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by Scott Ritter (former weapons inspector!!!)
The remarkable images of the fall of Baghdad, while not signaling the end of "Operation Iraqi Freedom," do bring to an end a critical phase of the military operation - that in which coalition forces wore special protective equipment in anticipation of the use by Iraq of chemical and/or biological weapons.
The orders to strip down to regular battle dress reflect not only the advance stage of the campaign to liberate Iraq, but also the recognition by coalition commanders that the threat from Iraqi chemical and biological weapons has been all but eliminated.
The fact that these protective suits were not needed by coalition forces is a cause for celebration. But the total lack of chemical weapons on the battlefield, combined with the inability of the coalition, to date, to uncover any of the massive stockpiles of prohibited weapons or weapons-manufacturing capability, raises disturbing questions about what was supposed to be the main justification for the American-led military action: disarming a recalcitrant dictator.
While the days to come may bring with them the uncovering of weapons of mass destruction and/or associated production facilities, the inescapable fact is the allegations of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction used by the Bush administration to sustain the legitimacy of its Iraq intervention remain, as of this point, unsustained.
This uncomfortable fact must be addressed. It is not that anyone should shed tears for the demise of Saddam Hussein.The world will be a better place without him and his regime. But the world should be concerned about the damage the American military incursion did to the credibility and viability of the United Nations, especially given the dangerous world we all live in today.
Now, more than ever, the world needs a sound strategy for non-proliferation and disarmament. The United Nations had been, until recently, the accepted forum for dealing with such issues.
See rest of article here :
04/16/03: (hoax) WORKER DEAD AT DESK FOR 5 DAYS
(of course we put this story up on our site and then found it wasn't true. Good story nonetheless in this day and age.)
WORKER DEAD AT DESK FOR 5 DAYS (New York Times)
George Turklebaum, 51, who had been employed as a proof-reader at a New York firm for 30 years, had a heart attack in the open-plan office he shared with 23 other workers. He quietly passed away on Monday, but nobody noticed until Saturday morning when an office cleaner asked why he was still working during the weekend.
His boss Elliot Wachiaski said: "George was always the first guy in each morning and the last to leave at night, so no one found it unusual that he was in the same position all that time and didn't say anything. He was always absorbed in his work and kept much to himself."
A post mortem examination revealed that he had been dead for five days after suffering a coronary. Ironically, George was proofreading manuscripts of medical textbooks when he died.
You may want to give your co-workers a nudge occasionally.
Moral of the story: Don't work too hard. Nobody notices anyway.
04/16/03: Why The Anti-War Movement Was Right
Published on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 by Arianna Huffington
Why The Anti-War Movement Was Right
by Arianna Huffington
The Bible tells us that pride goeth before the fall. In Iraq, it cameth right after it. From the moment that statue of Saddam hit the ground, the mood around the Rumsfeld campfire has been all high-fives, I-told-you-sos, and endless smug prattling about how the speedy fall of Baghdad is proof positive that those who opposed the invasion of Iraq were dead wrong.
What utter nonsense. In fact, the speedy fall of Baghdad proves the anti-war movement was dead right.
The whole pretext for our unilateral charge into Iraq was that the American people were in imminent danger from Saddam and his mighty war machine. The threat was so clear and present that we couldn't even give inspectors searching for weapons of mass destruction -- hey, remember those? -- another 30 days, as France had wanted.
Well, it turns out that, far from being on the verge of destroying Western civilization, Saddam and his 21st century Gestapo couldn't even muster a half-hearted defense of their own capital. The hawks' cakewalk disproves their own dire warnings. They can't have it both ways. The invasion has proved wildly successful in one other regard: It has unified most of the world -- especially the Arab world -- against us.
Back in 1991, more than half-a-dozen Arab nations were part of our Desert Storm coalition. Operation Iraqi Freedom's "coalition of the willing" had zero. Not even the polygamous potentates of Kuwait -- whose butts we saved last time out and who were most threatened by whatever threat Iraq still presented -- would join us. And, I'm sorry, but substituting Bulgaria and the island of Tonga for Egypt and Oman is just not going to cut it when it comes to winning hearts and minds on the Arab street.
In fact, almost everything about the invasion -- from the go-it-alone build-up to the mayhem the fall of Saddam has unleashed -- has played right into the hands of those intent on demonizing our country. Islamic extremists must be having a field day signing up recruits for the holy war they're preparing to wage against us. Instead of Uncle Sam wants you, their recruiting posters feature a different kind of patriotic image: an American soldier ill-advisedly draping the American flag over Saddam's face.
The anti-war movement did not oppose the war out of fear that America was going to lose. It was the Bush administration's pathological and frantic obsession with an immediate, damn-the-consequences invasion that fueled the protests.
