Let Slip the Blogs of War For a while I didn't think I was gonna make it, but around 1800 hours I laid down a barrage of trenchant observations and we finally broke through
...star studded article by tim cavanaugh.
fate of detainees hangs on U.S. wording
Articoe discusses why the U.S. refuses to call prisoners sent to Cuba POWs instead of detainees...what a difference a word makes.
black hawk down
easy to glamourise a war isn't it, however the story behind the media hype/historical distortions is also in need of highlighting
"Leave no man behind"
is the tagline for the new Scott
battlepic, Blackhawk Down
In October of 1993, US Rangers and Delta Force personnel stationed outside of Mogadishu, Somalia, launched what should've been a 30 minute grab-and-go mission to capture higher-ups under the command of Mohammed Aidid
, a Somali warlord. Before it was all over, many hours later, 19 US servicemen and 1000+ Somalis were dead.
PBS has a decent writeup
on the Bakara Market ambush, but I still feel like I am missing something. Some sources
share the movie's claim that the US was there to support humanitarian relief efforts, that Aidid was preventing the distribution of food. Others
say we were there to protect American oil interests.
So what really happened on that day in October 1993? The movie opens on Friday, I saw it last night, and I am still exhausted. Admittedly, this film is far better than Pearl Harbor
(no contrived love-triangles are used as a framing device here), but for all the simulated shooting and on-screen heroism, it still seems hard to make out the truth through all of the Hollywood dust. So I guess I am wondering, can we prevent Hollywood's versions of history from replacing the truth (or even the truth-as-we-knew-it)? Should we even try? Is it even possible?
for the "U.S. brought it on themselves" crowd, courtesy of the New York Times.
"One report obtained by Dr. Zilinskas from the government is "Development of `N' for Offensive Use in Biological Warfare." `N' was the code letter for Bacillus anthracis, the germ that causes anthrax. Another is "The Stability of Botulinum Toxin in Common Beverages." The germ-derived substance is the most poisonous known to science."
Seems that the United States has been selling instructions for the creation of bio-weapons.
Al Quaeda prisoners arrive at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
With all the war talk
, why are these men not being classified as POWs? Simply because they didn't wear uniforms?
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.
When do the war powers expire? (LA Times)
With a state of War being used to justify increased security measures, spending bills, unlimited detention and international military action is anybody else uncomfortable with the vagueness of the 'current situation'? How and when can we say we have won and declare it peacetime again?
Should this country
be our next target in the war on terrorism? hmmmmm...
Got a "Dot-mil Buddy"? George
have new readers from the .mil domain. What about you?
American (re)construction of Afghanistan government should require secularism,
according to this op-ed piece by Robert Scheer in the LA Times. I've been advocating this from the beginning, but this is the first media piece I've seen that argues the point.
"DO NOT USE wire stories which lead with civilian casualties from the U.S. war on Afghanistan.
They should be mentioned further down in the story. If the story needs rewriting to play down the civilian casualties, DO IT. The only exception is if the U.S. hits an orphanage, school or similar facility and kills scores or hundreds of children...Failure to follow any of these or other standing rules could put your job in jeopardy."
from a memo re war coverage by Ray Glenn the chief copy editor of the Panama City News Herald
Good to see that the media is doing its bit for the war effort.
Bin Laden 'heard' in Tora Bora
Ah, yes, but were his lips moving in sync?
"The Christmas truce was the last twitch of the 19th Century. By that, I mean it was the last public moment in which it was assumed that people were nice, and that the Dickens view of the world was a credible view." -- Paul Fussell
The Christmas Truce of 1914
is an interesting footnote in history where German and British soldiers stopped fighting and fraternized in the middle of the battlefield. Some witnesses have claimed that enemy soldiers played a friendly game of soccer.
The events have since been chronicled in print
, and on film
Sprawl is Good Defense
"It's a pretty good rule of military thumb that the greater the concentration of value, the more attractive the target... To keep things safe, you need to spread things out." The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian should begin moving their collections out of NYC and Washington,D.C. Now. Talented, intelligent people and people with irreplaceable skills should go next. Re-locate to the Great Plains.
"What is it really like to live in Jerusalem? PROMISES offers touching and fresh insight into the Middle East conflict when filmmakers Shaprio, Goldberg and Bolado travel to this complex and charged city to see what seven children — Palestinian and Israeli — think about war, peace and just growing up." airs tonite (check your local listings)
i've seen a few POV documentaries before and they were pretty good.
Where-o-where can bin Laden be? The general belief among U.S. officials appears to be that al Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden, probably is still somewhere in Afghanistan... But, conceded a defense official, the United States has very little solid information on the whereabouts of bin Laden. "If we had a real clue, we would have already got him," he said.
Veteran foreign correspondent Robert Fisk attacked in Afghanistan.
Fisk's been my dispassionate-knowledgeable-counterpoint-supplier-of-choice for the events of the last few months, and unfortunately he's been very badly beaten by a mob near Quetta
. His reaction: "They had every reason to be angry... If I had been them, I would have attacked me".
A Letter From The Frontlines In Afghanistan
- This letter was read on the Sully and Scooter Show on KOGO News Radio in San Diego. Supposedly written by a U.S. Marine. Don't know if it is real or not.
Want to escape CNN's round-the-clock war coverage? Don't head for the theater.
