The threat of war with Iraq. The decline of the stock market and consumer confidence. Continued violence in the Middle East. Erosion of civil liberties. But with all the negativity afloat in the world, just remember one thing: There will always be the music video of Leonard Nimoy's "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins." (quicktime)
The "Axis of Evil" v. the "Forces of Evil."
Saddam Hussein warns the US that any attack on Iraq is "doomed to failure." While the Bush Administration claims that there are no firm plans to invade Iraq, the rhetoric on both sides is intensifying. Are the Hawks on both sides gunning for a showdown? Can a diplomatic solution be reached? If the Bush Administration's goal is to oust Saddam, have we foreclosed any hope of a meaningful "dialogue"? Reportedly, even some generals are wary of invading Iraq. I think containment of Saddam is a much better option than war. Does anyone disagree? What are the alternatives?
As it turns out, Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein were buddies back in the day
Is this an Iraqi bluff?
Whatever the case, this seems like a clever way for Baghdad to undercut all the saber rattling in Washington.
Bush may not need authorization to launch attack against Iraq
(NYTimes, reg req).
Senator Trent Lott, the Republican minority leader, told reporters today that he did not think the administration needed Congressional approval for a major assault. He said that authority had been granted last fall in a resolution supporting military action against Al Qaeda.
"I suspect that Al Qaeda elements are in Iraq," Mr. Lott said. "The resolution we passed, we made it very clear the president has the authority to pursue the Al Qaeda wherever they may be found, in whatever country, which could very well include Iraq."
Hello? Article I, Section 8, Clause 11
? War Powers Act Section 5b
? I know they gave GWB the right to go after Al-Qaeda, but this is ridiculous. Should we deport one of our prisoners from Guantanamo to the next country that we want to make some changes in? Sheesh. You want to go to war? Fine by me - but do it Constitutionally.
Doubtful that the US will strike Iraq
by the end of this year, says chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joseph Biden (D-Delaware). "I'm convinced the administration has not made up their mind yet," Biden said. Should we go to Baghdad and topple Saddam, or not? Is Saddam an immediate threat?
Back from a vigorous and exhausting vacation of petty but life sustaining activities, I find this
overview of our larger reality, without the noisy claptrap of narrowly self serving ideologies, yet worrisome enough to shake the world's boat I'm travelling in with some comfort and some reasonable concern spiced with anxiety. (NYT)
White House acts to shed arrogant image. The White House will set up a new office to try to salvage America's plummeting image abroad, it was announced yesterday as an independent taskforce reported that even the country's allies saw the US as "arrogant", "hypocritical" and "self-absorbed".
This autumn, an office of global communications will take over the job of selling "Brand America" from the state department, which the White House believes has failed to do the job effectively.
Propaganda to garner support for an invasion in Iraq, genuine desire to promote the image of the country, or a meaningless facade that's a waste of money? You make the call.
"If we sort out Iraq and Detroit develops a hydrogen engine," says a U.S. diplomat
, "Saudi Arabia will go back to being a fascinating, benighted part of the world that people don't visit."
"Just open a map... Afghanistan is in turmoil, the Middle East is in flames, and you want to open a third front in the region? That would truly turn into a war of civilizations." Profound Effect on U.S. Economy Seen in a War on Iraq.
Gore questions timing of Iraq concern
Is it proper to invade Iraq? This would be an unprecedented move for the US military as Iraq has not attacked the US anyone the US has defense treaties with.
"Republican National Committee spokesman Jim Dyke called Gore's comments "irresponsible."
"This is no time to attack the president or Republicans for their handling of the war for political gain," he said."
Hmmm..so he admits the Iraqi attack IS for partisan political gain, eh? I would have never suspected it.
The clash of battling war plans.
