This is the reality of war. We bomb. They suffer
Donald Rumsfeld says the American attack on Baghdad is "as targeted an air campaign as has ever existed" but he should not try telling that to five-year-old Doha Suheil. She looked at me yesterday morning, drip feed attached to her nose, a deep frown over her small face as she tried vainly to move the left side of her body. The cruise missile that exploded close to her home in the Radwaniyeh suburb of Baghdad blasted shrapnel into her tiny legs – they were bound up with gauze – and, far more seriously, into her spine. Now she has lost all movement in her left leg.
The potentially nightmarish scenario of a 'war within a war' loomed last night as high tension gripped the length and breadth of the Turkish-Iraqi border, where tens of thousands of troops have amassed, somewhat frantically, in recent weeks.
Bin Laden's victory
Osama bin Laden, in his wildest dreams, could hardly have hoped for this. A mere 18 months after he boosted the US to a peak of worldwide sympathy unprecedented since Pearl Harbor, that international goodwill has been squandered to near zero. Bin Laden must be beside himself with glee. And the infidels are now walking right into the Iraq trap.
Protests against the attack on Iraq continued around the world today.
The Arab street explodes
There was fury Friday across the Muslim world. Two protestors in Yemen were killed as they tried to storm the American embassy. In Jordan, 80,000 people defied a government ban to march and police used tear gas to disperse a crowd in the city of Ma-an. In Cairo, tens of thousands of demonstrators flooded the streets after Friday prayers. Some set overturned cars alight and the police beat and arrested hundreds. In Jakarta, according to the Jakarta Post, 2,500 people protested outside the U.S. embassy, with larger protests scheduled for Sunday. And according to the BBC, thousands protested across Africa, in Bangladesh, Indian-controlled Kashmir and Pakistan, where a "million man march" is planned for Sunday.
Tony and the pixies
I'm terribly worried that you may be losing your grip on reality.
For example, a few days ago you went on television and announced that after the US has bombed Baghdad "We shall help Iraq move towards democracy."
Now I don't want to be a wet blanket, Tony, but was it a leprechaun who suggested this idea to you?
Since the Second World War, the US has bombed China, Korea, Guatemala, Indonesia, Cuba, Guatemala (again), Peru, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Guatemala (third time lucky), Grenada, Lebanon, Libya, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Iran, Panama, Iraq, Kuwait, Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia - in that order - and in not a single case did the bombing produce a democratic government as a direct result.
Why do you think it will be any different in Iraq? Or did your fairy godmother promise you this along with a golden coach?
Here you will find a small but growing collection of visual artwork that describes many different views of how medical nanorobots and other nanomedical devices and systems might appear.
thanks to Speckled paint
The wrong blueprint for Baghdad
The world's attention has shifted from the Balkans to Baghdad, but anyone tempted to trust President Bush's optimistic scenario for a future "prosperous and free" Iraq with "no more killings" should consider the real fate of Serbs, Albanians and everyone else in the former Yugoslavia since Nato forces intervened there.
Communist North Korea said on Saturday it was postponing talks with the South, blaming Seoul for beefing up defenses after U.S.-led forces launched military strikes against Iraq.
thanks to The Agonist
North Korea says tensions on the Korean peninsula have put the region on the brink of nuclear war.
thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!
More than many environmental artists, the work of Brandon Ballengée bridges the gap between research biology and art. He combines a fascination with fish and amphibians with the techniques of commercial art photography.
thanks to Speckled paint
Is anyone paying attention?
President Bush won key congressional support yesterday for his bid to make deep tax cuts, as the House narrowly approved his budget blueprint and the Senate beat back efforts to slash the tax cut package by more than half.
thanks to Cursor
An overview of the complexities that make up America in 2003.
The Other America
Is America indeed united behind this president, his bellicose foreign policy, and his dangerously simple-minded economic vision? This is another way of asking whether American identity has been settled once and for all and whether for a world that has to live with its far- reaching military power (there are American troops now in dozens of countries) there is something monolithic that the rest of the world that isn't willing to be quiescent can deal with as a sort of fixed entity lurching all over the place with the full support of all 'Americans'. I have tried to suggest another way of seeing America as indeed a troubled country with a more contested actuality than is usually ascribed to it. I think it is more accurate to apprehend America as embroiled in a serious clash of identities whose counterparts are visible as similar contests throughout the rest of the world. America may have won the Cold War, as the popular phrase has it, but the actual results of that victory within America are very far from clear, the struggle not yet over. Too much of a focus on the American executive's centralising military and political power ignores the internal dialectics that continue and are nowhere near being settled. Abortion rights and the teaching of natural evolution are still issues of unsettled contentiousness.
thanks to MetaFilter
books / opera
For God and Gilead
Some years ago, I received a curious letter. It informed me that Poul Ruders, a young Danish composer, wanted to make my novel The Handmaid's Tale into an opera. I was surprised. Actually I thought: "This person is mad." I had a brief, nightmarish vision of a line of high-kicking Handmaids revealing their beige, utilitarian undergarments while singing some variation of The Anvil Chorus. But since I was travelling to Denmark around that time, I agreed to meet with Poul Ruders and hear his case.
