Thursday, July 24
CONTACT: Operation: Hidden Agenda
Book Soup in Hollywood, CA , now Selling Operation: Hidden Agenda Playing Cards
WASHINGTON - July 23 - Book Soup,"Bookseller to the great and infamous," in Hollywood,California, has become the latest store to carry the controversial Operation Hidden Agenda playing cards.
During the first week of sales of the cards, only Bookshop Santa Cruz and www.operationhiddenagenda.com were carrying the cards.
“I was overwhelmed by the response to the cards, which aim to present an alternative point of view to the "Iraq's Most Wanted" playing cards,” says Kathy Eder, a social justice teacher in San Jose, Ca.
... When asked if the cards are a "hit" list like their "Iraqi Most Wanted" counterparts, Eder replies, "Operation: Hidden Agenda is not a hit list. I’m hoping that the cards will be used to gather people to discuss the ideas of journalists and words of our leaders that are presented in the various articles referenced on the cards. People want to know what is true. It's time to stop looking the other way. We must be willing to examine U. S. Policy and its repercussions in our global community."
"I decided to seek out the truth of what was happening in Iraq, and this deck is the result of what I have found. The cards are intended to raise questions that need to be asked. I have included many quotations that express the intentions of our leaders as well as the observations of journalists."
Operation: Hidden Agenda has 52 cards representing 52 individuals or institutions that need to be examined in order to understand the precursors to and after-effects of the current military action in Iraq. Additionally, there are 2 jokers with quotations from peacemakers who offer what Eder suggests what might be "Operation: True Agenda."
The cards contain images as well as quotations from articles that attempt to inform people about the possible hidden agendas of various US leaders, organizations, and corporations.
Sixteen Little Words, my As*terisk
by Linda McQuaig, Toronto Star, July 20, 2003
As the controversy builds over allegations that the White House misled the American people into waging war against Iraq, the latest line of defence seems to be that the deception wasn't that serious — it was, after all, only 16 words long.
"Just 16 little words," as one media commentator described them, apparently trying to trivialize the controversy over a forged document that threatens to engulf George W. Bush's presidency.
But the 16 little words — "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" — weren't just a casual, off-hand comment.
Rather, they were a key part of a tightly-scripted speech aimed at making the administration's case that Saddam posed a nuclear threat, and they were delivered by the president at no less an event than the State of the Union address, watched on TV by millions around the world.
Are 16 words enough to cause a scandal? Depends on the words.
What if Bush had said the following 16 words in his State of the Union address: "The constitution is null and void. I'm now king. If anyone contests this, bring him on." [...]
by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, Commondreams.org, July 14, 2003
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
SUBJECT: Intelligence Unglued
The glue that holds the Intelligence Community together is melting under the hot lights of an awakened press. If you do not act quickly, your intelligence capability will fall apart—with grave consequences for the nation.
The Forgery Flap
By now you are all too familiar with the play-by-play. The Iraq-seeking-uranium-in-Niger forgery is a microcosm of a mischievous nexus of overarching problems. Instead of addressing these problems, your senior staff are alternately covering up for one another and gently stabbing one another in the back. CIA Director George Tenet’s extracted, unapologetic apology on July 11 was classic—I confess; she did it.
It is now dawning on our until-now somnolent press that your national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, shepherds the foreign affairs sections of your state-of-the-union address and that she, not Tenet, is responsible for the forged information getting into the speech. But the disingenuousness persists. Surely Dr. Rice cannot persist in her insistence that she learned only on June 8, 2003 about former ambassador Joseph Wilson’s mission to Niger in February 2002, when he determined that the Iraq-Niger report was a con-job. Wilson’s findings were duly reported to all concerned in early March 2002. And, if she somehow missed that report, the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristoff on May 6 recounted chapter and verse on Wilson’s mission, and the story remained the talk of the town in the weeks that followed.
Rice’s denials are reminiscent of her claim in spring 2002 that there was no reporting suggesting that terrorists were planning to hijack planes and slam them into buildings. In September, the joint congressional committee on 9/11 came up with a dozen such reports.
