Monthly Archives: March 2003

…the rockets red glare the bombs bursting in air…     our flag was still there

First, remember how over the past few days I've been saying that the US will not be able to launch an effective ground assault on Baghdad “by the numbers” and would have to bomb them for a while first? Now remember how the Bush regime has been claiming that there would be no pause? Well, guess what… As much as a 40-day pause so the people of Baghdad can get bombed first has been decided on (more).

I want to very briefly also mention “dirty tricks”… The US and Britain have been whining about how Iraq is using guerrilla tactics like troops out of uniform (did you ever consider that maybe they are too poor to have real uniforms?)… Let me remind people that this is total BS. It's for the benefit of the TV audience. The US has piles of troops dressed as civilians carrying out assassination missions behind enemy lines (more), so if anyone tries to argue that point, please see through their double-standard.

Even though so far ten sites have been found that have previously been claimed to be WMD sites, so far all are turning up blank (more). That said, Americans don't seem to care that Pearl Harbor was a deception to get America into WWII (more), nor do they care that the Gulf of Tonkin incident that got them into Vietnam never happened (more)… so maybe no one will notice that Saddam actually has no WMDs. Watch Bush's speeches — notice how WMDs are mentioned less, and “freedom” and “liberation” are the new buzzwords.

But don't think Iraq or the Arab world will forget this butchery built on lies… Don't think the rest of the world will either. The American government may be able to propagandize and blind a majority of its population, but it can't do it to the entire world.

I'd like to quote from a British pilot who was attacked by America “friendly fire”. Even though he was tagged with the thermal markers provided by the US, and the A10 the Americans were flying had all the gear required to identify their tank as British, the US pilots could apparently identify them from neither the electronic signature, the design of vehicle (modern British tanks don't look like old Iraqi crap), or the Union Jack which the US pilots directly targetted

Please read this and realize that when you call for “support our troops”, this is what you're supporting (more, more, more):

"We [in our tank] can identify a friendly vehicle from 1,500 metres, yet [the American has] an A10 with advanced technology and he can't use a thermal sight to identify whether a tank is a friend or foe. It's ridiculous."

"Combat is what I've been trained for. I can command my vehicle. I can keep it from being attacked. What I have not been trained to do is look over my shoulder to see whether an American is shooting at me."

"There was no gap between the bullets. I heard it and I froze. The next thing I knew the turret was erupting with white light everywhere, heat and smoke. I didn't even have time to close my eyes or blink. I don't know why I've still got hair or eyebrows.

"I felt I was going to burn to death. I just shouted, 'Reverse, reverse, reverse'. My headset had come off. My gunner was screaming, 'Get out, get out.' I was out of the turret in milliseconds. How I got out of that hole I don't know. Then I saw the A10 coming again and I just ran."

"I'll never forget that A10. He was about 50 metres off the ground. He circled, because he can turn on a ten-pence. He came back around. He was no more than 1,000 metres away when he started his attack run. He was about 500 metres away when he started firing."

"On the back of one of the engineers' vehicles there was a Union Jack. It's about 18 inches wide by about 12 inches. For him to fire his weapons I believe he had to look through his magnified optics. How he could not see that Union Jack I don't know."

"The plane came over again and it started shooting. I saw sparks coming from the ground or my leg. It didn't hurt, it felt like someone had kicked me in the back of my leg. I felt warm down the back of my leg. Blood was spurting everywhere. I thought I was dead."

"There was a boy of about 12 years old. He was no more than 20 metres away when the Yank opened up. There were all these civilians around. He had absolutely no regard for human life. I believe he was a cowboy."

"I'm curious about what's going to happen to the pilot. He's killed one of my friends and he's killed him on the second run."

Does it make you proud?

Along of lines of things of things I've warned about before, the US continues to threaten Iran and Syria (more), and it looks like they're getting sick of it (or perhaps simply scared of it). Syria has been forced to issue a statement saying, “We will not wait until we become the next target. I call on Muslims to use all means possible to thwart the aggression, including martyr operations against hostile invaders. This is the obligation of all Muslims.” (more). According to the US, the war efforts are going “on track” and are “truly remarkable” (more)… Sure, if your goal is, and always has been, the apocalypse (more).

