at all. Your suggestion that it was, either means that you are unable to grasp the VERY clear argument laid out for you, or don’t understand the meaning of the word. Would you be offended if I said that you “seem to lack grounding in even elementary linguistic skills and usage.” ?

However, some of your other comments reveal your stance not to mention your dodgy logic rather clearly.

For example, when I point out the very deliberate destruction of Serbian media, you say “The Serbian communications facilities were warned in advance …” and imply that they brought it upon themselves. Does advance warning then excuse later atrocities? Is that really the argument that you are making? Does the fact that the people in New York knew that the Twin Towers were an Al Qaeda target make it “their fault” for being incinerated? Does the fact that bin Laden warned the US repeatedly about leaving Saudi Arabia etc. then excuse the attacks by AQ on the US? I seriously suggest that you review your thinking processes, or perhaps take up a class in Formal Logic 101.

However, the reason that you don’t see it as a flagrant assault on the freedom of the media is that fundamentally you feel that attacks on the media are justified on the basis on WHAT THEIR CONTENT IS.

Hence this statement:

[charles] “Were the Serbian reporters part of the 'independent and free media?' Are you defending anyone involved in the collection, compilation, and presentation of multimedia content, and defining them as journalists? Or are the guarantees afforded to a responsible 'free press' limited to a responsible, free, and independent press corps?”

The Serbian media was quite legitimate. Their fault was that they happened on several occasions to point out blatant lies on the part of the US / NATO, and hence no longer deserved the lable of “responsible, free and independent”.

So, in your twisted mind at least, they were candidates for extermination – which of course explains why you deliberately distorted my statement of : “So, if I see the US as a megalomaniac, child-killing, hypocritical super power bent on global domination, then that means I am allowed to knock off Christianne Amanpour or Wolf Blitzer because they are peddlers of propaganda.” - to : “I see the US as a megalomaniac, child-killing, hypocritical super power bent on global domination” – without addressing the actual argument that I used the statement in, and while conveniently ignoring the context it was used in. That’s just weak.

You ignored the argument because you realize that logically speaking you are on shaky ground.

That in fact in your opinion the legitimacy of a news agency or journalist as target depends upon **YOUR** evaluation of whether they are “free and independent”. Naturally this boils down to “might is right”, ever a winning formula in serious debate. And, your use of my quote out of its context of an IF …THEN statement only goes to show your intellectual dishonesty and scoring of cheap points.

Whereas I feel that countries purporting to spread freedom, democracy and brotherly love ought to reflect those ideals, and that their own press statements should by extension trump those of evil lying infidels simply through the sheer power of the TRUTH that they report … you appear to have serious doubts on this. You appear to support the suppression of “the enemy” with tactics that YOU accuse THEM of. Which of course contradicts the whole concept of “freedom and democracy” and all that jazz.

Kinda hard to make an argument when your fundamental premises are fatally flawed, ain’t it, Charles?

Another example of evading the question:

“[me] I assume that by extension CNN and Fox in the US are legitimate targets if they happen to have a US official or military officer being interviewed. Do you agree with me here? I’d really like to have your opinion on this."

[charles] I do not doubt for one nanosecond that past, current, future US enemies would attack any target that they wanted to. Considering the tactics of our current enemies, they seem less interested in military targets than in defenseless civilians.”

Um, as all followers of this debate are aware, (except Charles, of course) I asked YOU for YOUR opinion on this moral dilemma. (ie- are CNN & Fox then legitimate targets?) Not for your opinion of what “enemies” of the US might or might not do. However, you cannot pass up an opportunity to spin a little, so …

Finally, to end the whole story off you ignore the salient points of the Sgrena story: that (1) the US authorities knew of the Italian operation well in advance, and that (2) the Iraqi hostage takers warned Sgrena in advance that she would be targeted. In fact, I read a report here in SA that made front page news about how the Iraqis said that if she was attacked while they were escorting her, they would fight to protect her.

Now, that is pretty strong circumstantial evidence. And if one looks at it in the context of the previous US killing and harassment of ‘unilateral’ journalists, it gets even fishier.

Now, naturally, it COULD have been a culmination of errors that led to the attack. Or it COULD have been an “accident” arranged to warn others of the consequences of either negotiating with the ‘enemy’ or reporting independently. The one constant in the story is that the US military disclaims all responsibility for culpability and somehow tries to portray the accident as being the victim’s fault. Something I see you share, btw. This:

Italy Foreign Minister Disputes U.S. Claim
By ALESSANDRA RIZZO, Associated Press Writer
“Several Rome newspapers said a lack of communication between Italian intelligence and U.S. forces may have led to the gunfire. La Repubblica daily, citing unidentified U.S. military sources, said Italian officials did not send notice of Sgrena's liberation or of the type of vehicle she was being carried in.
But Fini [ Italian Foreign Minister ] said that Calipari, an experienced officer who had negotiated the release of other hostages in Iraq in the past, "made all the necessary contacts with the U.S. authorities," both with those in charge of airport security and with the forces patrolling areas next to the airport. “
… is not a quote from Sgrena, and bolsters the claim that the US Authorities knew of the mission. Now, feel free to demean the credibility of Italy’s foreign Minister.

And to finish it off, your ‘soldier’ quote was really touching.

These *volunteer* soldiers who give their lives for your country really ought to have a bigger say in the affairs of the US. I mean, given their sacrifices OVERSEAS in the DEFENCE (notice the contradiction?) of your country, maybe they ought to be given a special status so that they are the equal, and then a little bit more, of everybody else.

Now that would fit the US’s current stereotype rather well, I think.

Dismissed, ‘soldier’.
 
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Bruno,

since when do soldiers get "a bigger say" in the matters of their countries? And what do you say to those soldiers who were already enlisted before Bush made a wrong turn? Is every man capable of walking on Godlike principles?
There were some deserters and still are who left/leave the American military due to opposing principles about Iraq. There was, I believe a south-western American I remember reading about who went AWOL because he felt he was compromising his principles. The article made me cry because he was ostracized by many.Yet I was so proud of him.

I don't think the soldier who is a pawn in all the countries I know of should be fodder for insults unless he is the one himself who took a deliberate wrong turn. And I'm not saying we don't have our demons.

But also, in America the biggest enrollment of citizens into the military is in the region called Appalachia, one of the most depressed regions in the country. The armed forces provide the only decent paying jobs for these people. I doubt these people read up on the policies of the government. Their fault? Yes and no. They are surviving themselves.

