Prone to Violence
FROM THE French Revolution to contemporary Iraq, the beginning phase of democratization in unsettled circumstances has often spurred a rise in militant nationalism. Democracy means rule by the people, but when territorial control and popular loyalties are in flux, a prior question has to be settled: Which people will form the nation? Nationalist politicians vie for popular support to answer that question in a way that suits their purposes. When groups are at loggerheads and the rules guiding domestic politics are unclear, the answer is more often based on a test of force and political manipulation than on democratic procedures.
posted by Postroad
on Jan 7, 2006 -
Bush and Blair slated by Pinter
George W Bush and Tony Blair must be held to account for feeding the public "a vast tapestry of lies" about the Iraq war, writer Harold Pinter said.
[Postroad: but then, what do artists know about politics?]
posted by Postroad
on Dec 7, 2005 -
Whistle-Blower or Troublemaker, Bunny Greenhouse Isn't Backing Down Another trouble maker can't keep her mouth shut !
Bunny Greenhouse was once the perfect bureaucrat, an insider, the top procurement official at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Then the 61-year-old Greenhouse lost her $137,000-a-year post after questioning the plump contracts awarded to Halliburton in the run-up to the war in Iraq. It has made her easy to love for some, easy to loathe for others, but it has not made her easy to know.
posted by Postroad
on Oct 19, 2005 -
Grandmas protest the war in Iraq and get the cuffs
Funny, great story.
We tried to ring the bell at the booth, but no one answered," Wile said. "I saw a head poke up from behind the counter every once in a while and then duck back down. I don't know what they were afraid of. Maybe they don't know how to deal with a bunch of grannies."
posted by mountainmambo
on Oct 19, 2005 -
Bush teleconference with troops staged.
Nothing in the article says who
is responsible for organizing the staged question and answer session, The White House, military officials, or others in the defense department. Just that it infact was staged, and that the troops were coached for 45 minutes prior to the actual teleconference. When Bush, in an unscripted move, asked an officer if he had anything to say, he stammered through a sentence, in stark contrast to the well put together responses to all the other questions, thanking the President and saying, "I like you." More PR from the Bush administration.
posted by SirOmega
on Oct 13, 2005 -
Barbarism or good ole American capitalism?
If you want to see the true face of war, go to the amateur porn Web site NowThatsFuckedUp.com
. For almost a year, American soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan have been taking photographs of dead bodies, many of them horribly mutilated or blown to pieces, and sending them to Web site administrator Chris Wilson. In return for letting him post these images, Wilson gives the soldiers free access to his site. American soldiers have been using the pictures of disfigured Iraqi corpses as currency to buy pornography.
posted by halekon
on Sep 23, 2005 -
Power Cut Shuts Down Iraq Oil Exports
ASRA, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq's oil exports were shut down Monday by a power cut that darkened parts of central and southern Iraq, including the country's only functioning oil export terminals, Iraqi and foreign oil officials said.
posted by celerystick
on Aug 22, 2005 -
'...Today, such famous sites as the Assyrian capital of Nineveh, the ziggurat at Ur, the temple precinct at Babylon, and a ninth-century spiral minaret at Samarra have been scarred by violence, while equally important ancient sites, particularly in the southern provinces, are being ravaged by looters who work day and night to fuel an international art market hungry for antiquities. Historic districts in urban areas have also suffered from vandalism, looting, and artillery fire. In response to such widespread damage and continuing threats to our collective cultural heritage and the significance of the sites at risk, World Monument Fund
has taken the unprecedented step of including the entire country of Iraq
on its 2006 list of 100 Most Endangered Sites
.'The 2003- Iraq War & Archaeology
The Smash of Civilizations
posted by y2karl
on Jul 8, 2005 -
A distinction between “old” and “new” wars is vital. “Old wars” are wars between states where the aim is the military capture of territory and the decisive encounter is battle between armed forces. “New wars”, in contrast, take place in the context of failing states. They are wars fought by networks of state and non-state actors, where battles are rare and violence is directed mainly against civilians, and which are characterised by a new type of political economy that combines extremist politics and criminality... I argue in this article that the United States viewed its invasion of Iraq as an updated version of “old war” that made use of new technology. The US failure to understand the reality on the ground in Iraq and the tendency to impose its own view of what war should be like is immensely dangerous and carries the risk of being self-perpetuating. It does not have to be this way. Iraq: the wrong war
- Mary Kaldor writes of what was happening in pre-invasion Iraq, what happened thereafter and what the alternatives were. Well, there is always Exit strategy: Civil war.