"Imagine Operation Overlord for D-Day splashed all over the front page of the New York Times. Unthinkable, you say. Then imagine the German high command's plans to repulse the Allied invasion announced by Adolf Hitler himself in a meeting with his closest advisers and then leaked to a London newspaper. Equally unthinkable. But this is how the invasion of Iraq by the United States and Saddam's plans to counterattack have been played out in the New York Times and a Kuwaiti newspaper â?? all before a single shot has been fired." First there was the parade of leaks
from the U.S., even an influential insider
making predictions on TV. Then there was the apparent counterleak of Saddam's war plan
. What is going on? Is the Iraqi leak credible? And if so, what price are American civilians going to pay?
An excellent piece of media analysis
by Michael Wolff in New York Magazine looking at the current summer-movie-plot version of Al Qaeda being artfully constructed by the NY Times ...
Then, perhaps most disconcertingly, the overall narrative itself is patently a dumbed-down rehash. It's Cold War stuff. There is the ubiquitous and yet unknown and unknowable enemy. There's the international jihad, which, with only minor adjustments, replaces the international communist conspiracy. There's the sudden purported hegemony of the Muslim world -- a new Soviet-bloc-style ideological monolith. There is the otherworldly dedication of operatives bent on overthrowing the West. There are the cells. There is the myth of superhuman discipline. There is now, even, the developing Kremlinology of the next tier of men who replace Osama. And at the center of the story, of course, is the bomb. Whether in massive retaliatory form or as a dirty-bomb package, it serves the same effect.
(link cribbed from Altercation
? Bush vs. Saddam. Prequel to Desert Storm II.
While W is off building the case
for a war against Saddam, senior military officials have serious doubts
about the wisdom of a US invasion of Iraq. But they're keeping quiet because "they fear they would come out on the wrong side of Bush's eventual decision." Can you blame 'em?
Cuneiform artifacts for cheap! "Iraq's economic collapse means the oldest writing in the world can be bought for a song on eBay -- and has scholars racing to digitize Sumerian artifacts before they become paperweights."
I've always wanted an original Epic of Gilgamesh cuneiform tablet to decorate the mantel with.
Saddam's oil scam
....and other tidbits of interest about Iraq versus US. oops. I almost said "and the world," but the world seems indifferent or annoyed at the American threat to Iraq.
Did you forget to send a blue mountain card to Saddam?
I'll just bet you did. And it was his 65th. Still time to send those birthday greetings. It might be the last one he gets to celebrate.
Chief of Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons sacked
, after intense US pressure. The whole thing was predicted a few days ago by Georges Monbiot
. It seems that the succesful head of the OPCW wanted to restart UN chemical weapons inspections in Iraq. Washington has other plans in mind.
America Can Persuade Israel to Make a Just Peace
An op-ed piece by former president Jimmy Carter that is going to get a lot of play in the media. Unfortunately, Mr. Carter seems to suggest a rather easy solution: give back the Palestinian lands and have the Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist. Put the pressure on Israel by withhold financial aid till they do as we bid.
Problem: Palestinians being subsidized by Iraq, Iran, EU and Syria. What about pressure on them? And: Palelstinian issues still in need of resolving: capital and Right of Return....with this left out, we are still not going to get peace. Does Carter simplify or is he on target? reg reqd.
Bin Laden (1) escaped and (2) is alive.
A 'significant defeat' for the U.S. and especially Gen. Franks, who 'ran the war from Tampa with no commander on the scene above the rank of lieutenant colonel'.
Middle East war predictions
"..what we are witnessing looks like joint preparations by the Palestinian Authority, Syria, its Lebanese client, Iraq, and Iran, for war on a regional scale, against both Israel and U.S. interests. I fear we may face a major, sudden, external assault on Israel, meant to precede U.S. action against the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, and indeed prevent the U.S. from going there by enmiring it in the defence of Israel. [From The Ottowa Citizen, lead link in today's Wall Street Journal Best of the Web]
This New Yorker article
is a must read. Long and exhaustive (but well worth the trip), I believe it could have the power to change many minds about what should be done, and when, about Iraq and its dictator. The essential story is about the horrible and terrifying effects of Saddam Hussein's gassing of Kurdish villages, but as the story reminds us at the end "Please understand, the Kurds were for practice"
Saddam stokes war with suicide bomber cash.