This is why, little Jessica Lynch whose own brother didn't think her body was fit for the military became a soldier against the odds in order to pay for college.

I do not feel sorry for her. I am only saying that there ARE decent, honorable American soldiers.
 
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By the way, those soldiers who did step beyond the bounds of decency were from one of the few countries whose press is able to talk about it.
 
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Bruno,

I am not feeling tattered in the slightest. What gave you that idea?

"you have responded with saying that US forces make their positions clear, hence they are not hit. However, that is PRECISELY what Al Jazeera repeatedly did, and they were hit every time."

You asked why embedded reporters don't get targeted. I'll try to explain again. US forces in combat areas have integrated command and control systems, as well as SOP's, that make every effort to clearly identify all friendly forces that are in the area. They transmit beacons, they call in positions, they move in formations that allow them to understand where each unit is, or at least 'should' be. Even so - friendly fire happens. This is done at the tactical and operations level where a tank commander knows where his other tanks are - where one platoon knows where the other platoon is. If you read any first hand accounts of combat you will notice that most of what they do is coordinate positioning.

Now if you are not within this tactical real time communication network regularly transmitting your position, direction, etc., you are far more likely to be at risk of being targeted. What is so difficult for you to understand? I am not saying that you have to assign some moral value to how this works, or that you have to like it or dislike it. I am just explaining why a journalist in a combat area that is not under the protection of US troops - and especially if he is out on the streets with insurgents engaged in a firefight - might end up in trouble.

"Funny also how every person within a two mile radius of a firefight that happens to stand on a roof is a Fedayeen spotter"

The two al jazeera (Baghdad)examples you provided were of the same incident. The second description puts the event in context, except the story changes a bit. I did not read anything about a 2 mile radius.

Tarek Ayoub was on the roof in direct line of sight and obviously in close proximity to a live firefight with US soldiers. My explanation of what probably happened - that either US ground troops under fire spotted someone on the roof and informed pilot - or that the pilot providing ground support spotted the guy - are both very reasonable. Your explanation, that the pilot would desert his fellow soldiers under fire and waste ordinance on a journalist '2 miles' away and unrelated to the battle is hard to believe. Think about it Bruno.

"that would just illustrate that they were not considerate of civilian lives at all."

What 'civilian' is going to be out 'watching' right next to a live firefight? Did he have any equipment? Any thing that during the 'fog of war' might look like range finding/spotter equipment, etc.?

"Funny that it was clear that Al Jazeera in Afghanistan clearly DID NOT ‘share office space’ in any meaningful sense with AQ"

And why was the BBC bombed? Was Al Jazeera there too? It sounds to me like the particular bombs that home in on electronic transmitter signatures do not play favorites.

One thing we can learn from this though - is that the US needs to make it MORE CLEAR (apparently), that in enemy held territory, you should NOT transmit comm signals.

"However, the reason that you don’t see it as a flagrant assault on the freedom of the media is that fundamentally you feel that attacks on the media are justified on the basis on WHAT THEIR CONTENT IS."

Honestly, I'm not sure. I think the content should be part of the equation, as should an assessment of whether or not the particular purveyor of media content can be classified as 'free and independent.' Maybe the Serbian state propaganda apparatus in charge of their media had nothing to do with mobilizing their soldiers and paramilitaries to commit genocide. If all they were saying was "Bill Clinton is bad and we don't like him" - then I do not think that would make them a legitimate target. But if they were directly involved in the deliberate dehumanization of muslims in an effort to motivate the people into slaughtering them (which they then proceeded to do), then I think it was reasonable (and almost a moral necessity) to silence their broadcast facilities.

You think the US media is bad - but you cannot even compare it to media in totalitarian states. The soviets and their puppet states were very adept at media manipulation.

"The Serbian media was quite legitimate."

As was 'Tokyo Rose' and whatever radio shows Hitler used - I'm sure.

"So, in your twisted mind at least,"

Where is Abu Khaleel when I'm being oppressed???

"they were candidates for extermination"

No Bruno - it was the Serbians who were systematically exterminating their ethnic muslim population. Why do you ALWAYS get everything backwards?

"You ignored the argument because you realize that logically speaking you are on shaky ground."

Your arguments have nothing to do with logic Bruno.

"That in fact in your opinion the legitimacy of a news agency or journalist as target depends upon **YOUR** evaluation of whether they are “free and independent”."

Well, I must disagree with you in that it is not up to me. But I suppose it is up to certain groups of people to decide. In the case of bombing Serbian broadcasting stations it was up to the political and military leadership of NATO. Most things are 'up to someone' Bruno. Except of course for the things that God decides by himself/herself to do or say.

Do you think that a state run media under a totalitarian regime that is promulgating inflamatory propaganda and lies to motivate its people to commit genocide should be protected as 'objective, free, and independent media.' What if the broadcasting centers are transmitting information that could be considered of tactical or strategic material value? Maybe the NATO generals were just in a bad mood and feeling spiteful?

"You appear to support the suppression of “the enemy” with tactics that YOU accuse THEM of."

Um. Not exactly Bruno.

"Which of course contradicts the whole concept of “freedom and democracy” and all that jazz."

Um. No it doesn't Bruno. But I don't expect you to 'get it.'

"I asked YOU for YOUR opinion on this moral dilemma. (ie- are CNN & Fox then legitimate targets?)"

I don't see a dilemma Bruno. If the enemy attacked a general officer, I would consider it an attack on a military target. If the enemy targeted a media outlet because it was controlled by the government and performing paramilitary functions, then I would consider it a military target.

If the enemy just decided to attack an independent media outlet to murder and terrorize people, then I do not consider it legitimate.

"(1) the US authorities knew of the Italian operation well in advance,"

What did they know? Why do you pretend to know? No one knows yet. It is being investigated. The story has already changed several times. What is it that you know?

"(2) the Iraqi hostage takers warned Sgrena in advance that she would be targeted. In fact, I read a report here in SA that made front page news about how the Iraqis said that if she was attacked while they were escorting her, they would fight to protect her."

Is this some triple reverse 'stockholm syndrome'? So the criminals who violently abducted her and threatened her with death and had to be paid a ransom were in fact 'do gooders' who would lay down their lives to protect her from the evil US? Is that why they captured, threatened, and ransomed her? Maybe they meant that if another gang tried to capture her from 'them' then they would defend 'her' (their paycheck, as it were), from the rival gang?

Will someone else please chime in here and tell Bruno not to believe everything he reads at literal face value???

"Now, that is pretty strong circumstantial evidence."

