The Mesopotamian Marshlands have been inhabited for so long
that some consider them to be the Garden of Eden
. If this is true, then paradise is mostly lost
. The marshlands have been shrinking since the 1970s
, catastrophically so between 1990
. The Marsh Arabs have a pastoral lifestyle
, relying on fishing and farming. They traditionally live in floating thatched huts, and build grand mudhifs
, which serve as public spaces, but as the marshes have receded, the villages have moved ashore. As dire as it seems, restoration efforts are underway
. But is it too little, too late
posted by owhydididoit
on Sep 3, 2006 -
The new GOP buzzword: Fascism.
President Bush in recent days has recast the global war on terror into a "war against Islamic fascism
." Fascism, in fact, seems to be the new buzz word for Republicans in an election season dominated by an unpopular war in Iraq. Donald H. Rumsfeld in a speech to an American Legion convention in Salt Lake City said [of his critics, they are] trying to appease "a new type of fascism."
Before it was
"cut and run
", which was tested using a focus group. On the Senate floor, Sen Hagel earlier decried the tactic: "Focus Group-Tested Buzz Words…Like ‘Cut and Run’…Debase the Seriousness of War." What will they come up with next?
posted by ArunK
on Aug 30, 2006 -
We Shall Not Be Moved
: Some joined the US military as a patriotic duty, some to better themselves, but the horrors of serving in Iraq, including Abu Ghraib, changed everything. Deserters tell Gary Younge why they had to quit.
posted by jack_mo
on Aug 26, 2006 -
Iran's influence in Iraq has superseded that of the US, and it is increasingly rivalling the US as the main actor at the crossroads between the Middle East and Asia... As a result, the US-driven agenda for confronting Iran is severely compromised by the confident ease with which Iran sits in its region... The report also looks into the ideology of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and unpicks Iran’s complicated power structure. It claims that despite his popularity, Ahmadinejad neither holds an insurmountable position within Iran nor commands universal support for his outspoken foreign policy positions... On hostility with the US, the report argues that while the US may have the upper hand in ‘hard’ power projection, Iran has proved far more effective through its use of ‘soft' power. The report also holds a cautious view of the Iran-Israel relationship. It outlines four future scenarios for the relationship between the two states, one of which is the creation of a ‘cold-war’ style nuclear stand-off should Iran achieve nuclear capability.Iran, its Neighbours and the Regional Crises(full report in pdf)
See also Iran now the key power in Iraq, says UK think-tank
See also Iran 'boosted by war on terror'
posted by y2karl
on Aug 23, 2006 -
The debate is over: By any definition, Iraq is in a state of civil war. Indeed, the only thing standing between Iraq and a descent into total Bosnia-like devastation is 135,000 U.S. troops -- and even they are merely slowing the fall... The consequences of an all-out civil war in Iraq could be dire. Considering the experiences of recent such conflicts, hundreds of thousands of people may die. Refugees and displaced people could number in the millions. And with Iraqi insurgents, militias and organized crime rings wreaking havoc on Iraq's oil infrastructure, a full-scale civil war could send global oil prices soaring even higher... Welcome to the new "new Middle East" -- a region where civil wars could follow one after another, like so many Cold War dominoes. And unlike communism, these dominoes may actually fall. What Next?
See also Mindless in Iraq
And note that, as of tomorrow, Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006, the war in Iraq will have lasted one full week longer than US involvement in World War II
posted by y2karl
on Aug 21, 2006 -
Half of America apparently still thinks
so, a new poll finds, and experts see a raft of reasons why: a drumbeat of voices from talk radio to die-hard bloggers to the Oval Office, a surprise headline here or there, a rallying around a partisan flag, and a growing need for people, in their own minds, to justify the war in Iraq.
So much for Karl Rove's claim that it's wrong to think of U.S. voters as [uninformed and gullible
.] Or "There are practitioners of politics who hold that voters are dumb, ill-informed and easily misled
, that voters can be manipulated by a clever ad or smart line
," Rove said. Previously discussed here
. Thank you Fox News
Remember the 2003 study
(PDF) by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy (PIPA)? It found that "Fox News viewers were "significantly more likely to have misperceptions
" about the Iraq war than all other media consumers."
Also the study found that "[t]hose who receive most of their news from Fox News are more likely than average
to have misperceptions." For instance, of the "three key misperceptions" -- which the study listed as "the beliefs that ... links between Iraq and al-Qaeda have been found, that WMD have been found in Iraq and that world public opinion approved of the US going to war with Iraq."
posted by ArunK
on Aug 6, 2006 -
The Constitution in Crisis:
"The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Coverups in the Iraq War, and Illegal Domestic Surveillance." The 350-page Final Investigative Report of the House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff
"identifies 26 laws and regulations Bush Administration may have violated." [more inside]
posted by kirkaracha
on Aug 4, 2006 -
The Smell of War
-- the Institute for Creative Technologies preps Quake-happy teens to become first-person shooters in the non-virtual war on terror. Now in Odorama.
posted by digaman
on Jul 25, 2006 -
William F. Buckley:
"If you had a European prime minister who experienced what we've experienced it would be expected that he would retire or resign."
posted by EarBucket
on Jul 24, 2006 -
is a 15 year old master of flash-based propaganda, and burgeoning media sensation. Lowery's clips (especially this one
but also ones like this
)), have been described as mere facile emotionalism. Others however regard her work as courageous and truthful. She was enlisted to express the soul of the movement
for the recent Yearly Kos convention in Las Vegas. One thing's for sure: Lowery's method of story telling leaves traditional media confused and bewildered
posted by washburn
on Jun 29, 2006 -
Sorry if this is double post or newsfilter, but fox news is claiming that WMDs
were found in Iraq. Is it ethical to state as truth that which was been unconfirmed by anyone but one person? Depending on how this pans out, this could continue the shift of approval that started last week.
posted by klik99
on Jun 21, 2006 -
The debate over exit strategies for Iraq.