Secretary of State Colin Powell’s credibility, too, has taken serious hits as continued non-discoveries of weapons in Iraq heap doubt on his confident assertions to the UN. Although ... [...]
Blair and Bush: When Time-honored Ties Become a Short Leash
by William Pfaff, International Herald Tribune, July 24, 2003
Tony Blair's current crisis, with a Law Lord inquiring into the death of David Kelly, the Defense Ministry advisor on biological weapons who committed suicide last week, surely derives in part from the prime minister's intense but puzzling commitment to George W. Bush's leadership in the Iraq war. If he or his entourage cut corners to justify Iraq's invasion, it was to serve the common cause.
The Blair government has turned the 61-year-old Anglo-American security alliance into an unprecedented subordination of Britain's security and foreign policy to the United States. This was the unspoken message of Tony Blair's emotional address to a joint session of Congress last week.
Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon had already announced, in late June, that British military forces are to be reconfigured so as to function henceforth as Pentagon auxiliaries. This is because from now on, "it is highly unlikely that the U.K. would engage in large-scale combat operations without the United States."
By depriving itself of the ability to operate independently, Britain will abandon one of its most important assets, its possession of balanced and autonomous multi-arm military forces, capable of serving distinct British interests.
In Europe, only France now will have the capacity for sizable independent military operations. All other non-neutral western European forces have been turned into specialized units of an American-commanded NATO army.
As David Leich and Richard Norton-Taylor reported in The Guardian last week, Britain has begun re-equipping its nuclear missile submarines with U.S.-$ made and -maintained Tomahawk cruise missiles, usable only with U.S. acquiescence.
Britain, under Tony Blair, has sold its principal aerospace manufacturer, BAE Systems, to the United States. The Blair government has just agreed to extradite British subjects to the United States on demand, without need for prima facie evidence. [...]
Why does Tony Blair wish this slow suicide of one of Europe's greatest nations, whose independent legacy to modern Western civilization, and certainly to the United States, is so immense? Where is his electoral mandate for so enormous a decision?
Britain gets nothing from the United States in return (other than Congressional cheers and a gold medal for the prime minister). If Bush remains in office beyond next year, Britain might find itself implicated in what could become an American national tragedy. [...]
Who's Unpatriotic Now?
by Paul Krugman, New York Times, July 22, 2003
Some nonrevisionist history: On Oct. 8, 2002, Knight Ridder newspapers reported on intelligence officials who "charge that the administration squelches dissenting views, and that intelligence analysts are under intense pressure to produce reports supporting the White House's argument that Saddam poses such an immediate threat to the United States that pre-emptive military action is necessary." One official accused the administration of pressuring analysts to "cook the intelligence books"; none of the dozen other officials the reporters spoke to disagreed.
The skepticism of these officials has been vindicated. So have the concerns ...
Well, if we're going to talk about aiding the enemy: By cooking intelligence to promote a war that wasn't urgent, the administration has squandered our military strength. This provides a lot of aid and comfort to Osama bin Laden — who really did attack America — and Kim Jong Il — who really is building nukes.
And while we're on the subject of patriotism, let's talk about the affair of Joseph Wilson's wife. Mr. Wilson is the former ambassador who was sent to Niger by the C.I.A. to investigate reports of attempted Iraqi uranium purchases and who recently went public with his findings. Since then administration allies have sought to discredit him — it's unpleasant stuff. But here's the kicker: both the columnist Robert Novak and Time magazine say that administration officials told them that they believed that Mr. Wilson had been chosen through the influence of his wife, whom they identified as a C.I.A. operative.
Think about that: if their characterization of Mr. Wilson's wife is true (he refuses to confirm or deny it), Bush administration officials have exposed the identity of a covert operative. That happens to be a criminal act; it's also definitely unpatriotic.
So why would they do such a thing? Partly, perhaps, to punish Mr. Wilson, but also to send a message. [...]