Bruno - that is nothing but your gullibility presenting itself publicly.

"The one constant in the story is that the US military disclaims all responsibility for culpability and somehow tries to portray the accident as being the victim’s fault."

Well, its clear from interviews with colleagues that Sgrena was deliberately naive about risks of abduction - unless of course that is what she wanted. And other than hearsay, we still do not know what happened.

"But Fini [ Italian Foreign Minister ] said that Calipari, "made all the necessary contacts with the U.S. authorities," both with those in charge of airport security and with the forces patrolling areas next to the airport."

Were they attacked by these same US forces that Calipari supposedly briefed on the plan? To what extent were they briefed? Did they know when and where they would be coming through? Vehicle type? Did they agree on coordination and communications? For example - since we know that the Italians had a phone with them, did they admit to coordinating via phone prior to approaching security checkpoint? Like - "Hi Sarge, its us, white 94 toyota sedan, we will approach checkpoint from northeast and flash our lights 3 times, then 2 times, then follow your commands..." Why not? No one was chasing them. You yourself just regurgitated the story about how the terrorists were willing to protect Sgrena. So obviously she was under no threat from them.

It was a diosorganized, botched operation that US soldiers turned into a tragedy for a brave Italian officer and his family.

"Now, feel free to demean the credibility of Italy’s foreign Minister."

If he was involved in the operation then I'm sure all of the details will come out. He would know which US officers were involved and they could identify where the chain of command broke down. If he was not involved in the operation, then he is engaging in inflamatory conjecture that is not exactly prudent.

"I mean, given their sacrifices OVERSEAS in the DEFENCE (notice the contradiction?) of your country,"

Bruno - it's not a contradiction.
 
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Sometimes when reading comments I wonder the same thing "are we wasting our time".

But then I think, I suppose at least it's getting people thinking. Who knows, perhaps one day the thinking will become more sentient.

As for whoever mentioned not-voting ~ there is a huge gulf between the apathetic not-vote and the articulate not-vote. The one is done without conscience, the other is done (or not-done as the case may be) through an organised publicised campaign with an intent to raise questions and provoke dialogue.

Peace, we will get there. Eventually.
 
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Ohio --

You are misreading my sarcastic statement a little.

Charles made a statement on how important soldiers are and how they sacrifice their lives so that some miserable protester has the right to burn down everything that they died for. My point is that they VOLUNTEERED to fight for that, and in making that choice they get no special status in society, PARTICULARLY if that war is highly contentious within that country. Charles’ statements ring of the jingoism that elevates military service above and beyond that of other professions. Through mental association with the military service, now everybody can be an armchair marine, and share in the glory and bravery. Which goes to explain the rabid defense of the US military one often encounters. I’m not attacking them (on this occasion, at least), so much as attacking HIM.

“There was, I believe a south-western American I remember reading about who went AWOL because he felt he was compromising his principles. The article made me cry because he was ostracized by many. Yet I was so proud of him.”

I agree, that there is a man with balls. From past experience I know how difficult it is to stand against the group and to say, “Stuff this, I don’t believe in this and I’m not doing it.” Especially if one considers the macho mentality of the army, and how they will certainly ostracize him as a coward for it.

As for the rest of your statement, I largely agree with it.

It is ironic that given the immense richness of America, that there are still people that are forced to join the service in order to put bread in their mouths. Even more ironic is that it’s these very people that are ultra nationalist and opposed staunchly to a more socialist approach to society that would see them receive a little more of the riches that your country possesses. (And NO, Charles, I’m NOT advocating a ‘redistribution of assets’ or anything like that.) It’s just amazing the way that they don’t see how heavily the game is stacked against them.

Somewhere a fuse has blown in your society.



Charles --

[Charles] “Now if you are not within this tactical real time communication network regularly transmitting your position, direction, etc., you are far more likely to be at risk of being targeted. What is so difficult for you to understand?”

As a matter of fact I understand this system very well.

What I don’t understand is how STATIC news agencies that have made their position perfectly clear to the US military, and have in fact received assurances that they would not be hit … are repeatedly hit. I mean, really, how hard is it to pass on GPS coordinates to grunts on the ground of two or three news agencies and saying, “Hey, look, those whacko Al Jazeera types are here. Make sure you don’t hit them and remember to smile for the cameras when you pass.” Or “Hey guys, don’t forget, half of the world’s reporters are there in the Palestine Hotel. Don’t put a tank shell through their window, alright?”

HOW HARD IS IT TO PASS ON A FEW GPS COORDINATES?

If *I* were running the US military it would make sense to me not to reinforce the stereotype of the villainous American, or to give these ‘unilaterals’ any more fuel for their fire, right? In fact, if *I* were an American running the US military I might just check up on Al Jazeera a few times to see if they were OK, and even maybe send a runner over with a chocolate hamper to shame them for distorting the news.

Obviously I make a pretty crappy American.

The fact that over and over these “accidents” happen with monotonous regularity leads me inescapably to the conclusions that Americans think that they are so baddass that (1) they can send a ‘message’ to the independent media via force and (2) that they think they will get away with it. To date they have been right.

[charles] “My explanation of what probably happened - that either US ground troops under fire spotted someone on the roof and informed pilot - or that the pilot providing ground support spotted the guy - are both very reasonable.”

No, your explanations are not reasonable, given that the pilot AND the ground troops ought to have known where the news agency was. (“Oh, hey, a guy on a roof with a camera? Better check on those coordinates before dropping a load on his head … lucky for him I’ve got this info from my superiors telling me that he’s a journo”) Instead … we have the cowboy mentality of “kill all the unilaterals”.

[charles] “What 'civilian' is going to be out 'watching' right next to a live firefight?”

PLENTY. Three days ago there was an armed robbery at a house near my father’s place. It was known for a fact that these scoundrels were armed with AK 47’s, an assault rifle that has the potential to kill at a very large distance … yet there were at least a dozen neighbours gawking at the police cars and wondering when the shooting would start. I agree that it’s a very stupid thing to do. But people do stupid things all the time.

[charles] “Any thing that during the 'fog of war' might look like range finding/spotter equipment, etc.?”
Uh, yes, the US Army does of course NOT issue its troops with large, high magnification binoculars, and, of course, Americans, coming from such a backward country, have NEVER seen a TV camera before. (That is assuming Ayoub even had one). Nice try, Charles. That is the same excuse used by the tanker that murdered Mazen Dana … that he could not distinguish a camera from an RPG launcher at 50m in broad daylight. He was, of course, exonerated.

