Friday, April 04, 2003

The latest on the 'war':

  1. It is at least odd that the Americans announced they had captured Baghdad airport on April 3, and were reported as "overrunning its airfields with tanks and other armored units," while Robert Fisk was on an Iraqi guided tour to the same airport on the same day and saw no sign of any Americans. It appears that the Americans were so confident of success that they announced the capture of the airport before they actually arrived there.

  2. Here is an article on the possible oil pipeline from Iraq to Israel. Such a pipeline would probably require 'regime change' in Syria, and we know the Israelis are keen for war against Syria. It has been pointed out that Rumsfeld's accusations that Syria is supplying Iraq with sophisticated weapons is completely without proof. Iraq could buy just about anything it wanted in the international arms market. In fact, some of the most entrepreneurial arms dealers are in Iraq's neighborhood, ironically in Israel, and it is Israel that has privileged access to the most sophisticated American technology. American accusations probably just represent the first stage in the propaganda war to expand the attack on Iraq to Syria. In the short term, Syria would be a much, much easier target than Iran.

  3. The 'coalition of the willing' has largely fallen apart. It was always a rather silly concept, consisting of the United States, Britain, a few soldiers from Australia, and a handful of troops from a few other countries, with the rest of the 'coalition' as a sort of cheerleading squad. Countries like the Czech Republic, Croatia, and Slovenia have rejected the war, Denmark and the Netherlands have backed down from earlier levels of support (I can understand why the Netherlands is involved - it has something to do with a large Dutch-English oil company - but am at a loss why Denmark, of all countries, gave some support to this immotal attack), and even Italy is being careful to ensure that it gives no actual help to Britain or the United States. Slovenia is a special case, having been slated by the U. S. Congress to get millions of dollars for proving to be 'willing', and had to indignantly reply that it was not 'willing'. Even the Solomon Islands are out!

  4. The world is noticing the atrocity of 'coalition' use of cluster bombs in Iraq. The Pentagon is going to change the color of the packaging of its humanitarian aid to distinguish it from the color of the cluster bombs. Of course, both the British and the Americans claim they wouldn't drop the cluster bombs on civilians, but still seem to think there is a possibility that civilians might encounter them. It appears that cluster bombs were used on civilians at Hilla. Even if the bombers don't directly target civilians, the unexploded bomblets stay on the ground as land mines, and pose a continuing threat to civilians. Cluster bombs should simply be illegal.

  5. Iraq is alleging (or here) that a cluster bomb attack on the Baghdad residential district of Douri killed 14 people and wounded 66. There were probably also civilians killed in a rocket attack on the village of Furat.

  6. Saddam has shown no signs of using, or even having, any chemical or biological weapons. What are the chances of the Americans using such weapons against the Iraqis? It may sound absurd, but consider that:

    • Bush has already authorized the use of illegal weapons like tear gas and similar agents

    • if the Americans used weapons of mass destruction, they could blame it on Saddam, and would have 'proof' that he actually had such weapons and was evil enough to use them even on his own people (the absence of such weapons is embarassing for the Americans, as it was at one time the main justification for the attack on Iraq)

    • the use of such weapons might avoid the huge American losses expected in door to door fighting in Baghdad

    • Baghdad would be a perfect testing ground for whatever the Americans have been working on in chemical or biological weapons, as well as a perfect test of American protective gear

    • although they would deny it, the suspicion that the weapons were actually used by the Americans on Iraqi civilians would make the planned wars of the United States against the World much easier to fight

    • having these weapons in reserve might explain the confidence of the American advance on Baghdad, especially when it appears that the Americans are not yet ready to fight.