I recommend Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale". It might be a bit much to say that her story is coming true but it sure is prescient.
I have Zoe's pictures up of Scott Marrs' TestingTesting. Check them out and listen to the show. (For those that don't know — that's my living room in the pictures.)
Scott, Jan, Joanne, Steve, Lisa, myself, and Derek (front)
"Non-violence is not inaction.
"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster."
"Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events."
Here are sites covering the war:
After repeated boasts about "shock and awe" and MOABs and locus swarms and other horrific things soon the befall Iraq, the US has announced it is holding back that part of the campaign. This is kind of odd, since Bush promised that the armed forces would be allowed to prosecute their war unrestrained by political concerns.
Yeah, yeah, Bush was lying. But the fact of the matter is a major part of the invasion plan is now on hold. Why?
Iraq has supposedly begun blowing oil wells, with at least three reported burning near Basra. The press is playing this as economic sabotage from a spiteful Saddam, but there are military reasons for blowing the wells.
Last night, I was just speculating to myself. Today, Reuters confirms my suspicions.
By combining public optimism, a dearth of operational detail and carefully controlled news images of rapidly advancing troops, the allies aim to intimidate and befuddle the Iraqis.
But while the world watches American armored columns race deep into the country, other, messier operations are likely to be unfolding out of the public eye.
[more — way more]
thanks to BookNotes
When They Were Young
Since the birth of photography in 1839, the camera has been used to capture the human experience. For many photographers, childhood, so short-lived in terms of time but lasting in impact and memory, has been an inspiring subject. Preserving fleeting moments of youth on a glass plate or negative film allows them to be remembered and reconsidered. The pictures in this exhibition recall the spirit, vulnerability, playfulness, unpredictability, restlessness, and dignity of children throughout generations and in diverse parts of the world. From the tarnished silver surfaces of early nineteenth-century daguerreotypes, youngsters emerge like miniature adults, straining to remain motionless while their likenesses are preserved. A Civil War era carte de visite glorifies a small boy's role in that very adult conflict. At the turn of the twentieth century, studio portraits of Native American children romanticize a culture in danger of extinction, and in the early to middle decades of the 1900s, prints of children laboring in fields and factories proclaim the unjust burdens inflicted on innocent youth.
thanks to Speckled paint
Terrorism by any other name
Israel's efforts at obfuscation are intended above all to keep our conscience clean. This is false posturing that can no longer be countenanced. When the IDF demolished a mosque on the "Philadelphi" route on the outskirts of Rafah and immediately claimed that the building had been abandoned, no one asked why the mosque had been abandoned. Here is the real sequence of events: first the Gaza Strip is occupied, then settlements are established in it, then guarded roads are built to protect the settlers. In the next stage, after the Palestinians begin to rebel violently against the occupation, we begin killing them until they are forced to abandon the mosque and indeed the entire area. Finally the "abandoned" mosque is demolished. But to us it seems that only the Palestinians destroy holy places, such as Joseph's Tomb. Our conscience is pure and unblemished, always.
vietnam war art
The exhibition Vietnam: Behind the Lines - Images from the War 1965-75 (13 June - 1 December 2002, Room 91) presents an aspect of the conflict unfamiliar to a Western audience: works made by Vietnamese artists. Some were engaged in the creation of propaganda materials for the Vietnamese government, some in the recording of the war, others simply exercising a creative talent for pleasure.
thanks to MorfaBlog
This link is about the American peace activist Rachel Corrie who was crushed to death by a bulldozer as she tried to prevent the Israeli army destroying homes in the Gaza Strip. I have two previous links about her here and here.
Nathan and Barry both have more thoughtful commentary on the death of Rachel Corrie. I also received two letters in response to my comments that I think should be heard:
March 18, 2003
Chinese Papercut Online Gallery
thanks to Speckled paint
Who Lost the U.S. Budget?
The Onion describes itself as "America's finest news source," and it's not an idle boast. On Jan. 18, 2001, the satirical weekly bore the headline "Bush: Our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over," followed by this mock quotation: "We must squander our nation's hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the wealthiest 15 percent. And, on the foreign front, we must find an enemy and defeat it."
Whatever our qualms about how we got here, all Americans now hope that the foreign front proceeds according to plan. Meanwhile, let's talk about the fiscal front.
Here is the Onion article.
The Tiny Pineapple Nurse Book Collection
It started innocently enough...