[charles] “And why was the BBC bombed?”

In case it was not clear, the BBC facilities in Kabul were not operating under the aegis of the US military. That is reason enough. But, to be perfectly honest, there are two differing accounts of the story, one where the BBC was bombed *before* Al Jazeera, and the other where the BBC was damaged in the *same* blast that destroyed Al Jazeera. I really don’t see much difference in intent if they were both bombed or if only AJ was, though.

Now, this is the crux of our discussion as pertaining to YOUR motives in defending the US military on this matter:

“However, the reason that you don’t see it as a flagrant assault on the freedom of the media is that fundamentally you feel that attacks on the media are justified on the basis on WHAT THEIR CONTENT IS."

Honestly, I'm not sure. I think the content should be part of the equation, as should an assessment of whether or not the particular purveyor of media content can be classified as 'free and independent.' Maybe the Serbian state propaganda apparatus in charge of their media had nothing to do with mobilizing their soldiers and paramilitaries to commit genocide. If all they were saying was "Bill Clinton is bad and we don't like him" - then I do not think that would make them a legitimate target. But if they were directly involved in the deliberate dehumanization of muslims in an effort to motivate the people into slaughtering them (which they then proceeded to do), then I think it was reasonable (and almost a moral necessity) to silence their broadcast facilities.”

Well, I feel that a very strong case can be built against the US media for their role in:

* De-humanising Muslims
* Depicting them as backward, dangerous radicals who only understand force.
* Peddling false, un – objective propaganda regarding the danger Iraq posed to the US.
* Warmongering and encouraging a US invasion of Iraq and the killing of Iraqis.
* Engaging in apologetics for the murder and mistreatment of Iraqi civilians.

Now, unlike you, I don’t feel that this necessarily constitutes a clear case for the use of force to shut down the media outlets that engage in this. I feel that media should be free to be biased, and that the truth will triumph in the end. Perhaps I am hopelessly naïve and idealistic. I feel that for example, o’ Reilly saying that Muslims should have the living daylights bombed out of them, only shows his own stupidity and bone headedness to the world.

I feel that once media starts to be targeted on the basis of the content of the news it carries, it is open season on ALL media. If Al Jazeera can be hit, then why not the equally biased and partisan Fox channel. And screw the janitors, make up artists, camera men … they are all complicit. And hey, those whacko radical Christian groups could also do with one up the tailpipe, what with all their propaganda! Where do you draw the line, hm ?

Your “it is always up to someone” comment simply reveals that you accept the need for force to shut the mouth of those that are not “approved” and damn the consequences. Well, unlike you, Charles, I like the idea of having a variety of news sources from which to pick and choose.

Tell me, have you actually seen the list of acceptable things to say, so that one does not get bombed by the US military? Who wrote it? Tell me, is one allowed to show a tape of a soldier shooting a civilian? What if the reporter makes it a habit? Is there a gradually ascending regimen of punishment for infringements, or is death the only penalty?

You see Charles, you’re assuming that the “acceptable” – ie – “free and independent” news automatically mirrors YOUR outlook. Yet you are unable to even tell me WHO determines the acceptability or not of news content.

Is “free and independent” what the *majority view* (ie-keeping in line with democratic ideals) is on an issue? If so, you do realize that America (ie-YOU) is sadly outnumbered by global sentiment on this, yes? In fact Al Jazeera was voted the 5th best global brand recently, and the reason for its meteoric rise is directly attributable to the fact that a large chunk of the world DOES NOT see CNN et al to be “free and independent” at all.

The reason for your extreme bias on this issue is easy to explain: Father knows best.

You are assuming the right to dictate to the world YOUR (US) idea of what is acceptable and YOUR idea of what is civilized. This ‘right’ is based on the fact that you wield superior force. It has nothing to do with so called love of freedom or democracy. Naturally, coupled with the attitude of “might is right” is a healthy dose of crunchy hypocrisy.

Like this:

"[me]You appear to support the suppression of “the enemy” with tactics that YOU accuse THEM of."
[charles] Um. Not exactly Bruno.

"[me]Which of course contradicts the whole concept of “freedom and democracy” and all that jazz."
[charles] Um. No it doesn't Bruno. But I don't expect you to 'get it.' “

Damn, OK, Charles, I guess clamping down on press freedom is a normal part of spreading “democracy”. Just shows you how backward I am, huh? I guess that blowing up people that disagree with one is OK then, as long as it’s done by Americans. Otherwise it is a “dirty terrorist tactic”. BTW, great refutation of my arguments. Really convincing.

On the Sgrena story – given that you completely disbelieve whatever she says, it’s pointless to talk about it. This, however, goes to demonstrate a little dash of the ol’ naivety on your part:

“"[me] (1) the US authorities knew of the Italian operation well in advance,"

[charles] What did they know? Why do you pretend to know? No one knows yet. It is being investigated. The story has already changed several times. What is it that you know?”

Apart from the fact that the Italian foreign minister has been quoted on the subject, I’d like you to consider for a moment the question of transport. HOW did Calipari’s mission get to Iraq? Did they drive all the way from Italy? NO. They flew. Flew into the airport completely controlled by Americans. That means that Nicola Calipari, secret agent on the behalf of the Italian Government, had his documents checked by US officials AT THE VERY LEAST. Do you suppose that just anybody can waltz in and out of the airport with rescued hostages as they please? Without anybody even asking why they were there? Do you suppose that Calipari would have bumbled around Iraq without telling ANYBODY he was there? Come, Charles, give me a break. You are taking your rah-rah partisanship to extremes here.

But you are right in one aspect at least. Let’s wait and see exactly what comes from the investigation into the incident. Then we will see in what way the US blames Italy. (And we will see if my bias here was justified or not)

Anyhow, this discussion is pretty much wrapped up.

On the one hand I feel that I have presented a pretty cohesive case on the subject, and more importantly, have managed to get you to admit that you think force is a good idea when confronted with media that is not “free and independent” – of which the definition is up to people unknown, but definitely high up in the ranks of the US power structure. That is good enough for me.

And your dancing around the subject of whether mainstream US news channels are candidates for military attack is duly noted. You see, Charles, as you broaden your criteria for the use of force on OTHER media, you also broaden the criteria for use of force on your own. Denial that the same standard applies to both is called “hypocrisy”, which we are shortly awaiting your confirmation of.

On the other hand the fact that media and journalists have been deliberately targeted by the US military is proven beyond doubt.

The real question now is: does one agree with this or not?