And please don't point to jubilant Iraqis dancing in the streets to validate the case for "pre-emptive liberation." You'd be doing the Baghdad Bugaloo too if the murderous tyrant who'd been eating off golden plates while your family starved finally got what was coming to him. It in no way proves that running roughshod over international law and pouring Iraqi oil -- now brought to you by the good folks at Halliburton -- onto the flames of anti-American hatred was a good idea. It wasn't before the war, and it still isn't now. The unintended consequences have barely begun to unfold.
And the idea that our slamdunk of Saddam actually proves the White House was right is particularly dangerous because it encourages the Wolfowitzes and the Perles and the Cheneys to argue that we should be invading Syria or Iran or North Korea or Cuba as soon as we catch our breath. They've tasted blood.
It's important to remember that the Arab world has seen a very different war than we have. They are seeing babies with limbs blown off, children wailing beside their dead mothers, Arab journalists killed by American tanks and bombers, holy men hacked to death and dragged through the streets. They are seeing American forces leaving behind a wake of destruction, looting, hunger, humiliation, and chaos.See the whole story at :
04/04/03: Soldiers To Pray For Bush
They may be the ones facing danger on the battlefield, but US soldiers in Iraq are being asked to pray for President George W Bush.
Thousands of marines have been given a pamphlet called "A Christian's Duty," a mini prayer book which includes a tear-out section to be mailed to the White House pledging the soldier who sends it in has been praying for Bush.
"I have committed to pray for you, your family, your staff and our troops during this time of uncertainty and tumult. May God's peace be your guide," says the pledge, according to a journalist embedded with coalition forces.
The pamphlet, produced by a group called In Touch Ministries, offers a daily prayer to be made for the US president, a born-again Christian who likes to invoke his God in speeches.
Sunday's is "Pray that the President and his advisers will seek God and his wisdom daily and not rely on their own understanding". Monday's reads "Pray that the President and his advisers will be strong and courageous to do what is right regardless of critics".
04/02/03: LA Times Doctor Iraq War Photo
(04-02) 06:56 PST LOS ANGELES (AP) --
In an editor's note in Wednesday editions, the Times said photographer Brian Walski acknowledged in a phone call from Iraq that he had used a computer to combine elements of two photos to improve the composition.
Journalism ethics forbid changing the content of news photographs, and it is specifically barred in the newspaper's policy.
The two photos, taken moments apart, showed a British soldier directing Iraqi civilians to protect themselves from possible Iraqi fire on the outskirts of Basra. Only after the altered photo appeared Monday did editors notice that some civilians in the background appeared twice, the Times said.
Messages left early Wednesday for two Times representatives were not immediately returned.
All three photos -- the two originals and the altered photo -- were published by the Times on Wednesday.
Walski had been with the Times since 1998.
03/31/03: Takoma the dolphin is Awol
March 29, 2003
From Daniel McGrory in Umm Qasr
THE US Marines have suffered an embarrassment with reports last night that one of their most prized investigators may have defected.
Takoma, the Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphin, had been in Iraq for 48 hours when he went missing on his first operation to snoop out mines.
His handler, Petty Officer Taylor Whitaker, had proudly showed off Takoma's skills and told how the 22-year-old dolphin was among the most pampered creatures in the American military.
Takoma and his fellow mine hunters have a special diet, regular medical checks and their own sleeping quarters, which is more than can be said for the vast majority of the military whose domestic arrangements are basic, to say the least.
The wayward Takoma set out on the first mission with his comrade, Makai, watched by the cameras as the pair of dolphins somersaulted over the inflatable dinghy carrying their handlers.
Takoma's role was to sweep the way clear for the arrival of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Sir Galahad. US officials had said that dolphins, first used in Vietnam, were a far better bet than all the technology on board the flotilla of ships.
Petty Officer Whitaker had tempted fate by saying: "Why would they go missing when they have the best food and daily spruce-ups and health checks?" Two hours later Takoma had gone Awol. "Twenty-four hours is not unusual," a nervous Petty Officer Whitaker said. "After all, he may meet some local company."
Takoma has now been missing for 48 hours and the solitary figure of Petty Officer Whitaker could be seen yesterday patting the water, calling his name and offering his favourite fish, but there was no response.
03/31/03: Court: Man Can Bark at Police Dog
AP - Feature Stories
Mon Mar 31, 6:22 AM ET
ATHENS, Ohio - A man was using his free speech rights when he barked back at a police dog, a state appeals court has ruled.
The 4th Ohio District Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of charges against a man who answered the barks of Pepsie in this southeast Ohio city in September 2001.
Jeremy Gilchrist, then 21, encountered the dog, which was in a police cruiser, as he walked along a street with friends.
His attorney said he was trying to be funny when he barked back.
"The mere fact that the police dog had commenced the barking did not entitle it to a solo performance," attorney Patrick McGee wrote in the appeal.
