it's a sign!
thanks to The J-Walk Weblog
We are all alone. There’s no other way to put it. With the attack on the Italian installation in Nasiriyah, the Japanese and the South Koreans are now balking on earlier pledges of troops. They haven’t exactly pulled the plug on a possible deployment. But they’re really jiggling the plug in the socket.
The number of troops involved is minor compared to the scope of the operation. Japan had pledged 150 troops and then planned to build that force to 700 early next year. They now say they’re unlikely to send anyone this calendar year. And it doesn’t look much like they plan to send anyone at all. They seem to be, shall we say, letting us down easy.
Meanwhile, the nearly 500 South Korean troops stationed near Nasiriyah have been confined to their compound till further notice. And, as the Washington Post reports, “South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun rebuffed a U.S. request for a substantial increase in the number of troops his government has pledged to send to Iraq, instructing officials at a Cabinet meeting Tuesday to keep the figure to 3,000 or less, according to a spokesman today.”
In this whole unfortunate business, the White House took our preeminence and mistook it for omnipotence or something near to it. And by treating our preeminence as omnipotence they’ve put our preeminence into question.
The White House yesterday drew up emergency plans to accelerate the transfer of power in Iraq after being shown a devastating CIA report warning that the guerrilla war was in danger of escalating out of US control.
The report, an "appraisal of situation" commissioned by the CIA director, George Tenet, and written by the CIA station chief in Baghdad, said that the insurgency was gaining ground among the population, and already numbers in the tens of thousands.
One military intelligence assessment now estimates the insurgents' strength at 50,000. Analysts cautioned that such a figure was speculative, but it does indicate a deep-rooted revolt on a far greater scale than the Pentagon had led the administration to believe.
An intelligence source in Washington familiar with the CIA report described it as a "bleak assessment that the resistance is broad, strong and getting stronger".
"It says we are going to lose the situation unless there is a rapid and dramatic change of course," the source said.
Two quotes of the day ..
If the policy is to more rapidly Iraqify the situation -- as in Vietnamization during the Vietnam War -- then that is another version of cutting and running. One way to cut and run is to simply say we're pulling out. Another is to prematurely turn over security to Iraqi forces and draw down American forces. That's a near-term prescription for disaster.
No doubt about it. We are in a really bad position. We should have given our operation a stronger and more
durable international footing when we could act from a position of relative strength in the spring and early summer. We should also have created a road-map for the transition to at least nominal Iraqi sovereignty that was clear, predictable, and rapid.
But things which make sense when done with consideration and from a position of strength don't necessarily make sense when done at gunpoint. Let's not fool ourselves. The calculus at the White House is being driven by an effort to ward off a potential political transition in the United States rather than an effort to lay the groundwork for one in Iraq. This is political -- as many of the original architects of this war are now realizing and ruing.
Iraq's governing council is to meet Paul Bremer, the US administrator in Baghdad, tomorrow to craft a radical change to political plans that would see the rapid creation of a transitional government.
I have to post this fast. The electrical situation has been hellish today. There's no schedule… in our area the electricity is on 30 minutes for every two hours of no electricity. People suspect it's a sort of punishment for what happened in Nassiryah this morning and the bombings in Baghdad this last week. There were also some huge explosions today- the troops got hit by mortars, I think, and retaliated by bombing something.
Also, Mohammed Bahr Ul Iloom was shot at today. Bahr Ul Iloom is one of the Shia clerics (a 'rotating president') and the father of the Minister of Oil. He was unharmed, it seems, but his driver is wounded. While I'm sure Bahr Ul Iloom would love to blame it on loyalists, Ba'athists and Al-Qaeda, the shots actually came from American troops- it was a 'mistake'. Oops.
thanks to Conscientious
This is a long and excellent piece by the late Edward Said. A must read.