Émigré –

“Who knows, perhaps one day the thinking will become more sentient.”.

Ya think? I’m starting to have my doubts.
 
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Bruno,

I just wanted to put a human face on our soldiers. By reading these posts I get more and more of a human face from all of you, but the soldiers rarely get to speak. Just as the Iraqi victims don't. I so respect them both.

If I don't give you a human face then we Americans are all monsters who have "blown a fuse". Bruno, you know I believe we aren't as civilized as some of the rest of the world. We are spoiled brats. And yes, our lifestyle is dumming us down. But we are humans and there is hope for us. Have you seen the American boy's site "Wer'e sorry world"? (I apologize if the wording is off.) It is really thought-provoking as simple as it is.
 
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Bruno,

"What I don’t understand is how STATIC news agencies that have made their position perfectly clear to the US military ... are repeatedly hit."

Heat of battle, fog of war, seconds to react, kill or be killed, etc. Its not that hard to understand. If a battle is raging, do not prance about the roof and do not point things in the direction of US soldiers. Hide in the basement and pray. Static positions could be hit by fire and forget weapons that home in on signals.

"HOW HARD IS IT TO PASS ON A FEW GPS COORDINATES?"

I very much doubt that in battle, individual soldiers will consult their individual GPS devices to review full color high resolution maps when they are under fire (I don't think they even have them). At best, before a battle, the officers are briefed on certain locations that might be sensitive (mosques, etc.). But much of that can easily be 'downgraded' in the mind of a soldier who is under fire. We know that terrorists use mosques and schools as spotting and firing positions and that these locations have been targeted deliberately (and rightly so) after receiving fire.

"Obviously I make a pretty crappy American."

No, just a crappy dead soldier who probably got a few of his buddies killed too.

"No, your explanations are not reasonable, given that the pilot AND the ground troops ought to have known where the news agency was."

The soldier under fire has other more immediate priorities Bruno. If you were a trained soldier, in the same circumstances, you would do the same thing. You are not considering what it would be like under fire.

"lucky for him I’ve got this info from my superiors telling me that he’s a journo"

No info from superiors - I can assure you - would have positively ID'd the guy on the roof. Just please think about what you are saying. Insurgents use religious facilities to fight from - so some guy on a building looking down on you with something on his shoulder in the middle of a firefight is bound to be considered a threat.

"I agree that it’s a very stupid thing to do. But people do stupid things all the time."

And some of them pay the price.

"Uh, yes, the US Army does of course NOT issue its troops with large, high magnification binoculars,..."

You are in a firefight, your buddies are getting shot, the noise, dust, and confusion are tremendous, and there is some guy (not one of your guys) looking down at you from the roof. You have split seconds - kill or be killed - what are you going to do?

[charles] “And why was the BBC bombed?”

"I really don’t see much difference in intent if they were both bombed or if only AJ was, though."

For one it would show that it was more likely the signals, t=rather than the potential content carried by the signals, that caused the weapon to home in on the transmitters. Why would we deliberately bomb our strongest allies?

"I feel that media should be free to be biased, and that the truth will triumph in the end."

Biased, give or take, a bit this way or that way, is one thing. I agree with you. Do you believe that any media outlet, regardless of its level of freedom or objectivity, especially if it is inciting genocide, should not be shut down - by force if necessary?

The truth usually does win out in the end, but sometimes only because force was used, and often several hundred thousands of innocent lives too late.

"Well, unlike you, Charles, I like the idea of having a variety of news sources from which to pick and choose."

I do too. I do not suggest that we should bomb al jazeera and I do not think the US targeted al jazeera or any other media outlets.

"Tell me, is one allowed to show a tape of a soldier shooting a civilian?"

What are you ranting about? Did US soldiers shoot the US journalist who posted that scandalous report?

The next several paragraphs of your post you continue inventing things...

"Damn, OK, Charles, I guess clamping down on press freedom is a normal part of spreading “democracy”."

Bruno, to whom are you addressing these comments? I do not think we should clamp down on a free and independent press. As far as I recall, Iraq, for example, has more freedom of the press now than most of its neighboring countries.

"On the Sgrena story – given that you completely disbelieve whatever she says, it’s pointless to talk about it. This, however, goes to demonstrate a little dash of the ol’ naivety on your part:"

Here is Sgrena - remember - one of her versions she said they were definitely NOT speeding:

"The car kept on the road, going under an underpass full of puddles and almost losing control to avoid them. We all incredibly laughed. It was liberating. Losing control of the car in a street full of water in Baghdad and maybe wind up in a bad car accident after all I had been through would really be a tale I would not be able to tell. Nicola Calipari sat next to me. The driver twice called the embassy and in Italy that we were heading towards the airport that I knew was heavily patrolled by U.S. troops. They told me that we were less than a kilometer away...when...I only remember fire."

Did you see the picture of her vehicle that she claims was hit by hundreds of high caliber rounds? Hardly a scratch.

""[me] (1) the US authorities knew of the Italian operation well in advance,"

[charles] What did they know? Why do you pretend to know? No one knows yet. It is being investigated. The story has already changed several times. What is it that you know?”

Instead of insulting me as usual, please answer my question. What are the facts of the story. don't hide behind snippets of quotes. What are the facts of the case????

"I’d like you to consider for a moment the question of transport."

So the guy arrived at the airport? And then what? What point are you making? Are you saying that since he showed up at the airport all US forces in the region automatically know everything about his mission? Its been some weeks now, what are the facts? What was disclosed to US authorities? What level of detail. You either know or you don't know. If you don't know then STOP making things up.

"Do you suppose that just anybody can waltz in and out of the airport with rescued hostages as they please?"

If you call getting shot and killed - 'waltzing' - then maybe.

"Without anybody even asking why they were there? Do you suppose that Calipari would have bumbled around Iraq without telling ANYBODY he was there?"

I am not being partizan at all. You have presented zero facts to support your position. Sgrena's story changes every time she talks to the press. What few facts are available contradict her story. If you have any facts please present them.

"Let’s wait and see exactly what comes from the investigation into the incident."

Let's.

"Then we will see in what way the US blames Italy."

Do you ever stop to listen to yourself? You just accused me of being 'partizan.' My position is simply that there is no evidence that the US intentionally tried to kill Sgrena and that it is absurd and dishonest to make such claims without evidence.

"you think force is a good idea when confronted with media that is not “free and independent”"

Don't twist my words. Using force to suppress one of the Serbian regime's mechanisms supporting genocide in Bosnia was reasonable. I do not suggest using force against the media - even broadly defined, and I do not think this has been done.