American people need to know how truly hated they are. Yes, I know, and I think Europeans know that you aren't actually being represented by the Bush regime any more than Saddam represents his people, but realize that even though Arabs were no fans of Saddam, they so hate the idea of American invasion that they'll use their bodies as weapons. They'll die before they'll let Americans in… So you've got Turkish villagers attacking US military convoys with stones (more) and unarmed Kuwaitis smashing trucks into crowds of US soldiers (more).

I point out those two incidents because American people are being told that the Iraqi people want US liberation. They don't. I'd like now to quote Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar, a 59 year old Iraqi man who loves British pubs and American diners, went to school in the US, and has travelled extensively in the UK. He's no friend of Saddam, he understands the Western world, and he feels just like most Iraqis (more):

"The more of those American bastards I get the happier I will be. I loved both Britain and America but you idiots have turned me against you. You impose punitive sanctions on this country which bring us to our knees. And now you want us to roll out the red carpet for you — you must be joking."

"Saddam Hussein is no friend of mine. But when your troops come down my street I'll be shooting at your boys all the way. But it won't be for the president. It will be for Iraq."

"You say Saddam Hussein has killed many people — I say the UN sanctions have killed our children. Does Saddam Hussein kill children? No."

"You weren't calling him a ruthless dictator in the Eighties when this place was dripping with money. Now you say you are bombing us into democracy. Yet since you've unloaded thousands of missiles on us I don't feel more democratic."

"So you should unleash another thousand — or double that, triple that or more. Maybe then I will feel more democratic. You give me the choice between Saddam Hussein or George Bush. I take Saddam Hussein every time."

Do you still believe the Bush regime when they tell you that Iraq will welcome the American invasion with open arms? Another more quick quotes to illustrate what's going on (more):

"First, I carried out my little cousin, Rana — she was dead. Then I saw my sister Hana — she was dead. And I looked everywhere for my wife. And then they found her on the stairs... [holding the photo of Rana, crying] "I took you to the village because I was afraid of Bush killing you, and then Bush came to the village and killed you."

From Eric Margolis on this subject (more):

Iraqis, quite clearly, do not want to be "liberated" — even many who have long opposed Saddam's brutal regime. To the contrary, the American-British invasion appears to have ignited genuine national resistance among 17 million Arab Iraqis, just as the 1941 German invasion of the USSR rallied Russians and Ukrainians behind Stalin's hated regime.

So far, regular Iraqi army units, militia groups and guerrillas have been delaying and harassing the northward advance of U.S. forces by assaulting their overextended supply lines, then retreating into cities and towns. Any 18th century general worth his snuff would tell you never leave enemy garrisons athwart your communications (supply lines). Napoleon said lines of communications were the most important factor in war, a lesson U.S. forces are painfully relearning in Iraq.

So 100,000 more American troops are being rushed to Iraq, meaning almost half of the U.S. Army will be stuck in Mesopotamia at a time when North Korea is threatening war. And this before U.S. forces have even clashed with Iraq's Republican Guards.

I think it's also important to quote Doug Johnson, who's been in Baghdad recording the “collateral damage” in the city (more) even though we're told “only military targets” are being hit. Come on! They've been playing footage of residential neighbourhoods in Baghdad in flames for days. Unless the city is a ghost town you'd have to be an idiot to believe there aren't innocent people dying (more).

"Several large explosions have just shaken my building... It's funny, but you actually get used to it. U.S. bombs are dropping everywhere. They have broken windows in my hotel. These bombs are not that smart... The only effect (the bombing) has on the Iraqis is that it pisses them off, and they can't wait for the U.S. soldiers to arrive on the ground so that they can put up the fight of their lives."

Americans — you must realize the legacy the Bush regime is leaving you. Yes, you can vote him out in two or six years, but at that point the damage is done. For every year the Bush regime is in power, for every year he brutalises the Middle East, you will need to spend twenty to fifty years repairing his damage… And every one of those years he and his cronies rape you for billions of dollars in personal profits.