My family has a tradition of picking up "unusual" books at thrift stores. (For instance, last Christmas my father received Yoga Tennis by Baba Rick Champion.) One day, my sister, Jenny, mentioned that she had accumulated quite a few nurse books. That's all it took. From then on, whenever someone came across a nurse book, they would buy it for her.
thanks to MorfaBlog
the bull in the china shop
This is an excellent analysis of America's place in the world. These are the first two installments. There is one more to come.
We are witnessing the dissolution of an international system. The core of that system, and its spiritual heart, was the North Atlantic alliance: not just the 1949 defense treaty but a penumbra of understandings and agreements beginning with the Atlantic Charter of 1941 and spreading through the United Nations and its agencies; the Bretton Woods accords and the institutions they spawned; conventions on refugees, human rights, genocide, arms control, war crimes, and much more besides. The merits of this interlocking web of transnational cooperation and engagement went well beyond the goal of containing and ultimately defeating communism. Behind the new ordering of the world lay the memory of thirty calamitous years of war, depression, domestic tyranny, and international anarchy, as those who were present at its creation fully understood. (...)
It is thus a tragedy of historical proportions that America's own leaders are today corroding and dissolving the links that bind the US to its closest allies in the international community. The US is about to make war on Iraq for reasons that remain obscure even to many of its own citizens. The war that they do understand, the war on terrorism, has been unconvincingly rolled into the charge sheet against one Arab tyrant. Washington is abuzz with big projects to redraw the map of the Middle East; meanwhile the true Middle Eastern crisis, in Israel and the Occupied Territories, has been subcontracted to Ariel Sharon. After the war, in Iraq as in Afghanistan, Palestine, and beyond, the US is going to need the help and cooperation (not to mention the checkbooks) of its major European allies; and there will be no lasting victory against Osama bin Laden or anyone else without sustained international collaboration. This is not, you might conclude, the moment for our leaders enthusiastically to set about the destruction of the Western alliance; yet that is what they are now doing. (The enthusiasm is well represented in The War over Iraq by Lawrence Kaplan and William Kristol, which I shall discuss below.)
America's foreign policy pundits are afflicted with a Kennan complex. Fifty-six years ago, in July 1947, the American journal Foreign Affairs published an essay entitled "The Sources of Soviet Conduct." The anonymous author—"X"—was George Kennan, then on the policy planning staff at the State Department. Kennan's essay developed the arguments adumbrated in his now-famous "long cable," a confidential telegraphic message sent from the US embassy in Moscow on February 22, 1946, that laid out for Kennan's bosses in Washington the background to Soviet foreign policy and recommended to Western leaders what became known as the strategy of containment. It is hard to exaggerate the influence of Kennan's brief, elegant exposition of the international situation of 1947 and its lessons for US policy: notwithstanding his modest ambitions (and to his later regret) he had written the script for the coming cold war.
Ever since, Kennan's successors in and out of the US foreign policy establishment have been struggling to match his achievement. When the cold war ended, specialists fell upon the occasion. A pattern emerged: first came an ambitious essay-length interpretation of the moment and its meaning; then, a year or two later, a much-hyped book-length extension of that essay; finally, if the author was lucky, a phrase or two that hung for a while in the ether of specialist exchanges—"the End of History," "the Clash of Civilizations" —before evaporating under the pressure of its own pretensions. Unlike Kennan, however, his would-be heirs nurse metatheoretical aspirations, whereas Kennan was building policy recommendations out of close local observation. They don't write as well as he did; and they have scant desire to hide their authorial light under the bushel of anonymity. Not surprisingly, the implicit comparison is consistently unflattering: kissed only by the shadow of Kennan's achievement, his successors—like Portia's suitors— "have but a shadow's bliss."
thanks to MorfaBlog
Dervala is on the move again — she is now traveling in Mexico. This is a great travel journal.
Of the hundreds of people I've met on this trip, almost without exception my favorites have been New Yorkers, or at least New Yorkish. It shows how provincial I am, I suppose.
Kelly and Amy adopted me in San Cristóbal. You wouldn't guess from Kelly's studenty demeanor that she's a senior public defender; three months in Guatemala has dissolved the stress of working with rapists and murderers every day back home. Amy, it turns out, is a Brooklyn Heights neighbor of mine. She advocates for immigrants and refugees, and we spent a happy evening complaining about John Ashcroft and the INS, and swapping notes on our favorite neighborhood spots.
'You go to Ferdinando's too? What about Frank's Lounge?'
After San Cristóbal we headed to Palenque together. The heat was a shock after the chill of the mountains, and I felt submerged in the thick air. We caught a taxi out of town, where foliage cover promised more bearable temperatures.
US missiles target Saddam
Mr Bush delivered a live television address shortly after explosions rocked the capital at 0534 local time (0234 GMT), signalling the start of the US-led campaign to topple Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
US military sources have told the BBC that five key members of the Iraqi regime, including Saddam Hussein, were targeted in the first attacks.
It is not known whether the targets were hit and what damage might have been caused.