"which we are shortly awaiting your confirmation of."

What - are you and your friends planning an attack on US media outlets?

"On the other hand the fact that media and journalists have been deliberately targeted by the US military is proven beyond doubt."

That's hilarious! All of the events you mentioned are debunked. There is absolutely nothing you presented that supports the case that the US is deliberately targeting journalists. At best, the case of the fellow shot at close range by a patrol on a base sounds like unnecessary use of force by the particular soldier. Although I think it is very unlikely - think about it - that in a secure military zone people would be walking around unescorted. Doesn't that sound strange to you?
 
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O.k. the site is called: Sorry Everybody and for those who are disillusioned with us please go to this site. Yes there are kids AND adults who are being very trite and shallow on this site but there are many heart-wrenching pleas for forgiveness and there is planning on the site for the two sides of America to get together to discuss what we are doing in the world.

Make no mistake- I don't believe we are worth the salt in the two Abu's tears, but I HAVE to keep hope alive and working towards change.
 
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Charles --

On Sgrena:

Facts:

1 The Italian Foreign Minister said that the US military was well informed of the mission.
2 Sgrena was a journalist hardly sympathetic to the US mission in Iraq.
3 The car had already passed several checkpoints unmolested.
4 The car was shot at by US soldiers killing one Italian occupant and wounding another.
5 Conflicting reports about the status of the car were given.
6 US soldiers routinely lie about the circumstances of their misdeeds.

[charles] “My position is simply that there is no evidence that the US intentionally tried to kill Sgrena and that it is absurd and dishonest to make such claims without evidence.”

Neither, I may point out, is there any evidence to back YOUR claim that it DID NOT intentionally try to kill Sgrena, either. That is why I put the caveat of “quite possibly” in my initial statement on the matter. You happen to be speculating the same as I am, except for the fact that I have a LONG string of “accidents” that have occurred to independent media at the hands of US forces that bolsters MY claims.


On Force and the Media:

“[me] "you think force is a good idea when confronted with media that is not “free and independent”"
[charles] Don't twist my words. Using force to suppress one of the Serbian regime's mechanisms supporting genocide in Bosnia was reasonable. I do not suggest using force against the media - even broadly defined, and I do not think this has been done.”

Two main points:

(1)

[me]”…you feel that attacks on the media are justified on the basis on WHAT THEIR CONTENT IS."
[charles] “Honestly, I'm not sure. I think the content should be part of the equation, as should an assessment of whether or not the particular purveyor of media content can be classified as 'free and independent.'”

HELLO ???

Are we having the same conversation here? You have just said that ‘content’ and ‘free and independent’ are two MAJOR criteria for use of force on the media, yet you claim I’m ‘twisting your words’! Hmm. Is this what it feels like to talk to a brick wall?

The other big sticking point with your argument is: WHO decides on the criteria for bombing TV stations? As long as the same standards apply to all, well, that’s OK. But why do I have the sneaking suspicion that the US would be the “more equal” partner in the arrangement? Your “assessment” is simply a matter of partisan opinion, that’s the truth.


(2)

On Serbian action:

WAS there a genocide in Kosovo? Or was there police action against Albanian separatists committing violent acts against Serbs in Kosovo? Tell me, Charles, did Serbian action in Kosovo directly or indirectly result in the deaths of around 100 000 Kosovars? What WERE the numbers of Albanians killed in the ‘genocide’ ? Did NATO action provoke Serbia into more forceful measures? How has NATO and the US protected the Serbian civilian minority in Kosovo since the war? Would you say that this is acceptable? Or has a reverse ethnic cleansing occurred? Are you aware that there was a considerable effort by the western media to exaggerate the severity of the Serbian measures, and that Serbian media played an acutely embarrassing role in discrediting some of the claims made by NATO?

By ignoring these issues and taking a straight black and white approach to the problem you are embarrassing yourself.

My statement: IF you support action against the Serbian media of the time THEN you also support action against the US media which has drummed up a case for war against Iraq in the same manner.

Your answer : “ … “.



On the targeting of the media:


"[me] On the other hand the fact that media and journalists have been deliberately targeted by the US military is proven beyond doubt."
[charles] That's hilarious! All of the events you mentioned are debunked.”

Uh, right Charles, you are aware of that the alleged rumour of there possibly being death camps for Jews in World War 2 has also been debunked? It’s just a matter of how partisan you can be with the truth.

And, of course, if one excludes Serbian / Arab media and journalists as being such on account of THEIR CONTENT, then no, you are right, no journalists were ever targeted. Of course, by your standards, there are virtually no journalists left within the “free and independent” camp that are allowed to be called “journalists”.

Sure, look, blatantly calling for the complete annihilation of a people is not nice. Of course, the questions also surface of whether : (1) the person calling for genocide is speaking on his behalf or on that of the station (2) the person saying this and the station saying this have any credibility (3) anybody is moved to support such action because of the appeal (4) how often the appeal is launched (5) there are extenuating circumstances that make such an appeal understandable (6) the people that intend on shutting the station down don’t allow the SAME thing to happen themselves.

These are just off the top of my head. Your “call to genocide” argument is simplistic and unresearched.

Look, I’m through with this argument.

It’s quite obvious that you are willing to excuse any sort of unlikely string of “accidents” that have happened to journalists because of the US (and there are more – just that those other examples are IMHO probably really accidents – FYI) as well as condoning violent action to shut down undesirable messages – the content of which is debatable. Add to these ‘accidents’ the constant background noise of soldiers beating up and harassing journalists – and getting away with it – and the pictures comes nicely into focus.

I feel my case is quite strong and stand by it.




Ohio --

For your information, no, I don’t believe that Americans are all monsters. If I did I would be calling for the destruction of America and Americans. As a matter of fact I have family in Texas. And I have talked to some soldiers who on a global political level were clued up. But I do think Americans should become a little more politically aware outside their borders, and that Americans should spend a little more time learning the history of the US outside its borders and thinking about whether that is compatible with the ideals their country espouses.

I don’t ask the US even to try to fulfill its ideals. I would just ask Americans to imagine that their policies overseas and justifications for them were reversed onto them. It’s the hypocrisy that slays me. And it’s the uneducated American sitting at home watching wrestling or whatever that allows the government to get away with it.

Assuming that they would be outraged, of course …
 
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Bruno,

For your perspective to be considered reasonable (i.e. that US forces are deliberately targeting journalists), one must make several very shaky assumptions.