Bush's Nose is Growing; Nobody Cares
by Antonia Zerbisias, Toronoto Star, July 22, 2003
It has been exactly one week since the Washington Post ran a page one story quoting U.S. President George W. Bush as saying that the reason the U.S., "along with other nations,'' invaded Iraq was because its brutal vicious dictator would not permit any weapons inspections.
Here is the quote, from Bush's news conference with U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan, which CNN ran live last Monday. (The italicized emphasis is mine.)
Asked about those infamous 16 words in his State of the Union Address about Iraq shopping in Niger for yellowcake uranium, the leader of the free world replied: "The larger point is and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power ..."
So yes kids! We were all hallucinating when we watched news footage of reporters chasing U.N. weapons inspectors around Iraq last winter. Those were but voices in our collective head when we heard pleas from the likes of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and former weapons inspector Scott Ritter to allow the digging around to continue. And we must have all swallowed a giant tab of yellowcake when we read the news of U.N. weapons inspectors scrambling to beat a path out of Baghdad on the eve of the Shock & Awe bombing campaign.
So ask yourself: How come the commander-in-chief shoots from the lip once again and nobody is talking about it?
Even one of the journalists who originally reported Bush's explanation, The Post's Dana Milbank, soft-peddled it in his story co-written a week ago with Dana Priest.
(Again, the emphasis is mine:) "The president's assertion that the war began because Iraq did not admit inspectors appeared to contradict the events leading up to war this spring: Hussein had, in fact, admitted the inspectors and Bush had opposed extending their work because he did not believe them effective."
Appeared? Like, maybe we're not sure? Like the president isn't, oh let's not put too fine a point on it, lying? [...]
Pakistan and the "India Obsession"
The Bush-Musharraf Conclave
By HAROLD A. GOULD, Counterpunch, July 18, 2003
Probably the most significant utterance made by General Pervez Musharraf during the press conference that followed his Camp David meeting with President George Bush went completely unnoticed by the press. At one point, after President Bush declared that he is "hopeful that the two countries will deepen their engagement on all issues, including Kashmir," the General dutifully intoned his hope that a solution would be found, but nevertheless felt constrained to remind Mr. Bush that Pakistan has "our sovereign equality to guard, vis-a-vis India."
This remark went unnoticed primarily because most media people are either too young or too historically naive to understand its implications. It was Musharraf's way of saying that Pakistan's obsession with the "India threat" remains alive and kicking. As long as it does, the chances for peace and reconciliation between the two major powers in South Asia are not great. For this obsession has haunted Pakistan's political culture since it attained Independence in 1947, and has fueled all of the wars and near-wars that have been waged between India and Pakistan over the ensuing half-century.
What is the India Obsession? The political divide between Hindus and Muslims originally arose from the fact that for centuries a Muslim minority had enjoyed political hegemony over the Subcontinent's Hindu majority. Since the dawning of modern times, however, with the gradual diffusion of representative government, this Hindu majority found the means to make their numbers politically count. Over the last century prior to Independence, as the power of the demographic majority ramified, the Muslim elites found their political dominance increasingly challenged. Many perceptive Muslims (such as Sir Syed Ahmad Khan.) saw the handwriting on the wall unless somehow they could achieve a relationship with the emerging Hindu majority which struck a balance between Muslim political importance and Hindu demographic importance. While the struggle against British colonialism was taking root, a sub-plot of political maneuvering was simultaneously occurring between the Subcontinent's increasingly strident Muslim leadership (personified by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Liaqat Ali Khan) and an increasingly aroused and determined Hindu-based leadership (personified by Tilak and Gokhale, Gandhi and Nehru) whose differences were so intractable that partitioning India into two separate and ethnically distinct states turned out to be the only way that imagined Muslim fears of Hindu demographic inundation could be assuaged.
Unfortunately ... [...]
... Kashmir could be settled overnight if there were not a section of Pakistani political society that feeds off it for domestic political reasons.