"The hall was packed and the intake of breath was audible as a special announcement was made to the war widows of the West Bank - Saddam Hussein would pay $US25,000 ($47,000) to the family of each suicide bomber as an enticement for others to volunteer for martyrdom in the name of the Palestinian people."
Well, ha ha ha, and yah, boo
said Christopher Hitchens to those who would oppose the war on November 14. At this time, of course it was assumed by Hitchens and his ilk that we had won, all that remained was to install "our sons of bitches", and rub the peacenicks faces in it.
Now it seems very far from over and Hitchens and others with similar views have articulated their thoughts in the Guardian. It makes interesting reading.
As does this article
on how it is possible to love the U.S but not George Bush.
, the guy who just keeps on giving. Guardian link.
Where Is This Evil Axis Bush Speaks Of?
By any common usage, it denotes an alliance. The relationship between Iran, Iraq and North Korea meets neither qualification.
"Let us pray that our country will stop this war."
From a recent speech by U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio: "We did not authorize the administration to wage war anytime, anywhere, anyhow it pleases. We did not authorize war without end. We did not authorize a permanent war economy. We did not authorize an eye for an eye. Nor did we ask that the blood of innocent people, who perished on Sept. 11, be avenged with the blood of innocent villagers in
Iraq Calls Bush's Bluff on Weapons Scrutiny.
Former U.N. Weapons inspector Scott Ritter claims that Iraq's new attitude toward inspections might undermine attempts to end Saddam Hussein's regime.
The War on Iraq Will Be Launched in September...
or so a russian journalist says based on russian military intelligence. If any of this bears out it seems a lot like global domination vis-a-vis installing controllable pro-western leaders...what say the rest of you?
Every multiculturalist is a recruiting officer for al-Qa’eda.
The Spectator's cover story this week suggests that white intellectuals' posture of hatred for Western civilization is at least somewhat responsible for British Muslims' hatred of the West. Is this a revealing insight, or just a twisted blame-the-victim argument? Or both?
that's the unofficial response from Baghdad it seems, regarding Bush's State of the Union Address. Who's overstepping here?
"Who you gonna believe — me or your own eyes?"
NYT's. Safire projects some troubling future.
Finally, finally, finally!! Someone in the mainstream media is finally asking some questions.
Lots of people (here and abroad) have known about this book for some time. I think it deserves some checking into.
Interesting claim -
the military's investigators say that the Red Cross buildings which were bombed on October 25th were not marked and that the military had not been given their coordinates as claimed. Has anyone found more information about this?
Should this country
be our next target in the war on terrorism? hmmmmm...
Dead Men Walking
Thomas Lipscome urges us to think about 4th generation warfare, the nature of the battle, and the potential dangers well beyond the idea of nations such as Afghanistan and Iraq. From the article: "Terrorists become extraordinarily resourceful playing weak hands against the strong and rich. So do revolutionaries. And it is time to realize bin Laden is both"
This article is short yet wide-ranging, neatly bringing together the Balkans, Clinton, the Media, and 4G warfare.
via follow me here
What's up with this Iraq stuff?
No more formal way of putting it, sorry. Can anyone say what the hell is going on here
, exactly, when bin Laden hasn't even be found and the Taliban is still putting up a fight? Is Bush, in saying Saddam will "find out"
how the U.S. will respond to its refusal to allow inspections (again), just throwing a small bone to the hard right? Is the national press on too much of an adrenaline rush, or bored with Afganistan already? Or are the Dr. Strangelove wannabes talked about here really taking over?