Dignity, Solidarity and the Penal Colony
Perhaps the one thing that strikes me as the low point in Arab inability to grasp the dignity of the Palestinian cause is expressed by the current state of the Palestinian Authority. Abu Mazen, a subordinate figure with little political support among his own people, was picked for the job by Arafat, Israel and the US precisely because he has no constituency, is not an orator or a great organizer, or anything really except a dutiful aide to Yasser Arafat, and because I am afraid they see in him a man who will do Israel's bidding. How could even Abu Mazen stand there in Aqaba to pronounce words written for him, like a ventriloquist's puppet, by some State Department functionary, in which he commendably speaks about Jewish suffering but then amazingly says next to nothing about his own people's suffering at the hands of Israel? How could he accept so undignified and manipulated a role for himself, and how could he forget his self-respect as the representative of a people that has been fighting heroically for its rights for over a century just because the US and Israel have told him he must? And when Israel simply says that there will be a "provisional" Palestinian state, without any contrition for the horrendous amount of damage it has done, the uncountable war crimes, the sheer sadistic, systematic humiliation of every single Palestinian, man, woman, child, I must confess to a complete lack of understanding as to why a leader or representative of that people doesn't so much as take note of it. Has he entirely lost his sense of dignity?
thanks to Aron's Israel Peace Weblog
While Israeli ministers and Jewish activists continue to describe every criticism of Israel - such as a problematic public opinion poll showing that Europeans see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the greatest threat to world peace - liberal Jewish circles in the West are facing a different political threat.
Recently, several articles appearing in the West (most of them written by Jewish commentators) questioned whether it was a mistake to establish the State of Israel along ethnic lines - as a Jewish state. The settlements, it has been written, have ended any possibility of geographic separation between Jews and Palestinians, and therefore the remaining solution, in practice, is to establish a binational state.
The 2004 Election
Israel stands today at an important crossroads, trying to decide which of three roads it will travel.
If it chooses one road, the United States will be able to walk proudly alongside Israel as its friend, ally and, if necessary, its protector against any that threaten its security.
But if Israel chooses either of the remaining two routes, it will repudiate the shared values and strategic interests that have united Israelis and Americans for decades. Those Americans who count themselves as friends of Israel have an obligation to make that danger clear.
thanks to Cursor
Zionism as a Racist Ideology
When a powerful state kills hundreds of civilians from another ethnic group; confiscates their land; builds vast housing complexes on that land for the exclusive use of its own nationals; builds roads on that land for the exclusive use of its own nationals; prevents expansion of the other people's neighborhoods and towns; demolishes on a massive scale houses belonging to the other people, in order either to prevent that people's population growth, to induce them "voluntarily" to leave their land altogether, or to provide "security" for its own nationals; imprisons the other people in their own land behind checkpoints, roadblocks, ditches, razor wire, electronic fences, and concrete walls; squeezes the other people into ever smaller, disconnected segments of land; cripples the productive capability of the other people by destroying or separating them from their agricultural land, destroying or confiscating their wells, preventing their industrial expansion, and destroying their businesses; imprisons the leadership of the other people and threatens to expel or assassinate that leadership; destroys the security forces and the governing infrastructure of the other people; destroys an entire population's census records, land registry records, and school records; vandalizes the cultural headquarters and the houses of worship of the other people by urinating, defecating, and drawing graffiti on cultural and religious artifacts and symbols when one people does these things to another, a logical person can draw only one conclusion: the powerful state is attempting to destroy the other people, to push them into the sea, to ethnically cleanse them.
"We Didn't Know" Will be No Excuse
Israel's occupation of the Palestinian Territories passed through a profound transformation during the last several months. Through a series of policy changes and military orders, the West Bank "security fence" has gradually revealed itself to be the backbone of a comprehensive new system of land theft, imprisonment, collective punishment...and worse. The question is not whether it is a "political fence" or a "security fence", but whether it is an engine of ethnic cleansing.
Charles Weever Cushman, amateur photographer and Indiana University alumnus, bequeathed approximately 14,500 Kodachrome color slides to his alma mater. The photographs in this collection bridge a thirty-two year span from 1938 to 1969, during which time he extensively documented the United States as well as other countries.
Two little Indians - Vancouver Island, Sep. 1938
thanks to The Cartoonist
anyone but bush
They plan to raise 200 million in soft money and run attacks ads against Bush in 17 swing states. George Soros has kicked in 10 million in start-up money; Ellen Malcolm of Emily's List, 20 million. There is little doubt they can raise 200 million.
The Right is getting alarmed by this, they know what's coming and it scares them, as well it should. Soros is a multi-billionaire with a social conscience who says Bush is a menace to the planet. Through currency speculation Soros has tanked currencies of entire countries, so it can be assumed he knows how to play hardball. And now he is focusing on defeating George Bush.