America's tragedy was its decision to nourish the megalomaniacal fantasies of Pakistan's anti-democratic elites by sucking Pakistan into its militarized Cold War grand strategy. Each infusion of anti-Communist armaments reinforced the power of Pakistan's authoritarian ruling classes, fed their anti-Indian inferiority complex and eventuated ultimately in three intraregional wars, in Kargil, in a perpetual, still continuing pattern of military provocations and state-sponsored cross-border terrorism, and the development of nuclear weapons.
This is an old story which need not be further elaborated here. General Musharraf's visit to Camp David was initially seen as a potential departure from the old ways of doing business. Instead, all signs indicate that we face more of the same. The aid package offered to Pakistan follows the same misguided pattern as all of its predecessors. At least half of the amount will go for military assistance, the very thing that economically desperate and politically frail Pakistan needs the least, and indeed has always needed the least. [...]
The Bush-Musharraf tryst reveals that Cold War baggage remains embedded in the American diplomatic culture. Certainly it survives in the Pentagon and undoubtedly in the ranks of the neoconservative set that has settled in around President Bush. In the circumstances, India will be compelled to adopt a wait-and-see posture pending some indication of whether Mr. Musharraf will (a) keep his promises, and/or (b) will be able to survive the slings and arrows of political dissent, jihadism and economic collapse that now confront him. [...]
Call It What It Really Is: Sick
A Nation of Assassins
By DOUGLAS VALENTINE, Counterpunch, July 24, 2003
What do you call it when George W. Bush, without provocation and based on false pretenses, sends an army to invade a foreign nation; and then, without any attempt to negotiate a surrender, effect an arrest, or put this nation's leaders on trial and present evidence of their crimes, instead puts multimillion dollar bounties on their heads, relies on collaborators and spies to track them down, and then corners them and blows them away in their homes, in their own country?
Do you call it what the Israelis, who lately have done it hundreds of times, call it?
A targeted kill?
What would you call it if Saddam Hussein hunted down and killed George Bush's daughters in Texas?
How about calling this sort of behavior assassination?
Why call it anything? A rose by any other name, right?
And don't even ask if targeted kills, cold blooded murders, and assassinations are legal or moral. Who the hell cares?
They're popular. It's so much fun, you can even find death cards on the Internet, naming the people that Bush plans to kill in Iraq. It's like a videogame, or that old Steve McQueen show, Wanted Dead or Alive.
Bush really gets into it too; "Bring 'em on," he said, playing the role of Paladin in Have Gun Will Travel; and since then a couple of GIs have gotten killed every day. But what the hell, it's a volunteer army, and it isn't you or me. So they die for Bush's vainglory. Who cares? It's the vicarious thrill that counts. [...]
U.S. Releases Photographs of Saddam's Slain Sons
Chris Helgren, Reuters, July 24, 2003
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The U.S. military issued photographs of the bodies of Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay on Thursday in an effort to prove to skeptical Iraqis that the feared brothers had been killed.
Officers in Baghdad released two mortuary pictures of the upper body and head of Uday, 39, and two of Qusay, 37, along with comparative pictures of the brothers when they were alive and X-ray slides apparently used to help identify Uday.
The pictures showed the bodies of the two men lying face up on plastic sheeting. Earlier, military officials showed Reuters initial pictures showing Uday had been wounded in the face.
Uday and Qusay were killed on Tuesday when 200 U.S. troops attacked their hideout in Mosul with helicopters, grenades, heavy machineguns and anti-tank missiles.
Military officers said Uday appeared to have been killed by a bullet in the head, but it was not yet known whether he had been shot by U.S. soldiers or had committed suicide.
Many Iraqis had said they would not believe Uday and Qusay were really dead until they saw proof. [...]
Tuesday, July 15
Sunday, July 13
Will He Replace Ari?
The Catch and Release of "Comical Ali"
By DAVID LINDORFF, Counterpunch, July 13, 2003
According to a report in the London's Daily Mirror, American military forces this captured, and arrested, iterrogated, and finally released Iraq's famed information minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf.