In U.S. Success, Anti-War Faction's Worst Fears Realized
writes our own James Lileks. Noam Chomsky, our own little Quisling, popped up in India to denounce the United States and describe the attacks on Afghanistan as "a bigger terrorist act than what happened on Sept. 11." It takes tremendous energy to maintain these hideous delusions. Chomsky must be exhausted. He must also be surprised every time he lands back in America and is not arrested; the nation he describes would surely clap him in chains and leave him in a basement to devolve to rat food and bones.
The stuff from which Myth is made.
A recent discovery of a meteor impact crater in the middle-east, dating around 2300BC, is shedding new light on the decline of many cultures and the rise of many legends.
Al Jazeera set to launch English language service
Is that some late November 5th fireworks I can hear? No, the sound of Bush and Blair exploding with indignation.
American Crusade 2001 Trading Cards
Now it's easy to keep track of Good and Evil.
Hawk hiccup? How wide is wider in a `wider war'?
With the world dazed and everything in flux, seize the moment. I'd make a deal with Ankara right now to move across Turkey's border and annex the northern third of Iraq.
Safire has been Monday-morning quarterbacking in his column since September 11. (He suggested the FBI wasn't doing enough to "deprogram" material witnesses with "conservative Muslim clerics".) He's made no bones about his desire to squash all terrorists, coalition be damned. He's sided with "wider war" wing of the administration, but this is by far the zaniest scheme--projected onto his ex-boss in a convo from hell. I know there are a lot of people--intelligent people--reading MeFi that support the war. Mostly our discussions have run pro/anti. The flower-children (anachronistic anarchists?) like me should sit out this one. Do any of you imperialists pig-dogs support this?
Salman Rushdie weighs in. (NYT)
An Iraqi writer quotes an earlier Iraqi satirist: "The disease that is in us, is from us." A British Muslim writes, "Islam has become its own enemy." A Lebanese friend, returning from Beirut, tells me that in the aftermath of the attacks on Sept. 11, public criticism of Islamism has become much more outspoken. Many commentators have spoken of the need for a Reformation in the Muslim world.
CNN Chief orders "balance" in war coverage.
Earlier this year, CNN Chief Walter Isaacson got chummy with GOP lawmakers and begged them for tips
on how to attract more conservative viewers. Next, he tried to bring Rush Limbaugh to CNN
. Now he's issued a memo to his reporters, urging them "to balance images of civilian devastation in Afghan cities with reminders that the Taliban harbors murderous terrorists, saying it "seems perverse to focus too much on the casualties or hardship in Afghanistan." Is this "balance", or is he urging CNN to gloss over the realities of what is happening in Afghanistan?
From a piece in the NYTimes today, Home Front Is Minefield for President
: "The lesson we're learning," one administration official said today, "is that you can bomb the wrong place in Afghanistan and not take much heat for it. But don't mess up at the post office."
Leave it to the White House to come away with exactly the wrong interpretation. But the facts are there, too -- most Americans are more concerned about the (relatively slight) risk of getting Anthrax than the rather significant risk that, if we screw up in Afghanistan, we might lose the current coalition against terrorism, Bin Laden, and any hope for "homeland security" for a long time to come....
Iraq 'behind US anthrax outbreaks'
First story I have seen ascribing responsibility.........maybe we should ask the same Pakistani immigrant student
at New Utrecht High School in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn who, according to MSNBC, shot his mouth off on September 6 about the coming World Trade Center attack.
Terror and Liberalism
I have found this piece in The American Prospect to be one of the most balenced pieces I have yet come across. It considers all aspects of the terrorist groups--Israel, American policy, poverty, Iraq, fundamentalisim, history of the area, westernization, etc and finds the rights and wrongs in each, offering finally a way to cope with things in the future while at the same time dealing with present needs.
In other words, it avoids the overly simplistic formulas offered by so many stalwarts of the far Right or far Left.
Did Osama leave
Afghanistan? Is he in Somalia
? Does anyone really know?