Let's see what the US troops have to say (more):

"[upon hearing stories that ice cream trucks are coming] I hope it's true!. I like ice cream, the way they put strawberries in it, and the seeds stick between your teeth."
- USMC Cpl. Jason St. Pierre

"[describing his tanks running living people over] Killed one, ripped the legs off another..."

- USMC "Monty"

"[complaining that their access to TV and newspapers has been restricted] Day to day you have no idea what you're doing or what you're getting yourself into... I think everybody should have a chance to know what's going on, we're all in this together."

- USMC Pvt. 1st Class Antonio Garcia

I think though I should finish with a quote from Neville Watson, a Peace Team member from Australia. He's 73 years old, a judge, and minister. He travelled to Iraq in January. His plans originally would have brought him back by now, but upon seeing the situation in Iraq, he “elected to stay, even if it meant never again seeing his wife, children, and grandchildren.”

"To say God bless America as it goes to war is blasphemy of the worst kind. I used to think of the U.S. as a peace-loving country, but the picture we have today is of a belligerent sheriff deciding which regimes will be changed. I continue to be concerned at how easily the hand over the heart drops to the holster."

I've tried to keep my editorialising out of the entries lately as much as possible. I've tried to let the war speak with the voices that are coming out of it. I've provided links so you can confirm I'm not twisting words… Make your own mind up as to what conclusion the above should take you to.

PS. Maybe dolphins are just dumb fish after all… (more)

A warning to those in Michigan

As of tomorrow morning, Michigan law banning VPNs and other private telecommunications software and hardware goes into effect (more). The following things (among others) are now a felony punishable by two years in prison and forfeiture of any equipment involved:

  • Anonymous internet access (actually, it's broader than that, it's anonymous telecommunications access of any kind).
  • Anything that could violate copyright (ie. file sharing software, hooking up two TV's to your cable connection without permission, etc.).
  • Anything that could provide free telecommunications access such as open wireless networks.
  • Source code or documentation for any of the above.

This is law as of tomorrow. It's already been passed. Yay for freedom, right… Freedom for rich megacorps to rape the American citizen, with the full collusion of the US government… Maybe I'm too into old American sportscars, but that's just not what America stands for to me…

This is the voice of democracy

Let's see what news is coming out of Iraq and Baghdad specifically… Some quotes to try and give you a feel of what it's like to live there right now. And again, remember, Baghdad looked like Miami before the US started dropping giant bombs on it. This is not a primitive place — it's a modern Western liberal city.

"This is a crime. Yes, I know they say they are targeting the military. But can you see soldiers here? Can you see missiles?"

"We had a great day! We killed a lot of people! We dropped a few civilians... but what do you do? [describing shooting into a civilian crowd to hit a suspected soldier] I'm sorry, but the chick was in the way."

- Sgt. Eric Schrumpf, US military

Jalil Ali, 25, a well-educated and polite trainee scientist at the Ministry for Higher Education, threw a bottle of water on to the ground. "Take it back! Why are they giving water and food when they are bombing us as well?"


"I don't remember so many injured people, so much blood everywhere, in this hospital before... Even doctors and nurses were shocked. People were so badly injured that they were dying in our hands."

- Dr. Haqqi Razouki

"I don't believe America is doing it by accident. Every day, they kill civilian people. Every day, injured civilians are brought to our hospital. It is not a war. It is slaughter."

- Dr. Abbas Ali Abbas

"It was mad chaos like you cannot imagine. You couldn't see anything except all those hues of red and the sound of fire from all sides. It was not earthly. I'll have nightmares about it."

- "Cobra 6" (US tank commander)

[In Basra] the young man's eyes smoulder with hatred. "Enemy," is all he can say in English. "It's a living hell in there," I am told by one military official. "People are too afraid to come out of their homes. They don't know who is friend, who is foe. Water and food is scarce, there is no electricity."


"Our floors are covered with blood of our people, the walls are splashed with blood. Why, why, why? Why all this blood? I'm a doctor, but I can't understand such things. They say [they] come to free us? Is this freedom?"