Into the Darkness
An associate of mine, a former political appointee, recently spoke to a Republican friend of his who serves in a senior position in what has become the Office of Homeland Security. He reports that this official, along with many of his colleagues across the political spectrum within the apparatus of government, are absolutely terrified of George W. Bush. According to this official, the consensus is that Bush has completely lost touch with reality, and is bringing us to a place where politics will no longer matter.
A London newspaper, the Guardian, has quoted a source close to the administration as saying, "This has been the worst diplomatic debacle of our lifetime." A senior White House official is also quoted as saying, in a voice reportedly awash with sarcasm, "There's a recognition that this has not been our finest diplomatic hour."
There is no calculating the understatement here. There was never any diplomacy involved here to begin with. This has been a disaster, and it is about to get worse by orders of magnitude.
thanks to BookNotes
Arrogance of Power
I believe in this beautiful country. I have studied its roots and gloried in the wisdom of its magnificent Constitution. I have marveled at the wisdom of its founders and framers. Generation after generation of Americans has understood the lofty ideals that underlie our great Republic. I have been inspired by the story of their sacrifice and their strength.
But, today I weep for my country. I have watched the events of recent months with a heavy, heavy heart. No more is the image of America one of strong, yet benevolent peacekeeper. The image of America has changed. Around the globe, our friends mistrust us, our word is disputed, our intentions are questioned.
In the military world, size does indeed matter.
It is not so much the numbers of troops or tanks that counts. It is the way units and weapons systems are put together to provide what the military call "combat power".
Despite all the adjectives and hyperbole about the scale of the current US and British deployment in the Gulf, the simple fact is that this is rather a small force with which to contemplate a full-scale invasion of a country the size of Iraq
U.S. President George W. Bush sent Congress a formal justification for invading Iraq Wednesday, citing the attacks on the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001.
thanks to BookNotes
Even if there is absolutely no link.
My own sweeping generalization is thus: the very modern, intelligent, very educated, ivory-tower reviewers of literature are made distinctly uncomfortable by war and combat as themes, and the more in-your-face it is in a book, the more uncomfortable they get. So they try very hard to ignore it. When at all possible, they’d rather just not go there. Because, I think, it IS all a great surprise to them. The side of humanity that survives the stress of looming combat by having mass faux fieldfucks is very foreign to these people, and they don’t want to write about it or frankly even think about it. So they don’t. Until those times, like right now, when they have to because they can’t avoid it. And then they seem surprised at how filthy dirty it all is.
It’s funny to me, and I think it’s the same underlying reason why intelligent, well-educated people have allowed our leaders to take us to this point: because they have no knowledge of how bad war really is.
It really is that bad.
thanks to Eschaton
THE MORON MAJORITY
Decades of budget cuts in education are finally yielding results, a fact confirmed by CNN's poll of March 16, which shows that an astonishing 51 percent of the public believe that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was responsible for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
There is no reason to think that. None. True, George W. Bush has asserted the existence of indirect links between low-level Al Qaeda operatives and Iraqi intelligence officials--a lame lie repeatedly denied by the CIA--but even our professional prevaricator has never gone so far as to accuse Saddam of direct involvement in 9-11. Despite their increasingly tenuous grasp on reality, not even the Bush Administration's most fervent hawks deny that the secular dictator of Iraq is a mortal enemy of the Islamist extremists of Al Qaeda. No mainstream media outlet has ever reported otherwise.
So why do these pinheads think such a thing?
thanks to follow me here...
there is still nothing happening im baghdad we can only hear distant expolsions and there still is no all clear siren. someone in the BBC said that the state radio has been overtaken by US broadcast, that didn't happen the 3 state broadcasters still operate.
air raid sirens in baghdad but the only sounds you can here are the anti-aircraft machine guns. will go now.
"the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do."
The MUQARNAS is a three dimentional decoration of Islam architecture. From time immemorial the beauty of MUQARNAS was related by travellers and writers, but descriptions of it were brief introductions, so it's birth and detail design were not detailed.
I have gathered 450 MUQARNAS which range from complicated brick works such as squincharch and starbalt found in Persia in the 10th centurt to Stalactites designed by Gaudy in Balthelona at the end of 19th century. Then I have compared and classified them by making ceiling drawing.
thanks to Speckled paint
As the war approaches, Palestinian fears rise
F., a Ramallah resident, laughs in consternation as she relates her nightmare. It is not complicated to identify its sources: as the war approaches, the street is full of fears, rumors and terrifying assessments. Mass deportation is one scenario that comes up in conversations on the street, in the grocery stores, and in living rooms in front of the television set, and it arouses real fear. How will this happen? While the whole world is concentrating on what is happening in Iraq, people think, there will be a heavier media blackout than usual on what the Israel Defense Forces does in the Palestinian territories, and who can guarantee that there will be no deportation under cover of the blackout?
Working with new evidence and a trove of re-examined relics, many of them recovered from the basement of a Yale museum here, archaeologists have revised their thinking about the significance of Machu Picchu, the most famous "lost city" of the Incas.