Saeed al-Sahaf, you may recall, provided a much-needed element of comic relief during the televised U.S. invasion of Iraq, repeatedly denying U.S. and British military advances, and even denying that U.S. forces had entered Baghdad when reporters were already seeing American military vehicles driving on local streets and when the sounds of battle could be heard from the hotel where press conferences were being held.
In the U.S. media, he had even earned the nickname "Comical Ali," a take-off on the nickname of another Iraqi official in charge of Iraq's purported (but never actually located) unconventional weapons program dubbed "Chemical Ali."
The question puzzling me, however, is what exactly the U.S. occupying authority intended to charge poor Comical Ali with when they first picked him up. He was, after all, not torturing anybody-- except with laughter.
The guy was a flak. His job wasn't to tell the truth. It was to tell reporters whatever his bosses wanted him to tell them about the course of the invasion.
Sort of like his White House counterpart Ari Fleischer.
So was Viceroy Bremer planning on charging Saeed al-Sahaf with lying?
That would be a good one, given what we know about the lies we were all told leading up to this war by British P.M. Tony Blair, President George Bush, V.P. Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, et al. [...]
Disney/Miramax Set To Release Film Depicting America military as Drug-dealers, Criminals; Timing Seen Fueling Iraq-War Controversy
Matt Drudge, The Drudge Report, July 13, 2003
The WALT DISNEY CO. is set for maximum controversy when it releases a "warts-and-all" portrait of U.S. Army life with the fuss-film BUFFALO SOLDIERS.
As American men and women put their lives on the line in Iraq and other locations throughout the world, DISNEY and its subsidiary MIRAMAX have set a July 25 opening for the story of enlisted man running a profitable drugs and stolen goods business out of an Army base!
[A promo snap for the film -- "Steal all that you can steal," a riff on the US Army's own pseudo-empowering "Be all that you can be" slogan, while below actor Joaquin Phoenix stands before an American flag -- comes as TIME magazine alleged in a cover story that American troops looted and vandalized the Baghdad airport after it was secured.]
The film's director Gregor Jordan describes SOLDIERS as a robust satire illustrating the corruption, drug use and violence that goes on in US Army bases.
At the film's open, a painted US flag is on the ground and is stepped on by marching soldiers.
The film features an excessive amount of profanity by senior officers, suggestive sex [oral sex in bed, sex in a car, sex in a swimming pool], theft of government property, and rampant drug use by soldiers.
Actor Phoenix explains, "I don't know why anyone would be offended. It wasn't a movie that was intended to offend. And if we don't show things as they really happen, then what's that about? Censorship!"
The movie studio has been receiving complaints from military insiders, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. [...]
Give Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz the boot
H.D.S. Greenway, Boston Globe, July 11, 2003
Defense Donald Rumsfeld stands at the head of the table. He has outmaneuvered all his Cabinet rivals and taken over many of the functions that used to belong to the State Department, the CIA, even the Justice Department. He dominates the Cabinet as no secretary of defense has done since Robert McNamara. He is also articulate, refreshingly if undiplomatically blunt, with a no-nonsense approach that is at times both witty and exactly to the point.
His deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, is often mentioned as the most brilliant person in government. He is perhaps the most influential deputy in modern times, at the top of his game. He has seen his vision of toppling Saddam Hussein fulfilled, and he is an intellectual force behind a whole new way of looking at US foreign policy.
But for all of that, both should be fired. Here's why.
The Iraq campaign, of which they were in charge, has been grossly mishandled. [...]
U.S. 'needs help in Iraq'
BBC News, July 11, 2003
The Bush administration is coming under growing domestic pressure over its Iraq strategy amid continuing attacks on US forces in the country.
The US Senate has voted unanimously to urge President George W Bush to consider asking Nato and the United Nations for help in rebuilding Iraq.
The non-binding resolution said that while it was in the interests of the United States to remain engaged in Iraq, conditions there posed a serious threat to American troops.
Public opinion in the US appears to reflect this disquiet, with polls showing a marked decline in support for the Bush administration's policy on Iraq. [...]