First, that combat zones are not inherently dangerous and therefore when someone gets hurt it must be the result of a conspiracy.

Second, that combat zones are not stressful or confusing and the whole temporal dimension just doesn't exist. Soldiers may investigate everything at their leisure and decisions cannot be made until research reports from several sources have been studied and then voted upon with a unanimous decision to take some sort of action.

Take the case of Sgrena. She has contradicted herself on almost every statement she has made.

- They were not driving fast
- They were driving so fast they almost lost control of the car on several occasions
- They had already passed US checkpoints
- They had not seen any checkpoints
- There wer no lights or warnings - just 300-400 shots from an armored vehicle
- There were lights and then a hail of bullets

A few other things to consider:

- If the US had 'intended' to kill her, don't you think they would have? Would it have been difficult for an armed patrol to turn the car into shredded scrap - along with its occupants?
- The vehicle was hardly damaged - just a few small caliber bullet holes to the front of the vehicle consistent with shots to disable the vehicle, and only one casualty in the rear - probably from ricochet.
- The airport road is the most dangerous road in all of Iraq. This is an acknowledged fact. The main threat is from vehicle borne suicide bombers.
- If the Italians really were tactically coordinating with the US military on this OP, they would have been in contact with the US military - right? How could they coordinate tactically if they had no communication? The Italians had a phone. They were using it - but not to coordinate with US military.

"1 The Italian Foreign Minister said that the US military was well informed of the mission."

Italian Communications Minister Maurizio Gasparri warned Giuliana Sgrena by saying, "I understand the emotion of these hours, but those who have been under stress in the past few weeks should pull themselves together and avoid saying nonsense."

"2 Sgrena was a journalist hardly sympathetic to the US mission in Iraq."

There are many people who are unsympathetic to the US mission.

"3 The car had already passed several checkpoints unmolested."

Sgrena: "We hadn't previously encountered any checkpoint and we didn't understand where the shots came from."

"4 The car was shot at by US soldiers killing one Italian occupant and wounding another."

Yup. Its a tragedy that the officer died.

"5 Conflicting reports about the status of the car were given."

There are pictures of the car Bruno. It was hardly scratched. Sgrena is a liar with an agenda whose immaturity has gotton people killed and financed the deaths of hundreds more people to the tune of several millions of dollars.

"6 US soldiers routinely lie about the circumstances of their misdeeds."

Let's not throw stones Bruno - eh? Do you have any evidence that soldiers 'routinely' lie? Do you know any soldiers Bruno?

"Neither, I may point out, is there any evidence to back YOUR claim that it DID NOT intentionally try to kill Sgrena, either."

If they wanted her dead she would be dead. Do you contest this? Do you think she would be hard to kill? Could she have stopped the soldiers from carrying out their mission of murder? If US soldiers were such bloodthirsty killers then we never would have heard about any of this. Her vehicle would have been blasted out of existence and the scraps dumped in a ditch and buried. Think Bruno. Turn down the volume of that anti-american conspiracy theory ranting voice in your head and think.

"You happen to be speculating the same as I am, except for the fact that I have a LONG string of “accidents” that have occurred to independent media at the hands of US forces that bolsters MY claims."

OK. I'll take that same line of argument. The 'string' of accidents that have not happened to journalists is far longer than the handful who have been wounded or killed by US troops. How many independent journalists have come into contact with the US military and not been killed? If the US policy was to kill journalists then there would be a lot of dead journalists.

As with all conspiracy theories, they could fail if even one person talked. Just one soldier could say - "We received orders to assassinate so-and-so journalist." Some officer at base could spill the beans. That's the problem with conspiracies Bruno. It only takes one weak link.

"Are we having the same conversation here? You have just said that ‘content’ and ‘free and independent’ are two MAJOR criteria for use of force on the media, yet you claim I’m ‘twisting your words’! Hmm. Is this what it feels like to talk to a brick wall?"

In context I gave you examples of situations in which a non-free and non-independent media that spewed out garbage that was promoting murder 'might' be a reasonable target. Might. Do you really think that there are no cases in which a media outlet could be targeted? What if it is directly responsible for getting innocent people killed?

"WHO decides on the criteria for bombing TV stations?"

As I mentioned, considering it was a NATO operation, it was probably NATO. There are no situations EVER where no one has to decide anything. And there are no situations EVER where the people who are in a position to decide can somehow be all inclusive and represent some universal will. Even the UN, who for 60 years aspired at being the all inclusive arbiter of affairs, cannot even get its members to agree on the basics of its charter. Many members of the UN who have voting rights are oppressive dictatorships
Bruno. They do not share the values upon which the UN was founded. You are a utopian - plain and simple.

"WAS there a genocide in Kosovo?"

The same Serbian leadership that executed genocidal tactics during breakup of Yugoslavia was getting started in Kosovo. Maybe they had good intentions Bruno. Maybe.

"By ignoring these issues and taking a straight black and white approach to the problem you are embarrassing yourself."

I suppose we should have let Serbia have its way in Kosovo. I'm sure that the ethnic albanians were far more militant because they knew what to expect from Serbian leadership.

"My statement: IF you support action against the Serbian media of the time THEN you also support action against the US media which has drummed up a case for war against Iraq in the same manner."

Your suggested argument would have validity only if the US media and the Serbian media (and the contexts within which they function), were equal. They are not. Your argument would also require equivalence between the US and Serbian authorities on how they control the media. They are quite different. Therefore your argument itself is not valid.

"Uh, right Charles, you are aware of that the alleged rumour of there possibly being death camps for Jews in World War 2 has also been debunked?"

Ahem. Yes - and your dear Saddam and the Serb's were quite proficient in filling mass graves themselves.

BTW, some female Kentucky reserve soldiers repelled an assault on a convoy they were defending. In close quarters combat they killed about 20 insurgents. One of the insurgents - who was filming the attack - uttered 'alla akhbar' just before he was killed. I suppose those ladies (and a few guys) from KY should have called a time-out to check for valid ID cards? Eh? Was that guy a journalist?

"Sure, look, blatantly calling for the complete annihilation of a people is not nice."

Not 'nice'?

"It’s quite obvious that you are willing to excuse any sort of unlikely string of “accidents”"

No. They should be investigated by all means. When someone is guilty of something they should be punished. some US soldiers have done some bad things and are sitting in jail.

"I feel my case is quite strong and stand by it."

Okey Dokey!
 