- Dr Ahmed Sufian

I hope that brings home a little of the feeling of what's going on there. Everyone knows the US will win (or at least should be able to win) this war through sheer size. Sure, there are US and British casualties, but to be perfectly honest, the majority so far (80-90% for the British) are “friendly fire” (more). Let's face it; the forces so far are so mismatched that it's not an honorable fight in any way. As Charlie Reese (more) points out,

There will be no honor in this victory. We have attacked and will defeat a small country that doesn't stand a chance. As you can see, as of this writing, so far the main dangers to our people have been accidents and friendly fire. Our tanks shoot at 5,000 meters; the Iraqis' old Soviet tanks shoot at 2,000 meters. Our field intelligence is out of the space age. We have satellites and predators and U-2s and all-seeing radar. The Iraqis have binoculars. We have more than 1,000 of the world's most sophisticated aircraft. The Iraqis have a few dilapidated MIGs that they haven't even bothered to try to get off the ground.

And you wonder why Saddam is using “dirty” tricks? It's because he has no choice — the US escalated the arms race, not him. That's why he's trying to force an attack on Baghdad, and with morons and cowards like Rumsfield (more, more) in charge, America is getting played. First, because it'll mean massive civilian deaths, resulting in political support from civilians around the world. Second, because it'll mean massive troop losses for the Allies — the British are expecting to lose at least a thousand of their young men in Baghdad alone, with allied troops being slaughtered at a rate at least triple that of the Vietnam War (more).

Finally, Saddam wants to the main battles to happen in these urban areas because it's one of the few places he can stack the odds in his favors (short of the US nuking the city or total genocide, an option that Bush said he has not yet ruled out). In a “conventional” invading ground war, one “needs” a force that outnumbers the native troops by at least 3:1, with entrenched forces needing as much as a 10:1 ratio, according to Lawrence J. Korb, the director of National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (more, more, more).

Baghdad contains about 30,000 high-end Iraqi troops, plus about 100,000 trained police and militia, plus guerrilla forces with at least a quarter million people. The US and Britain can mobilize between 20,000 and 50,000 troops inside the city… You can do the math for yourself. There is no way for America to win this war without bombing Iraq and killing multitudes of citizens. Let me give you one more quote so you understand what is being done in the name of America.

Inside a small, bare livingroom with two old wooden benches, a pine box lay covered by a blanket. The 12-year-old boy stared blankly [from the coffin], his arm folded awkwardly under him. His mother Tisar reached into the coffin, grabbing hold of [her son] and began calling him back from the dead. 'My baby, you are my only son,' she said as relatives pull her off the corpse. 'My baby, my son, my son.' When they closed the coffin, Tisar beat the coffin with her fists and wailed, pulling her hair.

Does it make you proud?

Why does the America flag bring salutes at home and tears abroad? How can one set of people look at the stars and stripes and be brought to patriotic vigor, while another group just cries as they hold the bloody corpses of their children and ask why?

Does the end justify this means?

Are you sure the end will come?

What else… The US just seized $1.62 billion in assets from Iraqi firms controlled by the Iraqi government (more), more countries in the “co-alition” are stepping forward to say they are not involved and the US is just making it up (more), oil prices have jumped to $30.16 a barrel (more), and the US has committed another $100 billion (which the US people have not yet been told about officially) to “rebuilding” Iraq (more). Here's a hint — you wouldn't have to rebuild it if you didn't bomb it. But of course then there wouldn't be major money to hand to the private corporations who put Bush et al in power (since as you know, the UN has been totally cut out of these decisions; these contracts will go to cronies).

How did Bush achieve this? Did he just make a clever bet? (more/mp3*)

I've seen a lot of people both here and in the media make the callous and ignorant claim that Saddam has been starving his own people. I'd like to quote from Matthew Rothschild (more) who responds to Tony Blair's claim made at the Bush-conference last week that under Saddam, “400,000 Iraqi children have died preventively because of the regime.”