No more fudges: A WMD inquiry is imperative now
The Observer Leader, July 13, 2003
We live in the era of pre-emptive warfare. The build-up to the most recent Gulf war demonstrated a widespread acceptance of the need to anticipate the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction, and challenge those who have access to them and may deploy them. In such circumstances, the accuracy of the intelligence informing such decisions becomes critical.
We must be convinced that the information on which our governments go to war is impartially gathered and impartially presented before the lives of combatants and civilians are put at risk.
Were those standards of proof met before war was launched against Iraq? Or were we simply fed misinformation, exaggeration and half-truth over Iraq's weapons of mass destruction? A worrying picture is emerging. We have seen no evidence of the aluminium tubes which we were told Saddam could use for uranium-enrichment. We have seen no evidence of the fleet of mobile-weapons labs; only two sorry-looking trucks whose use has yet to be established.
We have seen no evidence of Saddam's alleged capacity to deploy WMD within 45 minutes. Now, there are serious questions over claims that Iraq was attempting to buy uranium in Niger, a claim central to the Government's original case that his weapons of mass destruction represented a threat to world security.
Following the admission by the CIA's director that he did not believe this claim, we must be told how it became so central to arguments deployed by Britain and the US. [...]
Tuesday, July 8
U.S. Falling Into Bin Laden's Trap
Bogged Down In A Guerrilla War, Iraq May Be George Bush's Little Big Horn Eric Margolis, Toronto Sun, July 6, 2003
Here in Canada's "make love, not war" capital, I am reminded of a French reader who asked me last week, "Why was Bill Clinton impeached for making love, while George Bush goes unpunished for making a war over fake weapons?"
Excellent question, monsieur.
Asked on TV this week about steadily mounting attacks on U.S. occupation forces in Iraq, President Bush narrowed his eyes, and hunched forward aggressively - thrilling his ardent fans from Biloxi to Paducah - and growled, "Bring 'em on!"
- a call to battle worthy of the famously dimwitted American general, George Armstrong Custer who, like Bush, knew what he knew and didn't need advice.
Listening to such adolescent boasting from a man who never heard a shot fired in anger outside of downtown Washington, D.C. made me gag. Bush, let's recall, dodged real military service during the Vietnam war by making occasional appearances at the Texas Air National Guard. Watching him play John Wayne at Iwo Jima for the benefit of his adoring core voters, some of whom believe Elvis is still alive, made me realize how much American politics has been debased by the double whammy of catch-me-if-you can Bill Clinton and truth-deprived George Bush. [...]
Bush's claims that mounting attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq are the work of Saddam Hussein loyalists and "terrorists" belong in the same trash bin as White House propaganda about weapons of mass destruction. Yes, there are some Baath party loyalists fighting U.S. occupation, but so are many more ordinary Iraqis who are reacting as would any other proud people to an invasion of their country.
George Bush has well and truly stuck the U.S. into twin quagmires in both Afghanistan and Iraq. These ongoing guerrilla wars, and their logistical support, now tie down some 175,000 men, fully one third of total U.S. ground forces. Back in the 1980s, Osama bin Laden preached that the only way to drive the U.S. from the Muslim world was to bleed it in a score of small guerrilla wars. Bush, who now threatens to attack Iran, is falling right into bin Laden's strategic trap. Bravo, Mr. President. [...]
Faced by the growing messes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush administration is trying to emulate its role model, the late, unlamented British Empire, by hiring mercenaries to do the dirty work in Iraq. Washington is offering billions to India and Pakistan to send 15,000 troops each to pacify Iraq's unruly natives.
No one in the West will care if Indian or Pak mercenaries kill Iraqis or burn down their homes.
Other nations like Poland, Italy and Bulgaria are being pressured or bribed to send token forces to help pull Bush's chestnuts out of the fire in Iraq. Canada has been browbeaten into sending troops to increasingly dangerous Afghanistan where they have no useful mission other than protecting the widely detested regime of U.S.-installed puppet ruler, Hamid Karzai.