The new interpretation comes more than 90 years after the explorer Hiram Bingham III bushwhacked his way to a high ridge in the Andes of Peru and beheld a dreamscape out of the pre-Columbian past.
There, set against looming peaks cloaked in snow and wreathed in cloud, was Machu Picchu. Before his eyes, rising from the green undergrowth of neglect, were the imperial stones that have entranced and mystified visitors and scholars alike.
Rachel's last mail
Hi papa, thank you for your email. I feel like sometimes I spend all my time propagandising mom, and assuming she'll pass stuff on to you, so you get neglected. Don't worry about me too much, right now I am most concerned that we are not being effective. I still don't feel particularly at risk. Rafah has seemed calmer lately, maybe because the military is preoccupied with incursions in the north - still shooting and house demolitions - one death this week that I know of, but not any larger incursions. Still can't say how this will change if and when war with Iraq comes.
Here is an earlier post with her other emails.
Israeli forces fired teargas and stun grenades yesterday in an attempt to break up a memorial service for Rachel Corrie, the American peace activist killed by an army bulldozer in Gaza on Sunday.
"The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction."
thanks to abuddhas memes
In the summer of 1962 the prestigious New Yorker magazine published excerpts from a sensational new book by Rachel Carson, America's bestselling science writer and a former marine biologist and editor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In Silent Spring Carson argued that humankind was fatally tampering with nature by its reckless misuse of chemical pesticides, particularly the ubiquitous new wonder chemical DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloro-ethane). Writing in a language which everyone could understand and using the public's knowledge of atomic fallout as a reference point, Carson described how chlorinated hydrocarbons and organic phosphorus insecticides silently altered the cellular processes of plants, animals, and possibly humans. In riveting chapters on the contamination of soil, water, vegetation, birds, and wildlife, Carson suggested that the longterm effects of these chemicals were detrimental to the continuation of life. Carson's book warned of a time when bird song would be silenced and spring barren if one species, humans, did not reconsider its careless use of these chemicals. Such arrogance could only end in the destruction of the living world. "Can anyone believe it is possible to lay down such a barrage of poisons on the surface of the earth without making it unfit for all life?," she asked. "They should not be called `insecticides' but `biocides.'"
thanks to abuddhas memes
republicans screw the veterans again
Republicans Seek To Slash VA Budget!
Today the House of Representatives will vote on a resolution that if passed will devastate the Veterans Administration's budget and severely reduce its medical, disability, and benefit programs. On the verge of war in Iraq, the Republican Paty has placed in its cross-hairs American veterans from earlier wars.
thanks to BookNotes
This blog has links to galleries of China pictures. Also entries on life in China. A little window into another world.
thanks to boingboing
This site is designed for English learners to keep a database of things that they have learned. Every day, I come across a few troubles with English. I usually ask people around me for answers, but a few months later I forget them. Since this is a web-based database, I can store tidbits that I learn every day from anywhere. If I come across the same problem again, I can look it up, so I would not have to bother anyone about it.
thanks to MetaFilter
This is a great site for those of us who think they already know English.
As many of you are aware, photoblogs were not added in as a category in the bloggies this year. It was a big surprise as the photoblogging community has rapidly grown in the past twelve months. I definitely thought there was a niche here that needed to be filled, at least for this year. After a little push from Marc North and a bit of contemplation, I have decided to do my own awards, The Photobloggies. I thought it was important to recognize the amazing work of others in our photoblogging community over the past year.
thanks to Spitting Image
And the winner is...
P H O T O B L O G O F T H E Y E A R
Peaceblogs.org is a site devoted to making connections between bloggers who oppose the impending war against Iraq. Regardless of your ideology or political affiliation, your nation of origin, or the size or scope of your site, if you oppose the war and use your weblog to express that opposition, your site is welcome among our listings.
thanks to BookNotes
I've started to teach a class this afternoon, about creating weblogs, at the Youth Center in Langley. I have three high school students and we will be meeting once a week for the rest of the school year. I should be picking up more students as time goes on. I will be using the weblog as a tool to teach them about designing web sites. Spreading the blog meme. So, welcome to the blogosphere to Christian, Zach, and Jason.
Following President Bush's 48-hour ultimatum to Mr. Hussein, United States Army and Marine divisions rolled toward the Iraqi frontier today. They formed a broad arc of thousands of vehicles, shoulder to shoulder in a sprawling phalanx facing north and visible to journalists scouting the area.
This is a Human Security project to establish an independent and comprehensive public database of civilian deaths in Iraq resulting directly from military actions by the USA and its allies in 2003. Results and totals are continually updated and made immediately available on this page and on various IBC counters which may be freely displayed on any website, where they will be automatically updated without further intervention. Casualty figures are derived from a comprehensive survey of online media reports. Where these sources report differing figures, the range (a minimum and a maximum) are given. All results are independently reviewed and error-checked by at least three members of the Iraq Body Count project team before publication.