Soros's Deep Pockets vs. Bush
George Soros, one of the world's richest men, has given away nearly $5 billion to promote democracy in the former Soviet bloc, Africa and Asia. Now he has a new project: defeating President Bush.
"It is the central focus of my life," Soros said, his blue eyes settled on an unseen target. The 2004 presidential race, he said in an interview, is "a matter of life and death."
Soros, who has financed efforts to promote open societies in more than 50 countries around the world, is bringing the fight home, he said. On Monday, he and a partner committed up to $5 million to MoveOn.org, a liberal activist group, bringing to $15.5 million the total of his personal contributions to oust Bush.
Overnight, Soros, 74, has become the major financial player of the left. He has elicited cries of foul play from the right. And with a tight nod, he pledged: "If necessary, I would give more money."
"America, under Bush, is a danger to the world," Soros said. Then he smiled: "And I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is."
Asked whether he would trade his $7 billion fortune to unseat Bush, Soros opened his mouth. Then he closed it. The proposal hung in the air: Would he become poor to beat Bush?
He said, "If someone guaranteed it."
Roger Fenton's Crimean War photographs represent one of the earliest systematic attempts to document a war through the medium of photography. Fenton, who spent fewer than four months in the Crimea (March 8 to June 26, 1855), produced 360 photographs under extremely trying conditions. While these photographs present a substantial documentary record of the participants and the landscape of the war, there are no actual combat scenes, nor are there any scenes of the devastating effects of war.
The valley of the shadow of death
thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!
bush the menace
David Neiwert starts another series that is not to be missed...
The record is unmistakable: George W. Bush's presidency has been an unmitigated disaster from nearly the day he took office, and it has compounded exponentially with every week the man occupies it. Even if he is defeated in 2004, Americans will be paying the price for his spectacularly misbegotten ascension to the nation's highest office at one of the most critical junctures in history for years, perhaps even generations, to come. Which makes the thought of him winning election for the first time, thereby handing him another four years in which to deepen the problems beyond the point of recovery, even more chilling.
Bush's tenure to date has comprised three of the most tumultuous and divisive in American history, and his responsibility for the chaos is inescapable. The image of Bush ducking under his desk while the Capitol burns behind him may have been funny in November 2000, but in November 2003, it is all too real.
Viewers may remember that in contrast, the same Saturday Night Live skit also showed "our possible future" under President Al Gore: A schoolmarmish Gore lecturing Americans on economics, while Bill Clinton wanders in and out of the picture. Annoying, tedious, boring.
If only we had been so lucky.
Dogon Village, Mali 1990
thanks to Conscientious
Frightening winds swirl around the House of Saud
Osama bin Laden has an awful lot of friends in Saudi Arabia. In the mosque, among the disenchanted youth, among the security forces, even - and this is what the West declines to discuss - within the royal family.
Saudi ambassadors routinely dismiss these facts as "unfounded", but Sunday's attack in the capital, Riyadh, is part of a growing insurrection against Bin Laden's enemies in the House of Saud.
Whether or not the bombers were Saudi security force members - they were certainly wearing Saudi military uniforms - the Riyadh Government's own "war on terror" is now provoking bombings, gun battles and killings almost every day in the kingdom.
The deadly bomb attack on a housing complex in Riyadh represents the latest battle between the Saudi Arabian monarchy and its armed opponents in a war to eliminate the other.
thanks to Information Clearing House
Fears were growing last night that the bombing that killed at least 17 people in Saudi Arabia could herald a new wave of attacks by al-Qaeda sympathisers throughout the Middle East.
Anonymous postings on Arabic websites over the past three to four weeks have hinted at "a wave of violence coming on quite a big scale", Saudi dissident Saad al-Fagih said yesterday.
thanks to Information Clearing House
[ca. 1869] - [ca.1920]
13.7 m of graphic materials (ca. 15,000 photographs)
Notman Studio, Halifax opened in 1869, the fourth branch studio of the photographic firm established by William Notman at Montreal in 1856.
Cable ship MacKay-Bennett in dry dock, Halifax [ca.1890]
thanks to wood s lot
Tony Blair was struggling last night to prevent anti-war protesters from causing a full-scale security crisis during President George Bush's state visit to London next week.