Faster than Lee Marvin could say "Dirty Dozen," Hollywood is rounding up its good-looking troops, rallying the editing rooms, and launching a war-time celluloid offensive.
Groovy. And just when I'd started getting bored with the real deal...
US Bombs Hit Wrong Target for Second Time in Two Days
Just a reminder, lest anyone forget, that scores of Afghani civilians are still being killed by US bombs. [More inside.]
"It's not propaganda, it's the truth"
Rumsfeld declared. OK, but leaflets with radio broadcasts
, and Information Programs
, is this the best we can do? How about some Daffy Goes to War
, even some inspirational Soviet
communist posters, as we do battle on the psyops
According to this editorial,
the Russians have outmaneuvered the US oil interests by encouraging the Northern Alliance to take Kabul. "The alliance is now Afghanistan's dominant force and, heedless of multi-party
political talks in Germany going on this week, styles itself as the new "lawful"
government, a claim fully backed by Moscow."
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
Bombing the Taleban prisoners "There are hundreds of bodies in there - bodies and bits of bodies, all over the place."
The crush of the Taleban prisoner revolt at the Qala-e-Jhangi fort has Amnesty International
asking what happened there... I'd like to know, too. (More 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?
U.S.' first Afghanistan conflict casualty may be C.I.A. operative "Mike"
Time magazine's Alex Perry reported from the scene outside Mazar-i-Sharif that at least one American, whom he identified as "Mike'' and said belonged to U.S. special operations forces, was missing and presumed dead after prisoners began firing smuggled weapons. If the man was confirmed as a soldier, it would be the first known U.S. combat death in Afghanistan since Washington began attacking Taliban forces -– although it is suspected that "Mike" is a covert CIA operative.
A brief look at the propaganda leaflets of recent wars, from the Psywar
What's going on?
"A senior Taliban official in Kunduz, whose identity was not revealed, told Northern Alliance officials here in a radio conversation that a Pakistani Air Force plane had landed in Kunduz Tuesday and ferried away several Pakistani and Arab fighters. The Taliban official said the plane was the third to land in the city in recent days." (NYT)
'Tell Them Nothing Till It's Ovber and Then Tell Them Who Won'
Governmental and military censorship of battle news. Is it necessary to winning?
"Do you expect me to surrender?" No, Mr. Taliban, I expect you to DIE!"
Allowing terrorists to surrender so they can live to kill another day? No, says Rumsfeld. Bravo. I'm sure the MeFi pacifist club will squeal, but you don't let murders go to have another crack at you.
Stop the War.
50-100,000 people marched on Trafalgar Square today to protest against the ongoing situation in Afghanistan.. (lil bit more inside
More Q & A on Terror and War
"A number of folks feel that current events -- particularly in the last few days -- have dramatically changed the logic and morality of what has been done in Afghanistan, calling into question much of the analysis and assessment that has been offered by critics of the war. Here are some of the questions we have been asked, and our brief replies."
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.
Gaza Diary by Chris Hedges
It's generally not the best idea to post links about the Palestine/Israel conflict, as each day's news can be debated ad infitum by various sides. However this Gaza Diary is a stunning personal look into the ravages of war and occupation. Written by the New York Times Mideast
Bureau Chief, and published in Harper's in October, it's a meditative reflection on the ways the human spirit can be twisted by conflict, and how a reporter (even a seasoned one) responds to the demons of war. Well worth your time.
Guess what, the bombing worked like a charm.
Chris Hitchens weighs in with "I told you so" in 1000 words or less. Now if only we had a Chomsky response.
The Taliban withdrawal is a strategic move, not a sign of retreat.
By strategically handing over key Afghan cities to the Northern Alliance before melting into the mountainsides, the Taliban tossed political hand grenades at the United States.
On the surface, it appears the Taliban were dealt a crushing defeat. Thousands of Taliban fighters switched sides or were captured during the Northern Alliance’s advance, and the remainder melted into the hills having put up almost no fight. However, the Taliban withdrawal was far from a rout. Rather, it reflects abandonment of a strategy that could have led to their destruction, in preparation for a more traditional and effective strategy for combat in Afghanistan — guerrilla warfare.
Speaking of Veterans Day,
here in Chicago we have the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum. Art by Vets about the War. Most pieces are on-line with a short essay. The Above and Beyond memorial
is impressive to say the least.
In Flanders Fields
- by John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields
MetaFilter readers wherever you are, please take a moment of silence to honour those who gave their lives so that we could live ours.
Finally, good news
in the war in Afghanistan. The Northern Alliance has captured the city of Mazar-e sharif. "Afghan rebel commanders proclaimed tonight they have captured the provincial capital of Mazar-e Sharif and have routed its Taliban defenders."
Northern Alliance forces entered the city quickly after winning a fierce battle at a bakery(!?) between the two airports that had served as an alliance base until the Taliban took the city three years ago.
Get your Enduring Freedom Trading cards!
Topps releases a new series "documenting America's greatest challenge". But don't worry, they didn't include any "disturbing images from national newscasts". Will Wizards of the Coast
Erudite op-ed piece on current events by Mark Morford of SF Gate. Pro-America does not mean pro-war. Or pro-Bush. Or anti-Afghanistan. Or pro-little-flags-on-SUV-antennas.
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?