First-person account of a solo journalist's life on the front lines of war.
Things to Come
Of course we'll win on the battlefield, probably with ease. I'm not a military expert, but I can do the numbers: the most recent U.S. military budget was $400 billion, while Iraq spent only $1.4 billion.
What frightens me is the aftermath — and I'm not just talking about the problems of postwar occupation. I'm worried about what will happen beyond Iraq — in the world at large, and here at home.
The members of the Bush team don't seem bothered by the enormous ill will they have generated in the rest of the world. They seem to believe that other countries will change their minds once they see cheering Iraqis welcome our troops, or that our bombs will shock and awe the whole world (not just the Iraqis) or that what the world thinks doesn't matter. They're wrong on all counts.
Let's take a look at how many soldiers it takes or has taken to keep the peace in some of the world's leading trouble spots. The British Army in 1995 kept 19,000 troops in Northern Ireland to control a population of 1.6 million. That's one soldier for every 84 residents. If a similar ratio were applied to Iraq, the United States and its allies would need an occupation force of 285,000 troops.
In 1995, we had an international force of 60,000 to control the 4 million inhabitants of unhappy Bosnia. At that ratio, we would need 360,000 soldiers to occupy and control Iraq. In Kosovo, 50,000 soldiers now keep the peace among 2 million. Apply that formula to Iraq and you need an occupation force of 600,000.
What Shinseki was, in essence, saying was that unless a sizeable force of allies join us in Iraq, the peacekeeping effort there could employ virtually the entire deployable Army and Marine Corps.
Which, given the state of the world in which we live and the vagaries of North Korea's dear leader Kim Jong Il, not to mention Iraq's neighbors in Iran, is a truly scary scenario.
Reconstruction reality check
Q: What is the country most likely to supply weapons of mass destruction to terrorists? A: Russia.
Just thought we ought to keep a grip on reality here. It gets harder when one finds a headline like this on the front page of The Wall Street Journal: "Bush Has an Audacious Plan to Rebuild Iraq Within a Year."
How does he plan to do that? Privatize the job, what else?
Yesterday, Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old senior at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., was killed by Israeli soldiers in the Rafah Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip.
Corrie was run over -- and run over again, when the army bulldozer backed up over her a second time -- as she tried to prevent soldiers from demolishing a Palestinian home in the camp. She was in Palestine as a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), among the most prominent of several nonviolent groups that in the last year have been bringing international activists -- primarily Americans and Europeans -- to work as peacekeepers: witnessing Israeli treatment of Palestinians, trying to provide assistance to Palestinian civilians wanting accompaniment as a form of protection against the Israelis, and afterwards bringing the stories of what they see back home to their own countries.
Hi friends and family, and others,
I have been in Palestine for two weeks and one hour now, and I still have very few words to describe what I see. It is most difficult for me to think about what's going on here when I sit down to write back to the United States. Something about the virtual portal into luxury. I don't know if many of the children here have ever existed without tank-shell holes in their walls and the towers of an occupying army surveying them constantly from the near horizons. I think, although I'm not entirely sure, that even the smallest of these children understand that life is not like this everywhere. An eight-year-old was shot and killed by an Israeli tank two days before I got here, and many of the children murmur his name to me - Ali - or point at the posters of him on the walls. The children also love to get me to practice my limited Arabic by asking me, "Kaif Sharon?" "Kaif Bush?" and they laugh when I say, "Bush Majnoon", "Sharon Majnoon" back in my limited arabic. (How is Sharon? How is Bush? Bush is crazy. Sharon is crazy.) Of course this isn't quite what I believe, and some of the adults who have the English correct me: "Bush mish Majnoon" ... Bush is a businessman. Today I tried to learn to say, "Bush is a tool", but I don't think it translated quite right. But anyway, there are eight-year-olds here much more aware of the workings of the global power structure than I was just a few years ago.
I got a number of very thoughtful responses to the email I sent out last night, most of which I don't have time to respond to right now. Thanks everyone for the encouragement, questions, criticism. Daniel's response was particularly inspiring to me and deserves to be shared. The resistance of Israeli Jewish people to the occupation and the enormous risk taken by those refusing to serve in the Israeli military offers an example, especially for those of us living in the United States, of how to behave when you discover that atrocities are being commited in your name. Thank you.
What a strange time. Last night's TestingTesting started 2 hours after Bush's call to war. Everyone had that on their mind during the show. It was a good show and Scott Marrs has gotten better since we saw him last. (Listen to the archive of the show.)
Scott, Jan, Joanne, Steve, Lissa, Gordy, and Derek (front)
When the show was over everyone started to sing Where Have all the Flowers Gone. The room was full of the song and the anger and the frustration from the insanity pouring from the White House. Everyone stayed later after the show than they usually do. It was a time of being with good friends when the world is turning to shit. Lots of playing, talking, and hugs. What can you say? Everything is sucking, big time.