The longer U.S. forces stay in Iraq, the uglier the guerrilla war will get. And the more Americans will realize they were led into this needless conflict by a second George Custer manipulated by a cabal of neo-conservatives whose primary loyalty is not to the United States.
Troop Morale in Iraq Hits 'Rock Bottom'
Soldiers stress is a key concern as the Army ponders whether to send more forces.
Ann Scott Tyson, Christian Science Monitor , July 7, 2003
WASHINGTON – US troops facing extended deployments amid the danger, heat, and uncertainty of an Iraq occupation are suffering from low morale that has in some cases hit "rock bottom."
Even as President Bush speaks of a "massive and long-term" undertaking in rebuilding Iraq, that effort, as well as the high tempo of US military operations around the globe, is taking its toll on individual troops.
Some frustrated troops stationed in Iraq are writing letters to representatives in Congress to request their units be repatriated. "Most soldiers would empty their bank accounts just for a plane ticket home," said one recent Congressional letter written by an Army soldier now based in Iraq. The soldier requested anonymity.
In some units, there has been an increase in letters from the Red Cross stating soldiers are needed at home, as well as daily instances of female troops being sent home due to pregnancy.[...]
... The open-ended deployments in Iraq are lowering morale among some ground troops, who say constantly shifting time tables are reducing confidence in their leadership. "The way we have been treated and the continuous lies told to our families back home has devastated us all," a soldier in Iraq wrote in a letter to Congress.
Security threats, heat, harsh living conditions, and, for some soldiers, waiting and boredom have gradually eroded spirits. An estimated 9,000 troops from the 3rd Infantry Division - most deployed for at least six months and some for more than a year - have been waiting for several weeks, without a mission, to return to the United States, officers say.
In one Army unit, an officer described the mentality of troops. "They vent to anyone who will listen. They write letters, they cry, they yell. Many of them walk around looking visibly tired and depressed.... We feel like pawns in a game that we have no voice [in]."
Friday, July 4
These Weapons of Mass Destruction cannot be displayed
Reuters, July 4, 2003--Search for WMD Finds 'Bomb' on Internet
LONDON - A Web site lampooning the United States' inability to locate weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has become one of the biggest hits on the Internet.
The site, which is designed to look like a genuine error message -- replete with "bomb" icon -- is the top result when "weapons of mass destruction" is entered into one of the Web's top search engines, http://www.google.com.
And despite being five months old -- a real veteran by Internet standards, the site is more popular than ever and is attracting over a million hits a week.
Linking to the page from Google yields the message "These Weapons of Mass Destruction cannot be displayed," and suggests that the country might be experiencing technical difficulties.
Because it looks like an authentic error message, many Internet users were under the impression Google had been hacked.
But despite its alarming appearance, the page is a harmless, regular Web Site, authored by one Anthony Cox, a 34-year-old pharmacist from Birmingham, England. [...]
Tuesday, July 1
June 26, 2003
You Are What You Eat
How to Hate Almost Anybody
By BEN TRIPP
We live in a political climate that engenders and encourages fear and hatred of just about everybody. At any time, our elected representatives are setting up numerous diverse groups to become targets for general detestation. So many segments of the population are hated nowadays that it's getting hard to figure out who's who on the hate parade, so I am taking it upon myself to clarify this matter. Otherwise, we get people killing other people because they think they're somebody else, instead of killing them for being the unique people they really are.
There are three basic types of hate that can be applied to a people in general: race, religion, and orientation. This monograph is not intended to deal with personal hatred of an individual, that being a different kind of hate. If someone ravished your aunt Francis, or as occasionally happens your uncle Nigel, you may well hate the perpetrator (obviously this presupposes you have a healthy relationship with your aunt) for a specific and demonstrable reason. Saying "I hate that man, he raped my aunt" at the Gleberman's holiday party is a perfectly reasonable expression of hate, as these things go, although what she was doing in that part of town is anybody's guess. The kind of hate we're dealing with here is the abstract hate of a large group of 'persons unknown' because they are who they are, as far as you know. [...]