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Hi Charles,

I hate to say it, but I heard something in the news about how we weren't letting Italian investigators see the car. I mean, what's that about?
 
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Hi Ohio,

Do you have a link to the news story? All I have heard is that the joint US-Italian investigation should take several weeks so probably early April we will have some results.

The Italians have several official witnesses (intelligence officers) that we know were there. Plus there were US/Italian officials in theater who will no doubt give testimony.

I hope the Italian government comes clean on whether or not a ransom was paid, and why the Iraqi police are reporting that they are being stonewalled on info about the abductors. We know the Italians have info on the perps because they negotiated with them but apparently they are not turning it over to Iraqi investigators.

We shall see.
 
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(oops. I thought that this had posted already. Well, I never leat a reply go to waste so...)

[charles] "First, that combat zones are not inherently dangerous and therefore when someone gets hurt it must be the result of a conspiracy."

No, I just happen to find it more than a little fishy that the very people that have been pissing off the US military always seem to get hit, repeatedly, over and over, be it by bomb or boot or bullet ... but sure Charles, that's just a coincidence. Even when the 50th one is blown apart it'll be a coincidence. When the traffic light turns red and the cars all stop simultaneously, that's also a coincidence. No problem.

On Sgrena:

You said yourself that neither you nor I had all the facts, yet here you are, embarrassing yourself with pointless, breathless speculation on what did or did not happen. Tell me, are these points which you trumpet "FACTS" or speculation?

Imagine if in fact the "airport road" was in fact a tightly guarded 'secure' road WITHIN the Green Zone, and that if one wanted to gain access to this road one would have to pass through a stringent checkpoint manned by American soldiers? Imagine if the large calibre bullets which hit the car hit it from BEHIND? Imagine if in fact the Italian mission had been in full liaison with American authorities all along? Imagine if one did not have to drive at high speed to aquaplane through a puddle of water?

Gee, well, I guess you'd look pretty darn stupid then. I'll be sure to remind you if that's the case. Until then, I suggest we leave this waste of time till later.


On US Soldiers:

""[me] US soldiers routinely lie about the circumstances of their misdeeds."
[charles] Let's not throw stones Bruno - eh? Do you have any evidence that soldiers 'routinely' lie? Do you know any soldiers Bruno?"

As a matter of fact I do. The Palestine Hotel incident comes to mind. The murder of Zeyad's cousin comes to mind. The phantom fire directed at the Marines involved in the Fallujah massacre comes to mind. The incident where a soldier point blank shot a civilian dead in Sadr City, and then tried to claim he had drawn a weapon, contrary to the evidence of his own friggin fellow soldiers comes to mind.

These are just off the top of my head.

But, I tell you what, I'm not even going to bother pasting the relevent articles. Obviously there were a few bad apples involved, mixed with some lying Iraqis, and lack of evidence, and some tragic bad judgement (excusable of course) that led to these and other incidents. So, given that I know in advance the excuses that you will scrabble for, let's just drop the matter, eh?


"If the US policy was to kill journalists then there would be a lot of dead journalists."

There ARE a lot of dead journalists.

Your "We received orders to assassinate so-and-so journalist." argument does not really cut much ice with me. The case that I am making is that the *attitude* that it is acceptable to kill journalists if their deaths can be excused as tragic collateral damage is encouraged within the US military. This attitude is furthermore encouraged by the cursory and dismissive investigations given into the cases of abused, beaten or killed journalists. Given that the ROE are so elastic, pretty much any soldier who wanted to dispose of a journalist has carte blanche to do so, because he knows that it is virually guaranteed that nothing will happen to him. Now, add to that the anti journalist stance taken by the US brass, and one can understand the series of "accidents" that continually happen to non embedded journalists.

My point: The INTENTION to 'shut up' independent journalists is there. The means vary.

This is quite apart from the 'targetting down' of uplink signals and broadcast stations. Or the Serbian incident.


""WAS there a genocide in Kosovo?"

The same Serbian leadership that executed genocidal tactics during breakup of Yugoslavia was getting started in Kosovo. Maybe they had good intentions Bruno. Maybe."

Names. Dates. Facts.

And how they correllate.

I see none.

But hallelujah for making this extrapolation, because this is exactly the same extrapolation that I make with the US. I see the same, dictator-luvin', havoc wreakin' USA starting its usual tricks in Iraq. Yet we are asked to forget your entire sordid history with Iraq and believe that THIS time it's different. THIS time the "liberation" is completely disinterested and driven by pure goodwill. Of course you can't expect us to believe you ... ?

"[me] My statement: IF you support action against the Serbian media of the time THEN you also support action against the US media which has drummed up a case for war against Iraq in the same manner."

[charles] Your suggested argument would have validity only if the US media and the Serbian media (and the contexts within which they function), were equal. They are not. Your argument would also require equivalence between the US and Serbian authorities on how they control the media. They are quite different. Therefore your argument itself is not valid."

Uh, let's cut to the chase, OK?

Firstly, we are talking content, and how that content leads to people dying as a basis for violent action against the media. Reality: the US public, as a large result of your media's actions condoned an illegal invasion that has resulted in the deaths of probably ten times as many people as the highest realistic 'total' of people killed as a result of Serbian action. Strictly speaking, that makes your media many times more guilty than the Serbian equivalent.

Secondly, whether the media is state media or merely independent media that symbiotically acts in tandem with the state position has NO bearing on the validity of my argument. You are trying to twist the discussion by bringing in irrelevent factors into it. You are in essence saying 'state media' is fair game by its mere virtue of being state media, and US media is not game by its mere virtue of being US media.

Do you realise how flawed this sounds?

It's the ol' "some people are more equal than others" attitude.


[charles] "One of the insurgents - who was filming the attack - uttered 'alla akhbar' just before he was killed. I suppose those ladies (and a few guys) from KY should have called a time-out to check for valid ID cards? Eh? Was that guy a journalist?"

That guy was (maybe) a journalist, but IMO fair game for a bullet in the head. The same as if an embedded journalist is whacked in an actual firefight, that's too bad.

Charles, you don't realise that there are a LOT of other incidents that I have not mentioned of journalists being hit by US fire that I could mention. I don't mention them because IMHO they were 'genuine' incidents of a news guy being just a little too brave in getting his story and paying the price for it. Or of troops firing randomly because they were in the process of being attacked. Or genuine 'collateral damage'.

Maybe my judgement is wrong.

Maybe I should list ALL of them in monotonous detail and listen to you excuse them one by one.

That'd be fun, right?

--bruno--
 
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