Second resolution withdrawn
The US and Britain today abandoned hopes of gaining international approval for a war on Iraq, withdrawing a draft resolution as it became clear that it faced certain death in the security council.
The US said that the move meant "the diplomatic window has been closed". (...)
After the announcement, the White House said that the president, George Bush, would address his nation on television at 8pm (0100 GMT). He is expected to demand that the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, leave the country or face an attack.
thanks to Eschaton
George W. Bush
Dear Governor Bush:
So today is what you call "the moment of truth," the day that "France and the rest of world have to show their cards on the table." I'm glad to hear that this day has finally arrived. Because, I gotta tell ya, having survived 440 days of your lying and conniving, I wasn't sure if I could take much more. So I'm glad to hear that today is Truth Day, 'cause I got a few truths I would like to share with you:
1. There is virtually NO ONE in America (talk radio nutters and Fox News aside) who is gung-ho to go to war. Trust me on this one. Walk out of the White House and on to any street in America and try to find five people who are PASSIONATE about wanting to kill Iraqis. YOU WON'T FIND THEM! Why? 'Cause NO Iraqis have ever come here and killed any of us! No Iraqi has even threatened to do that. You see, this is how we average Americans think: If a certain so-and-so is not perceived as a threat to our lives, then, believe it or not, we don't want to kill him! Funny how that works!
2. The majority of Americans -- the ones who never elected you -- are not fooled by your weapons of mass distraction. We know what the real issues are that affect our daily lives -- and none of them begin with I or end in Q. Here's what threatens us: two and a half million jobs lost since you took office, the stock market having become a cruel joke, no one knowing if their retirement funds are going to be there, gas now costs almost two dollars -- the list goes on and on. Bombing Iraq will not make any of this go away. Only you need to go away for things to improve.
3. As Bill Maher said last week, how bad do you have to suck to lose a popularity contest with Saddam Hussein? The whole world is against you, Mr. Bush. Count your fellow Americans among them.
Scott Marrs is the special guest tonight on TestingTesting. Click on in (7pm (pacific)) for another evening of fine living room music from my very own living room.
President Bush and the leaders of Britain and Spain issued an ultimatum to the United Nations Security Council today, declaring that the diplomatic effort to win support for disarming Iraq would end on Monday. They made it clear that they were ready to start a war to depose Saddam Hussein, with or without the endorsement of the United Nations.
Let's see — if the diplomacy is successful, we will have a war. If the diplomacy is not successful, we will have a war. Am I missing something?
With Ears and Eyes Closed
The president's mind was made up long ago and all the chatter pro and con was just so much smoke in the wind. Mr. Bush will have his war.
Last night was a time of sadness around the world as people who think that war should always be a last resort lit candles to express their sorrow, their frustration and, however unrealistically, their last faint flickerings of hope.
The Bush administration's audacious plan to rebuild Iraq (news - web sites) envisions a sweeping overhaul of Iraqi society within a year of a war's end, but leaves much of the work to private U.S. companies, Monday's Wall Street Journal reported.
This is complete lunacy.
Recrimination at the failure of US diplomacy has begun in Washington, one source close to the administration admitting yesterday: "This has been the worst American diplomatic debacle of our lifetime."
Let the blame begin.
A skull is a machine — one designed by nature nearly 500 million years ago to protect the brain and sensory organs in vertebrate animals. A model of mechanical efficiency, each of the skull’s features is built to support specific functions, including food procurement and processing, optimal sensory intake, and impact absorption. Based on the architecture of an animal’s skull, scientists can deduce many of its dietary and social patterns.
thanks to Geisha asobi blog
All mention of an "independent" Palestinian state has been eliminated in Israel's response to the "road map" prepared by the Quartet - the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia.
An "independent" Palestinian state, which would be initially established along temporary borders, is replaced with "certain attributes of sovereignty" and any such state is required to be "credible" and "law abiding."
"Why do you think that Sharon may exploit the American attack on Iraq in order to carry out transfer in the occupied territories?" a journalist asked me, after we published a warning to this effect in his paper. "Aren't you crying wolf?"
I could have given him the list of quotations from members of the present government, who openly advocate the mass expulsion of Palestinians. I could have cited rumors. I could have told him that a creeping transfer is going on all the time, by making the life of the inhabitants intolerable through wholesale destruction of homes, closure, curfew and starvation. But I preferred to tell him about some occurrences to which I was an eye-witness in the past.
Popular objections to Arafat's move stem from two sources. First, Palestinians rightly ask of which political entity Abbas will be prime minister. Palestinians in the Occupied Territories live under direct, Israeli military rule, and therefore are not citizens of the state that rules them, or any other state. Indeed, they are the largest group of non-citizens on the planet, completely disenfranchised in a world of nation-states. Introducing someone described as a "prime minister" under these circumstances is simply ridiculous.