And on that, note this: Kurdish Officials Sanction Abductions in Kirkuk
--a city from which, I am afraid, we will hear more and more as time goes by.
posted by y2karl
on Jun 15, 2005 -
Marines recall faulty body armor.
In yet another blow to the struggle to supply soldiers with adequate armor, 5,277 defective vests were recalled today from troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. In response to the armor shortages, new Oklahoma legislation
would create "Patriot Plates," a $35 license plate of which $20 would go to supply body armor for Oklahoma soldiers.
Soldiers have been lacking this armor for months now. According to an April GAO report
Because of the shortages, many individuals bought body armor with personal funds. The Congressional Budget Office estimated (1) that as many as 10,000 personnel purchased vests, (2) as many as 20,000 purchased plates with personal funds, and (3) the total cost to reimburse them would be $16 million in 2005. (P. 78)
Another continuing problem is a lack of adequately armored HMMWVs. "Current HMMWVs are protected only by canvas tops and have no additional armor protection." (P. 122) In this case, for protection from ambushes and roadside bombs, an add-on armor kit is required. However, "as of September 2004, the Army supplied 8,771 of the 13,872 Add-on Armor kits required by CENTCOM but still needed 5,101 additional kits to meet all requirements." (P. 121) Attacks on vehicles have accounted for as many as 40 percent of the 1,037 deaths attributed to hostile action.
But at least we can sleep soundly knowing that manufacturers are seeing record profits
from all of this.
posted by ScottMorris
on May 10, 2005 -
Marla Ruzicka, RIP
Compared to the pomp and circumstance that mainstream America lavished on an NFL player
pointlessly cut down by friendly fire in Iraq, the death of Mara Ruzicka has been largely ignored. Marla gave her life in Iraq fighting peacefully to protect and preserve the lives of average Iraqis--the reason we're supposed to be there in the first place. You can visit the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict
to pay tribute to Marla and to the movement she's left as a legacy.
posted by Neologian
on Apr 19, 2005 -
Whereas, in the past, national power was thought to reside in the possession of a mighty arsenal and the maintenance of extended alliance systems, it is now associated with economic dynamism and the cultivation of technological innovation. To exercise leadership in the current epoch, states are expected to possess a vigorous domestic economy and to outperform other states in the development and export of high-tech goods. While a potent military establishment is still considered essential to national security, it must be balanced by a strong and vibrant economy. 'National security depends on successful engagement in the global economy,' the Institute for National Security Studies observed in a recent Pentagon study.
Regarding Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Petroleum Dependency
by Michael T. Klare, here is an excerpt
from the book and here is his most recent article--Oil and the Coming War With Iran
. Well, at least he has been consistent--consider The Geopolitics of War
, Wars Without End
, Oiling the Wheels of War
, and Imperial Reach
from his articles
for The Nation
alone. Here is an excerpt from his previous Resource Wars
and here is Scraping the bottom of the barrel
and Bush-Cheney Energy Strategy: Procuring the Rest of the World's Oil
. Well, as to his position on current events, I don't think we need to draw a picture here.
posted by y2karl
on Apr 13, 2005 -
Interview with Scott Ritter on Iran June Invasion
What do you think the world's reaction will be if the U.S. invades Iran in June and fails, inciting an invasion of Iraq with well-equipped and trained Iranian troops and equipment, retaliation from Iran with missile attacks against the oil fields in the mid-east and Israel as well as southern Europe and Turkey. How will life in this country change?
posted by mk1gti
on Apr 2, 2005 -
While the proverbial road to hell is paved with good intentions, the internal government memos collected in this publication demonstrate that the path to the purgatory that is Guantanamo Bay, or Abu Ghraib, has been paved with decidedly bad intentions. The policies that resulted in rampant abuse of detainees first in Afghanistan, then at Guantanamo Bay, and later in Iraq, were product of three pernicious purposes designed to facilitate the unilateral and unfettered detention, interrogation, abuse, judgment, and punishment of prisoners: (1) the desire to place the detainees beyond the reach of any court or law; (2) the desire to abrogate the Geneva Convention with respect to the treatment of persons seized in the context of armed hostilities; and (3) the desire to absolve those implementing the policies of any liability for war crimes under U.S. and international law.