Those opposed to the war in Iraq have been urged to breach security at Buckingham Palace during the president's three-day stay, during which he will be the guest of the Queen.
Separately, the Stop The War Coalition, which is organising a series of protests, said that, despite police plans to set up an exclusion zone, it would demand the right to march down Whitehall.
Yesterday Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, encouraged the anti-war protests by saying he had arranged a Peace Reception for prominent opponents of the war and subsequent "occupation" of Iraq, next Wednesday midway through the president's stay.
thanks to BookNotes
thanks to BookNotes
This site intends to survey all of the signs in New York City from 14th Street to 42nd Street.
Metro Bicycles, 332 E. 14th St. at 1st Ave. (1986)
thanks to The J-Walk Weblog
On a recent Friday afternoon, the Interior Department announced a change in rules for US mining companies. (They always announce the outrages on Friday afternoon, because few people read the Saturday papers or watch the Saturday TV news.) Reversing a Clinton-era decision, Interior now says that companies mining precious metals can appropriate as much federal land as they want to dump the waste from their operations—and modern mining techniques generate a great deal of waste. Environmentalists were appalled, not just because of the direct effect on the landscape, but because chemicals can leach out of the exposed waste, polluting a much wider area.
To understand why and how officials made that decision—and why we needn't waste time parsing the administration's claims that it was all about promoting economic growth—it helps to have read Chapter 9 of Bushwhacked, by Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose. That chapter, entitled "Dick, Dubya, and Wyoming Methane," tells you all you need to know about the Bush Interior Department. We learn, in particular, that J. Steven Griles, the deputy secretary—and probably the real power in the department—has spent his career shuttling back and forth between being a government official and lobbying for the extractive industries. And he has never worried much about ethical niceties—little things like recusing himself from decisions that affect his former clients. Moreover, Griles isn't likely to be disciplined, even when he brazenly supports industry interests over the judgments of government experts. After all, just about every other senior official at Interior, including Secretary Gale Norton, has a similar résumé.
The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia is both a real place and a virtual site. The actual museum is located on the campus of Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan. Dr. John Thorp, Social Sciences division head, schedules all tours. He can be contacted at (231) 591-5873, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. We recognize that some people are unable to visit the Jim Crow Museum; therefore, we have created this brief virtual tour of the museum.
thanks to Politics in the Zeros
I look around this country and see a divide that borders on a civil war. I'm not the only one who feels that way.
Party lines, battle lines
The red states get redder, the blue states get bluer, and the political map of the United States takes on the coloration of the Civil War.
Nobody, of course, is pulling out rifles or cannon. But Tuesday's election results in state and local contests suggest that an already politically divided country just got a little more so. We are divided by region and by race, but above all by party. It's been a long time since partisanship was as deep as it is now. Those states in the South, the Plains and the Rockies that the television networks painted red in 2000 when Bush carried them have become even more Republican. The Gore blue states largely continue their resistance.
QTVRpano by Toni Garbasso
thanks to cipango
"Just where has that slacker been?", you might ask. There have been several occasions that I have been about to post links and then have been distracted.
The most distracting has been Zoe's abdominal disorder. The pain doesn't go away and the tests and treatment get more invasive. She was in the hospital overnight a week ago with a tube in her stomach. Now her doctor is talking exploratory surgery. They think it might be some sort of intestinal blockage but they are not sure which is why they call the surgery exploratory. Zoe is not happy with this but it would be more than nice for the pain to go away.
Then there are those pesky customers that keep calling with work. The last month has been one of my busiest since I started this web design business almost 6 years ago. This is a good thing. This is a trend that I hope continues.
Thanks to the extra business, I have also been distracted by some bright, shiny things that have arrived at my door. I will probably talk about them later: an absolutey wonderful burning software package called Nero 6 Ultra Edition; a new audio player — JetAudio; a professional tripod (finally!) to keep my Mamiya off the floor (it's a Manfrotto); a new turntable belt along with a vinyl disk washing system so that I can rip my LPs, which will be aided by the declicking and decrackling filters in the Nero 6. So many distractions. So little time.
I have a small job to get out this morning and a meeting with a potential customer at 1, otherwise I will be trying to get caught up with linky goodness today.
iraq — vietnam on internet time
An Army Black Hawk helicopter crashed Friday — apparently shot down by insurgents — killing all six U.S. soldiers aboard and capping the bloodiest seven days in Iraq for Americans since the fall of Baghdad.