It will not change in any way the power equation between the Palestinian people and their de facto rulers. No matter what nominal powers are conferred on a Palestinian "prime minister," he will have no ability to counteract any of the crushing measures Israel is taking against the civilian population. Respected Palestinian physician Dr. Haider Abdel Shafi was certainly reflecting widespread sentiment when he told The New York Times that, "My feeling is that people are not at all excited," about the appointment of a prime minister, since "it's seen as compliance with outside pressure, not part of our real needs." (10 March 2003)
The Swedish mycologist Elias Fries (1794-1878) initiated and supervised the production of a large number of paintings of fungi. Several artists were involved in the project and 1640 taxa were depicted. Some of the plates were published in Sveriges ätliga och giftiga svampar (Edible and poisonous fungi of Sweden, 1860-1868) and Icones selectae hymenomycetum (1867-1884). Many of the original water colour paintings are kept at the Swedish Museum of Natural History. Here we show a small selection of these pictures.
thanks to dublog
thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!
Fairly representative is an op-ed piece from Le Monde, France's top newspaper. It asseses Fox News, and the tone is one of mild amusement and not a little disdain. (...)
Every evening, more than a million Americans watch Fox News, the cable channel that dethroned CNN (available in France on TPS). It is the favorite channel of American conservatives, the one who says "we" ("our soldiers ", " our forces ", " our troops ") and likes lambasting Frenchmen. I spent a good part of the afternoon and all evening Wednesday watching Fox News. It is a trying experience, because whatever the subject, the presenters give the impression of commenting on a particularly tight horse race. They all have an overexcited tone. The viewer has no chance of dozing off, due to a spirited amosphere marked by rapid sequences.
Every 15 minutes, we also get world weather bulletins. A moment of respite? No way! The temperature chart is accompanied with thundering music, always the same, which could be used to mark the entry of a line of deaf circus elephants. For the inattentive, banners summarize the current broadcast.
thanks to CalPundit
Everything about the situation in N. Korea indicates that things are only going to get worse. The good news is that most observers agree that conflict between the North and the South, whether in the form of border incursions or a full scale renewal of war, would only happen in the event of a miscalculation by one or both sides. The bad news is that the situation is ripe for miscalculation.
thanks to Speckled paint
war against europe
Clash of Civilizations
But both these kinds of interventions (Bosnia and Iraq), as well as more conventional conflicts, would require of Europe some things it does not have: a rapid reaction force and a will to use it. In the late 1990s, Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac called for establishing such a force, but Europe's attention has been directed inward, and no such force as yet exists. What's more telling is that the United States, for all its claims that it would like more allies, is dead set against such a force. Indeed, as the Cato Institute's Christopher Layne has noted, the United States is arguing that each European nation should develop some niche military capability rather than have Europe develop an autonomous force. By the same token, the United States encouraged the European Union to expand eastward in hopes that the new nations would bring perspectives widely variant from those of the western states. It has also voiced concerns that in the preliminary plans for a European Constitution, individual nations will not be able to veto a foreign policy agreed upon by a majority vote. The White House's ability to pick off a Blair here, a Berlusconi there, would be totally undermined.
In short, the United States has been conducting a preemptive war against a unified Europe for some time now.
Flaws in the Afghan model
In short, the situation in Afghanistan, according to media reports and human rights organizations, is rapidly reverting to what it was during the period of Taliban rule. For example, the "Islamic Morality Police," who operate on the streets of Kabul, are seizing men and women who do not behave according to the rules of Islam. A judge who was appointed by Karzai ruled this week that cable television must be prohibited because it is contrary to the Islamic faith. The lopping off of organs - which has again become a form of punishment in the provinces - along with public flogging by policemen and torture of prisoners no longer draw public attention. Refugees who returned home suffer discrimination, and the new constitution, which is currently being formulated, will include harsh religious elements that are little different from those that guided the Taliban authorities.
Can anyone remind me what it was we were trying to accomplish by killing serveral thousand Afghans?
It's been an intense 24 hours of listening to, and talking about, live music
This is not your normal cello player. It was a wonderful show. It was also the first show at Robbie and Marni's new house. Robbie is also a recording engineer and built a recording studio on one end of the house. It's spectacular. We hope to do more at Robbie and Marni's. There will be pictures.
Scott and Janet Marrs arrived from Minneapolis Friday (Scott will be on Monday's TestingTesting) and joined us at Gideon's show. Scott is planning to return for a house concert at Robbie and Marni's in September.
Zoe and I hadn't seen Scott for over two years and this was the first time meeting Janet. We spent the day eating and site seeing while carrying on conversations about the travails of the migrant musician and why are we producing these shows anyway? We solved all the world's problems too. I don't know why the world leaders don't ask us. Be sure to click on in Monday night to hear Scott.