State law makes it illegal to taunt, torment or hit a police dog or horse. Officer Krishea Osborne testified that Gilchrist's barking made the dog "work himself up into a frenzy."
However, Athens County Municipal Judge Douglas Bennett threw out the charges last June, saying the law violated the right to free speech. The appeals court agreed Wednesday.
Bennett also said Gilchrist wasn't a threat to the animal or public safety because he was 30 feet away from the cruiser.
City Prosecutor Lisa Eliason argued in the appeal that taunting can occur from any distance.
No decision has been made whether to file another appeal, Eliason said Friday.
Athens is about 65 miles southeast of Columbus.
03/28/03: Let's Help Michael Moore
Thel local FM talk radio station is doing everyyhing in their power to bad mouth Michael Moore for his statements on Sunday night. The mid day show has been giving out the phone number to a local venue that is showingBowling for Columbine.
They are urging listeners to call the theatre (The Magic Bag in Ferndale, MI) and tell them how "Un-American" they are for playing the movie. I would like to get the info out there to everyone that the real Un-American ones are the radio stations that find it fit to ridicule someone that has the courage to stand up and say what many of us are thinking, and secondly how Un-American it is to keep an independant theatre from making money and going about their daily business with their phone lines being fucked up all day.
Here is there info:
First, don't let "those who have power" intimidate you. No matter how much power they have they cannot prevent you from living your life, speaking your mind, thinking independently, having relationships with people as you like. (Read Emma Goldman's autobiography LIVING MY LIFE. Harassed, even imprisoned by authority, she insisted on living her life, speaking out, however she felt like.)
Second, find people to be with who have your values, your commitments, but who also have a sense of humor. That combination is a necessity!
Third (notice how precise is my advice that I can confidently number it, the way scientist number things), understand that the major media will not tell you of all the acts of resistance taking place every day in the society, the strikes, the protests, the individual acts of courage in the face of authority. Look around (and you will certainly find it) for the evidence of these unreported acts. And for the little you find, extrapolate from that and assume there must be a thousand times as much as what you've found.
Fourth: Note that throughout history people have felt powerless before authority, but that at certain times these powerless people, by organizing, acting, risking, persisting, have created enough power to change the world around them, even if a little. That is the history of the labor movement, of the women's movement, of the anti-Vietnam war movement, the disable persons' movement, the gay and lesbian movement, the movement of Black people in the South.
Fifth: Remember, that those who have power, and who seem invulnerable are in fact quite vulnerable, that their power depends on the obedience of others, and when those others begin withholding that obedience, begin defying authority, that power at the top turns out to be very fragile. Generals become powerless when their soldiers refuse to fight, industrialists become powerless when their workers leave their jobs or occupy the factories.
Sixth: When we forget the fragility of that power in the top we become astounded when it crumbles in the face of rebellion. We have had many such surprises in our time, both in the United States and in other countries.
Seventh: Don't look for a moment of total triumph. See it as an ongoing struggle, with victories and defeats, but in the long run the consciousness of people growing. So you need patience, persistence, and need to understand that even when you don't "win," there is fun and fulfillment in the fact that you have been involved, with other good people, in something worthwhile. Okay, seven pieces of profound advice should be enough.
03/26/03: Fire At The White House
WASHINGTON, March 24 (Reuters) -
03/21/03: Nouveau Cuisine "Fries" In Santa Cruz
The Saturn Cafe in Santa Cruz is temporarily changing the name of their fries to "Fuck George Bush Fries" and 5 % of the profits going to the Impeachment Fund.
Contact Senator Byrd (http://byrd.senate.gov/) and Congressman John Conyers from Michigan (firstname.lastname@example.org) to show your support for their speeches against the Bush Regime.
Congressman John Conyers from Michigan is taking a head count to determine support for impeachment proceedings for this bogus Bush administration.
Senator Robert Byrd's speeches on the Senate floor are enumerating the missteps and gross acts committed by the present leadership.
03/18/03: Howard Zinn - A Chorus Against War
Lifted From The Prgessive
AS I WRITE THIS, it looks like war. This, in spite of the obvious lack of enthusiasm in the country for war. The polls that register "approve" or "disapprove" can only count numbers; they cannot test the depth of feeling. And there are many signs that the support for war is shallow and shaky and ambivalent.
This Administration will not likely be stopped, though it knows its support is thin. In fact, that is undoubtedly why it is in such a hurry; it wants to go to war before the support gets any thinner.
The assumption is that once the soldiers are in combat, the American people will unite behind the war. The television screens will show "smart bombs" exploding, and the Secretary of Defense will assure the American people that civilian casualties are being kept to a minimum. (We're in the age of megadeaths, and any number of casualties less than a million is no cause for concern.)
This is the way it has been. Unity behind the President in time of war. But it may not be that way again.