The biggest problem with treating Iraq like Vietnam is Iraqization -- the main
component of the current U.S. military strategy. In a people's war, handing the
fighting off to local forces makes sense because it undermines the nationalist
component of insurgent resistance, improves the quality of local intelligence,
and boosts troop strength. But in a communal civil war, it throws gasoline on
the fire. Iraq's Sunnis perceive the "national" army and police force as a
Shiite-Kurdish militia on steroids.
Biddle also emphasizes the need for
a compromise based on a constitutional deal with ironclad power-sharing arrangements protecting all parties
responses from Larry Diamond, James Dobbins, Chaim Kaufmann, and Leslie Gelb.
anticipated the current situation
emphasizes the need for ongoing US involvement in the region.
is pessimistic, describing the US as being in a no-win situation whether
it stays or leaves. A list of proposed
collected by the Project for Defense Alternatives.
posted by russilwvong
on Jun 21, 2006 -
Personality, Ideology and Bush's Terror Wars
[...]Just as disturbing as Al Qaeda's plans and capabilities are the descriptions of the Bush administration's handling of the war on terror and its willful determination to go to war against Iraq. That war, according to the author's sources who attended National Security Council briefings in 2002, was primarily waged "to make an example" of Saddam Hussein, to "create a demonstration model to guide the behavior of anyone with the temerity to acquire destructive weapons or, in any way, flout the authority of the United States."[...]
posted by Postroad
on Jun 20, 2006 -
IraqFilter: Who is the US fighting in Iraq?
A February 2006 report from the International Crisis Group
which provides a detailed look at the evolution of the insurgency, and describes its four main groups: Tandhim al-Qa’ida fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (recently decapitated
), Jaysh Ansar al-Sunna, al-Jaysh al-Islami fil-’Iraq, and al-Jabha al-Islamiya lil-Muqawama al-’Iraqiya. In Iraq, the U.S. fights an enemy it hardly knows. Its descriptions have relied on gross approximations and crude categories (Saddamists, Islamo-fascists and the like) that bear only passing resemblance to reality. This report, based on close analysis of the insurgents’ own discourse
[particularly their websites], reveals relatively few groups, less divided between nationalists and foreign jihadis than assumed, whose strategy and tactics have evolved (in response to U.S. actions and to maximise acceptance by Sunni Arabs), and whose confidence in defeating the occupation is rising.
posted by russilwvong
on Jun 16, 2006 -
"I am copying you on this crap since I honestly believe the competitive procurement will never happen."
--a multi-billion-dollar no-bid contract to KBR/Halliburton announced only after the fact, Cheney's extensive involvement, the attempted coverup of that involvement, lies, and you. Embarrassment is not sufficient cause for exemption
from the Freedom of Information Act, no matter how much some may wish. ...Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press in September 2003 Cheney stated,
“I have absolutely no influence of, involvement of, knowledge of in any way, shape or form of contracts led by the [Army] Corps of Engineers or anybody else in the Federal Government.”
posted by amberglow
on Jun 15, 2006 -
a Eugene soldier, has been arrested for refusing to return to Iraq after leave. She reports that she was sexually harassed
by superiors. She was picked up at home by Homeland Security agents (according to local heresay) and held in Lane County Jail overnight, before being transferred to Fort Lewis in Washington.
More local news here.
(Disclaimer: I attempted to link a Military.com story on it, for balance, but was unable to.)
posted by Danf
on Jun 15, 2006 -
Majority Leader Boehner’s Confidential Strategy Memo For Thursday’s Iraq Debate
On Thursday, the House of Representatives will hold a debate on the Iraq war. Media reports say Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) “hopes to match the serious, dignified tone of deliberation that preceded the Gulf war, in 1991.”
ThinkProgress has obtained a “Confidential Messaging Memo” from Boehner instructing his caucus to conduct a very different kind of deliberation. Here’s a quick summary:
posted by Postroad
on Jun 14, 2006 -
Never Coming Home
is about the families of five young men killed in Iraq. Slate
presents a short documentary that focuses on the bereavement of the parents, or in one case, a brother. This portrait of grief and sacrifice is brought to life through the use of still photography and the recorded voices of family members.
posted by ND¢
on Jun 12, 2006 -
The Language of Noncombatant Death - Perhaps, however, what the "incidents" have in common -- and what they really tell us about the war in Iraq (as in Vietnam long ago) -- is this: In both Haditha and Ishaqi, the dead were largely or all civilian noncombatants: an aged amputee in a wheelchair holding a Koran, small children, grandparents, students, women, and a random taxi driver all died... In modern wars, especially those conducted in part from the air (as both Iraq and Afghanistan have been), there's nothing "collateral" about civilian deaths. If anything, the "collateral deaths" are those of the combatants on any side. Civilian deaths are now the central fact, the very essence of war. Not seeing that means not seeing war.Collateral Damage: The "Incident at Haditha"
The Power Point version: Why Did We Lose In Iraq ?
posted by y2karl
on Jun 8, 2006 -
The War They Wanted, The Lies They Needed.
"The Bush administration invaded Iraq claiming Saddam Hussein had tried to buy yellowcake uranium in Niger. As much of Washington knew, and the world soon learned, the charge was false. Worse, it appears to have been the cornerstone of a highly successful 'black propaganda' campaign with links to the White House." (Via Sic Semper Tyrannis.)
posted by homunculus
on Jun 7, 2006 -