Regarding the Torture Papers
, which detail Torture's Paper Trail
, and, then there's Hungry for Air
: Learning The Language Of Torture, and, of course, there's ( more inside)
posted by y2karl
on Mar 14, 2005 -
Well, for a fact or two, The Beirut Wall Isn't Falling
, Lebanon is not Ukraine
and it is not democracy that's on the march in the Middle East
. And while remembering all those arguments made 1,500 deaths ago
--not to mention those so far uncounted but estimated at 100,000+ civilian deaths
--let it be, all the while the Iraq War compels Pentagon to rethink Big-Picture Strategy
, it is that American military intevention which makes America as a Revolutionary Force
in the Middle East, according to some. Meanwhile, Kishore Mahbubani
, author of Beyond the Age of Innocence: Rebuilding Trust between America and the World
lists Five Strategic Mistakes
the West has made which continue to destabilize the Islamic world. Along related lines, comes The Origins of
al Qaeda’s Ideology: Implications for US Strategy
Sound bites, wishful thoughts and stage managed demonstrations aside, could it be something more thoughtful might be required? Say, like, Understanding Islamism ? (Now available in new slow acting convenient Word or pdf form)
Say, Which War Is This Anyway ?
posted by y2karl
on Mar 11, 2005 -
Freedom's Defenders or Politicians' Pawns?
No pretense of protecting Americans’ freedom went into the decision to enter into the Spanish-American War
. It was out-and-out imperialism and nothing more. Veterans of that war may have helped to liberate Cuba , Guam , Puerto Rico , and the Philippines from Spanish rule; but those same veterans then turned around and rammed the jackboot of the U. S. military into the faces of those they had just liberated. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans and Filipinos, who had thought they were being freed only to find out they had merely exchanged one colonial master for another, were killed in their own independence-from-Uncle-Sam movements. When they finally did throw off direct U. S. rule, they were then saddled with dictators of Uncle Sam’s choosing. No credit for the defense of Americans’ freedom can be granted to veterans of this war.
Compare to this: Gunning For Saddam
We report, you decide indeed...
posted by Elim
on Mar 6, 2005 -
What if Bush has been right about Iraq all along?
[...]By now, you might have even voted against George Bush -- a second time -- to register your disapproval.
But after watching Sunday's election in Iraq and seeing the first clear sign that freedom really may mean something to the Iraqi people, you have to be asking yourself: What if it turns out Bush was right, and we were wrong?
It's hard to swallow, isn't it?[...]
posted by Postroad
on Feb 2, 2005 -
Gaming in Iraq by US troops. Soon after the battle for Fallujah ended in November, U.S. Marines brought their Xbox consoles, Gameboys and laptops forward and started fighting the Covenant hordes in "Halo," Mario and Luigi's worst enemies and those irksome roommates from "The Sims."
Of course such actives during war are nothing new
. Iraqies have also gotten in on the action too
posted by Bag Man
on Jan 3, 2005 -
Mosul attack - heart-warming?
I never figured I'd hear heart-warming in relation to the aftermath of a missile attack, but I heard the quote on the radio yesterday, and it just seems wrong.
"It was a heart-warming experience to see the wounded soldiers caring for those who were more severely wounded." said Brig.-Gen. Ham.
posted by jim-of-oz
on Dec 22, 2004 -
1 million U.S. troops have gone to war
The data also show that one out of every three of those service members has gone more than once. The Pentagon says more than 5,500 servicemen have deserted
since the war started in Iraq. Few experts are surprised to hear that a recent army survey discovered that half the soldiers were not planning to re-enlist. Experts are divided over how stretched America’s military really is. But they agree that another conflict would put the military in overdrive. Another war would require a shift to a “no-kidding wartime posture in which everybody who could shoot was given a rifle and sent to the front,” according to John Pike, of GlobalSecurity.org.
- US Army plagued by desertion and plunging morale
posted by y2karl
on Dec 11, 2004 -
has the media hit the "mute" button?
the news is chock-full of accounts of a soldier challenging rumsfeld with a question that makes the news media look like the pack of lap dogs they are. so - where's the audio? the video? i, for one, want to hear those thousands of soldiers respond to the question.
posted by subpixel
on Dec 10, 2004 -
"We need to be the benevolent, dominant tribe."
The United States enacts tough love in the aftermath
of fighting in Fallujah
. "Bellon asserted that previous attempts to win trust from Iraqis suspicious of US intentions had telegraphed weakness by asking, " 'What are your needs? What are your emotional needs?' All this Oprah shit," he said. "They want to figure out who the dominant tribe is and say, 'I'm with you.'""
posted by four panels
on Dec 5, 2004 -
From Guernica to Fallujah
It's difficult to believe that in this day and age, when people are blogging, emailing and communicating at the speed of light, a whole city is being destroyed and genocide is being committed - and the whole world is aware and silent. Darfur, Americans? Take a look at what you've done in Fallujah."