The anti-war movement will not likely surrender to the martial atmosphere. The hundreds of thousands who marched in Washington and San Francisco and New York and Boston--and in villages, towns, and cities all over the country from Georgia to Montana--will not meekly withdraw. Unlike the shallow support for the war, the opposition to the war is deep and cannot be easily dislodged or frightened into silence.
Indeed, the anti-war feelings are bound to become more intense.
To the demand "Support Our GIs," the movement will be able to reply: "Yes, we support our GIs, we want them to live, we want them to be brought home. The government is not supporting them. It is sending them to die, or to be wounded, or to be poisoned by our own depleted uranium shells."
No, our casualties may not be numerous, but every single one will be a waste of an important human life. We will insist that this government be held responsible for every death, every dismemberment, every case of sickness, every case of psychic trauma caused by the shock of war.
And though the media will be blocked from access to the dead and wounded of Iraq, though the human tragedy unfolding in Iraq will be told in numbers, in abstractions, and not in the stories of real human beings, real children, real mothers and fathers, the movement will find a way to tell that story. And when it does, the American people--who can be cold to death on "the other side," but who also wake up when "the other side" is suddenly seen as a man, a woman, a child, just like us--will respond.
For the rest of the article see :
03/18/03: A Letter from Michael Moore
A Letter from Michael Moore to George W. Bush on the Eve of War
George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Dear Governor Bush:
So today is what you call "the moment of truth," the day that "France and the rest of world have to show their cards on the table." I'm glad to hear that this day has finally arrived. Because, I gotta tell ya, having survived 440 days of your lying and conniving, I wasn't sure if I could take much more. So I'm glad to hear that today is Truth Day, 'cause I got a few truths I would like to share with you:
1. There is virtually NO ONE in America (talk radio nutters and Fox News aside) who is gung-ho to go to war. Trust me on this one. Walk out of the White House and on to any street in America and try to find five people who are PASSIONATE about wanting to kill Iraqis. YOU WON'T FIND THEM! Why? 'Cause NO Iraqis have ever come here and killed any of us! No Iraqi has even threatened to do that. You see, this is how we average Americans think: If a certain so-and-so is not perceived as a threat to our lives, then, believe it or not, we don't want to kill him! Funny how that works!
2. The majority of Americans -- the ones who never elected you -- are not fooled by your weapons of mass distraction. We know what the real issues are that affect our daily lives -- and none of them begin with I or end in Q. Here's what threatens us: two and a half million jobs lost since you took office, the stock market having become a cruel joke, no one knowing if their retirement funds are going to be there, gas now costs almost two dollars -- the list goes on and on. Bombing Iraq will not make any of this go away. Only you need to go away for things to improve.
For the rest of the story:
03/18/03: PENTAGON THREATENS TO KILL INDEPENDENT
10th March, 2003
The Pentagon has threatened to fire on the satellite uplink positions of independent journalists in Iraq, according to veteran BBC war correspondent, Kate Adie. In an interview with Irish radio, Ms. Adie said that questioned about the consequences of such potentially fatal actions, a senior Pentagon officer had said: "Who cares.. ..They've been warned."
According to Ms. Adie, who twelve years ago covered the last Gulf War, the Pentagon attitude is: "entirely hostile to the the free spread of information."
"I am enormously pessimistic of the chance of decent on-the-spot reporting, as the war occurs," she told Irish national broadcaster, Tom McGurk on the RTE1 Radio "Sunday Show."
Ms. Adie made the startling revelations during a discussion of media freedom issues in the likely upcoming war in Iraq. She also warned that the Pentagon is vetting journalists according to their stance on the war, and intends to take control of US journalists' satellite equipment --in order to control access to the airwaves.
Another guest on the show, war author Phillip Knightley, reported that the Pentagon has also threatened they: "may find it necessary to bomb areas in which war correspondents are attempting to report from the Iraqi side."
More at :
03/17/03: Dixie Chicks Embarrassed By Bush
Mar 14, 9:58 AM (ET)
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) -
Maines told the audience earlier this week, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." Angry phone calls flooded Nashville radio station WKDF-FM on Thursday, some calling for a boycott of the Texas trio's music.
The group released a statement Thursday saying they have been overseas for several weeks and "the anti-American sentiment that has unfolded here is astounding. While we support our troops, there is nothing more frightening than the notion of going to war with Iraq and the prospect of all the innocent lives that will be lost."
In a separate statement Thursday, Maines said, "I feel the president is ignoring the opinion of many in the U.S. and alienating the rest of the world. My comments were made in frustration, and one of the privileges of being an American is you are free to voice your own point of view."
The Dixie Chicks will kick off a U.S. tour in support of their multi-platinum album "Home" on May 1 in Greenville, South Carolina. The group's hits include "Wide Open Spaces,""Ready to Run" and "Landslide."