All those children died, in large part, because the United Nations — at the behest of Britain and the United States — insisted upon maintaining economic sanctions on Iraq. These sanctions prevented basic items from getting to Iraq, items like chlorine to purify the water supply there. For years, human rights activists urged a lifting of these economic sanctions because of the terrible toll they exacted, a toll that only now Tony Blair seems concerned about, only now when he can use that toll as an excuse for war. Madeleine Albright notoriously told Lesley Stahl of Sixty Minutes that this civilian death toll was "worth it." Albright understood and acknowledged U.S. complicity in those deaths, but accepted them anyway.

Finally, in the “perpetual war for perpetual suffering” department, Iran and Syria are pissed that Rummy continues to threaten them even though they've stayed remarkably neutral (more)… Continued threats which can only draw more countries into the war against the Bush regime, and increase hatred of America in “friendly” countries like Turkey, where US troops are getting stoned by villagers as they try and retrieve missiles that crash in the wrong country. Then of course there's North Korea, who has issued the following statements (more):

"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea would have already met the same miserable fate as Iraq's had it compromised its revolutionary principle and accepted the demand raised by the imperialists and its followers for 'nuclear inspection' and disarmament. The DPRK will increase its self-defensive capability and fully demonstrate its might under the uplifted banner of the army-based policy."

Aint the world a grand place? What a fine vision Bush has for us all…

* This file is a quote of Bush explaining to friends about how he's managed to shift unstated budget money to private corporations who sponsored him: “Someone asked me, 'is there ever any time the budget might have to go into defict?' I said to him, 'only if we were at war, or had a national emergency, or were in a recession.” (crowd laughs). “Little did I realize we'd get the trifecta.” (more laughs). For those that don't know, a TRIFECTA is a type of bet where you pick the first three winners in order. That is, Bush was in effect saying, “How can I pass the people's money to my companies? I will bet on war, terror, and recession.” You decide if that reveals truth or idiocy. Stupid or evil… Those continue to be the options.


Seriously, do you know anyone with a more white trash yard? There's a lot of mud (and dog shit), some snowmobiles and ATVs, a couple sports cars (white trash has figured out that you can get toys if you don't blow your money on a fancy house; drive around the streets here and you'll see $25,000 houses surrounded in a quarter million dollars worth of toys everywhere), and of course trucks… Broken down buildings with satellite dishes strapped to them… Does life get any better? Yeah, one day soon, mullets will get cool again.

Beeeep; another 15 minutes!

Just finished a pretty amazing phone interview for the re-launch of BMEradio (top secret for now)… Now it's off to Vanilla for transcription and when she's got that done I've got a brief online followup to do and I'll get it posted (it'll go in the Publisher's Ring, I think that's where I'm going to put interviews as well).

Also, just got the following email. I'm posting it as is, unscreened (ie. I can't vouch for her as good or evil since I haven't talked to her), but if anyone wants to drop her a line feel free:

From: "Jeannie Kim" <>
Subject: writer looking for interview subjects
Date: Sat, 29 Mar 2003 16:34:01 -0500

Hi Shannon--a couple of people on the AOL Teens piercing/tattoos board recommended that I contact you. I'm writing a book for Scholastic Inc. Hi/Lo Series--a series designed for kids and teens who have trouble reading, sold directly to schools for use in the classroom. The title I'm working on is called "Teen Health" (about teen health, obviously) and there will be a chapter about tattoos and piercings, covering the health risks and how to do it safely. I'm looking for teens (preferably 15-18) to quote in this chapter, talking about the tattoos and piercings they have, how long they've had them, why they decided to get them, etc. I was hoping that you might be able to help me find some teens to interview, either through or through your personal contacts. They would be quoted by first name and age only (they can use a pseudonym if they want), no other identifying information. I can do interviews via email, IM, or phone, whichever they prefer.

If you could help me connect with some teens, I would really appreciate it. You can email me if you have any more questions about this, or call me at 917-***-****.

Jeannie Kim

If someone wants to call her drop me an IM and I'll give you her number, but I'm obviously not going to post it publicly! (Or you can just email her of course).