- Female Iraqi blogger Riverbend
posted by Postroad
on Dec 2, 2004 -
LAWs instructions for starting criminal procedures against Bush
Today in Vancouver, Lawyers Against the War filed torture charges against George W. Bush under the Canadian Criminal Code. The charges were laid by Gail Davidson, co-chair of Lawyers against the War--LAW, under provisions enacted pursuant to the U.N. Torture Convention, ratified by both Canada and the United States. The charges concern the well known abuses of prisoners held by US Armed Forces in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. The charges were accepted by the Justice of the Peace and referred for a hearing to decide whether Bush should be required to appear for trial. The Attorney General of Canada's consent is required within eight days for proceedings to continue, and the question of Bush's diplomatic immunity will have to be resolved by the court.
posted by sunexplodes
on Dec 1, 2004 -
Cruel and Unusual - The End Of The Eighth AmendmentIt might seem at first that the rules for the treatment of Iraqi prisoners were founded on standards of political legitimacy suited to war or emergencies; based on what Carl Schmitt called the urgency of the ''exception,'' they were meant to remain secret as necessary ''war measures'' and to be exempt from traditional legal ideals and the courts associated with them. But the ominous discretionary powers used to justify this conduct are entirely familiar to those who follow the everyday treatment of prisoners in the United States—not only their treatment by prison guards but their treatment by the courts in sentencing, corrections, and prisoners' rights. The torture memoranda, as unprecedented as they appear in presenting ''legal doctrines . . . that could render specific conduct, otherwise criminal, not unlawful,'' refer to U.S. prison cases in the last 30 years that have turned on the legal meaning of the Eighth Amendment’s language prohibiting ''cruel and unusual punishment.'' What is the history of this phrase? How has it been interpreted? And how has its content been so eviscerated?
posted by y2karl
on Nov 8, 2004 -
The Road To Abu Ghraib A generation from now, historians may look back to April 28, 2004, as the day the United States lost the war in Iraq... It was a direct—and predictable—consequence of a policy, hatched at the highest levels of the administration, by senior White House officials and lawyers, in the weeks and months after 9/11. Yet the administration has largely managed to escape responsibility for those decisions; a month from election day, almost no one in the press or the political class is talking about what is, without question, the worst scandal to emerge from President Bush's nearly four years in office... Given the particular conditions faced by the president and his deputies after 9/11—a war against terrorists, in which the need to extract intelligence via interrogations was intensely pressing, but the limits placed by international law on interrogation techniques were very constricting—did those leaders have better alternatives than the one they chose? The answer is that they did. And we will be living with the consequences of the choices they made for years to come.
posted by y2karl
on Oct 27, 2004 -
Confirming the Obvious: "A Knight Ridder review of the administration's Iraq policy and decisions has found that it invaded Iraq without a comprehensive plan in place to secure and rebuild the country... The Bush administration's failure to plan to win the peace in Iraq was the product of many of the same problems that plagued the administration's case for war, including wishful thinking, bad information from Iraqi exiles who said Iraqis would welcome American troops as liberators and contempt for dissenting opinions."
Just in case anyone you know is still pretending this administration had the slightest idea what it was doing after "Mission Accomplished."
posted by jscalzi
on Oct 16, 2004 -
Dear Mike, Iraq sucks.
Michael Moore received a flood of letters and emails from disillusioned and angry American soldiers serving in Iraq. From today's Guardian.
posted by knutmo
on Oct 5, 2004 -
Is there a link between
today's headline: Baghdad Car Bombs Kill 34 Children Receiving Sweets
(from American troops) and this Wall Street Journal front page article
from September 22th?
"Capt. Ayers took lessons from his fellow captains. In April, Capt. Jesse Beaudin convinced a friend from the U.S. to send backpacks, notebooks and pencils for schoolchildren. Kids mobbed troops for the goods whenever they went out on patrol. "The kids provided security. No one attacked us when we were surrounded by children," Capt. Beaudin says. After hearing about this tactic at the dining hall, Capt. Ayers's men also wrote home requesting school supplies."
Non-subscribers can read the WSJ article here
posted by miguelbar
on Sep 30, 2004 -