Sounds like Lt. Col. Russell has been talking to Trent Lott.
Or maybe he's just a Monty Python fan:
Captain Carpenter: We've been on red alert for three days sir, and still have no sign of Mr. Neutron.
Phooey on Tough Talk
The president has said that the "terrorists and killers" want us to run, but America will not run. That is, of course, expressing geo-political strategic concepts in the language of schoolboys. But to use that language, we "ran" from Vietnam, from Lebanon and from Somalia, and we might yet "run" from Iraq.
To use more adult language, in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia, the United States decided that what it was doing was not worth the costs and simply withdrew. That might or might not happen in regard to Iraq, but adult language rather than churlish childish language would help the American people understand the situation better.
In the first place, the Iraqis killing our people are not trying to scare us. They are resisting occupation. No doubt they see themselves as patriots, not as terrorists. Their message is simple: As long as you occupy our country, we will try to kill you. Resistance to occupation is always legitimate but never the result of a democratic vote. Nobody got the Iraqis together and said, "Those who want to resist raise your hands, and those who want to collaborate raise your hands." Probably most just want to keep their heads down until the matter is settled.
thanks to Yolanda Flanagan
Between a Hammer and an Anvil...
I haven’t written these last few days for several reasons. I could barely get an internet connection and when I did connect, it was very slow. I gave up yesterday. I’ve also been a bit tired with Ramadhan. It’s not the fasting that makes me tired, but the preparing for breaking the fast in the evening. There’s always so much to do. After we’ve eaten, I’m just to exhausted to do anything besides sit around with the family, drinking tea, abusing the smokers and discussing the usual topics families discuss while gathered together these days- the occupation and politics.
Even the kids are involved with the news and current situation, but in a smaller way. My cousin’s younger daughter is infatuated with one of the anchors on Al-Arabia. Every time he’s on tv, the usually loud 7-year-old stands, bedazzled, in front of the television, absorbing every word of the dry, detached commentary. Her mother, who can be impressively conniving, is tricking the poor kid into being good simply by saying things like, “But what would that nice man on Al-Arabia say if he saw you didn’t eat your potatoes?!”
So many things have been happening this last week. The various UN organizations began pulling out their volunteers and employees. The Red Cross is currently doing the same. Someone asked me why Iraqis seemed to have so much faith in UN organizations. It’s not that we have unrealistic views about the capabilities of the UN or humanitarian organizations; it’s simply that when organizations begin to pull out their people, you know things are going downhill. While being threatened with war, we used to watch the UN people very carefully and when they’d start packing up and leaving in helicopters, we’d know things are going to get difficult.
These last few days have been a bit tiring- a few visitors (relatives) and a couple of friends who we haven’t seen since July. It’s ridiculous- we live in the same city but it feels like we’re all worlds apart. Everyone is so consumed with their own set of trials and tribulations these days- the son that lost a job, the daughter that lost a husband… the problems feel endless and everyone has their own story to tell. As my mother constantly says, “Kul wahid yihtajleh galub memdeshen”, or “every person [you listen to] requires an brand new heart”. This is usually said when anticipating a sad, frustrating story. Every story begins with a deep *sigh* and ends with an “Allah kareem”.
Our latest visitor has left us more than perturbed. A friend of E. passed by, a junior in the electrical engineering department at Baghdad University. He sat, for an hour, describing an incident that occurred last week at the university which we had heard about, but didn’t know the details. It has been the biggest problem yet in Baghdad University.
Americans sow seeds of hatred
Sarab rolls up her sleeve and looks at the thick scar across her upper arm. The eight-year-old says she was playing in the bathroom of her house when the shots were fired but cannot remember anything else.
'It is their routine,' said her grandfather, Turk Jassim. 'After the Americans are attacked, they shoot everywhere. This is inhuman - a stupid act by a country always talking about human rights.'
Last September, US forces shot dead Sarab's two-year old sister, Dunya, and wounded two other girls in her family, 13-year-old Menal and 16-year old Bassad. The family belongs to the Albueisi tribe who farm the rich land along the Euphrates river south of Falluja. The Albueisi fought against the British and even Saddam Hussein found them difficult to control. Since April, at least 10 members of the tribe have been killed by US forces, including five policemen