Monday, March 24
Alexander Cockburn, CounterPunch Diary, March 24, 2003
The timbre of war reporting changed on Sunday, from brazen hubris to a more nervous posture. Typical was a report in the London Financial Times by Victor Mallet, datelined the Iraq/Kuwait border, and titled, “Ominous Signs for Coalition in Battle for Umm Qasr. ...
... - difficulties that may lie ahead for the invasion force if it seeks to capture urban areas, the word "guerrilla" was used at the weekend by Colonel Chris Vernon, chief UK military spokesman in Kuwait, to explain the unexpectedly stiff resistance encountered in Umm Qasr.
...“Events…suggest the war will be much more complicated than President George W. Bush had hoped,” Mallet wrote. “One problem for the Americans is that however much the Iraqis hate Saddam Hussein, they do not appear to be overjoyed in the Shia Muslim south, at least about the prospect of a US occupation.
...Add in the extraordinary fragging attack on senior officers of the 101st Airborne, the Patriot downing an RAF plane, the news of casualties and one can see why the vainglorious predictions of the preceding week are dying down abruptly, as the prospect of serious city fighting begins to come into focus.
Terror Chief Quits : Another piece of news that almost got lost in the onrush of events was the resignation of Rand Beers, the top National Security Council official in the war on terror. He timed his exit to the expiry of Bush’s official ultimatum to Saddam (the US started sending Special Forces into Iraq 48 hours before the deadline
UPI quoted “intelligence sources” as saying “the move reflects concern that the looming war with Iraq is hurting the fight against terrorism.”"
.”"Hardly a surprise," UPI quoted one former intelligence official as saying. "We have sacrificed a war on terror for a war with Iraq. I don't blame Randy at all. This just reflects the widespread thought that the war on terror is being set aside for the war with Iraq at the expense of our military and intel resources and the relationships with our allies." [...]
Rumsfeld Again: The most surreal piece of hypocrisy belonged of course to DOD’s Rumsfeld, who threatened the Iraqis with war crimes trials for displaying American POWs on TV.
So what were all the photos of Iraqis surrendering?
For his part Bush said, "I expect Iraq to treat the prisoners of war just like, uh, we treat their prisoners." Like in Guantanamo?