Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Iraq:

  1. The complete lack of personal security means that aid workers are hindered in doing their jobs, a problem that is all the more serious as their jobs are vitally important due to the fact that the occupying powers aren't doing enough to help the people of Iraq.

  2. American soldiers perceive themselves as being liked by the Iraqis, while the reality is far, far different. As the Americans are picked off, one by one, their attitudes will change.

  3. The Americans fired all the Iraqi army, leaving them completely without a source of income. This has created a great deal of bitterness amongst a group of armed fighters.

  4. From a report by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

    "After two devastating wars and 12 years of economic sanctions, Iraqis are being crushed physically, economically, socially and spiritually. Health conditions are in a downward spiral; the vast majority of the work force has no work; the once burgeoning middle class has almost disappeared; and they are under the occupation of a conquering army."

    and

    "Electricity is still rolling on and off in the city. Water is available, but humanitarian workers warn that it is of poor quality. Some streets are awash in sewage. The shells of burned-out buildings, from government ministries to shopping malls, dot the skyline. Garbage rots along the sidewalks. Without traffic lights and almost no police officers, the streets are chaotic, and if not for the young men in various communities who volunteer daily to risk life and limb to help direct traffic, they would be parking lots."


  5. UNICEF reported that acute malnutrition among children in Iraq had almost doubled since before the war, jumping from 4 per cent to 7.7 per cent.

  6. More on the nuclear contamination of the villages around the Tuwaitha nuclear compound. Isn't it odd how the Americans complained about Saddam's alleged nuclear program, and are complaining bitterly about Iran's nuclear program and may use their complaints as a basis for war, and yet are completely and blissfully unconcerned about what might have been taken from Tuwaitha?

  7. More on the very disturbing nature of the trophy photos taken by a British soldier showing torture and humiliation of Iraqi POW's. The British seem to be proud of their moral superiority over the Americans, but are at least as evil.

  8. The latest elaboration on the story of the deal that ended the attack on Iraq is that Special Republican Guard chief Maher Sufian al-Tikriti was bribed not to defend Baghdad. The Americans shouldn't be criticized for this as it saved a lot of lives, but the deal, in whatever form it took, means that it was neither improvements in weaponry nor strategy that won the battle.

  9. Khalis is a small provincial capital about 50 miles north of Baghdad, and has all the same problems which plague the rest of Iraq. Due to lack of electricity and failure to pay workers, the water and sanitation systems have failed, which has led to disease, and undercapacity and lack of medicines in the hospitals has meant that the disease can't be properly treated. The absence of security has meant that the necessary repairs to the electrical system are delayed, and so everything continues to get worse.

  10. The Pentagon's lying about the rescue of Private Lynch has become one of the biggest stories of the war. We are now starting to see the warmongers regroup and try to pick holes in the stories of those debunking the Pentagon story. Why has this become so important? I think it is symbolic of the entire war, a war which we now know was justified and fought on the basis of lies, a war that was 'won' using secret deals involving the bribing of Iraqi commanders, and a war where almost every official Pentagon statement has turned out to be untrue. The Lynch story was a little bit of jingoistic heroism which came at a time when the war was going particularly badly, and has a great deal of emotional significance for the warmongers. Here is what we know:

    • Although the story changed with every report (if you are really bored, you can read an assortment of varying reports: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7), it is unlikely that she had any gunshot wounds, and was probably injured in the crash of the vehicle she was in. The gunshot story appears to be a Pentagon PR dramatic improvement to what really happened.

    • Contrary to some claims, she was well treated by the hospital staff, who protected her from Iraqi soldiers who might have done her harm.

    • The Iraqis tried to return her to the Americans, but had to turn back because of gunfire, which may have come from the Americans or may have been part of a firefight that was going on at the time.

    • The Americans came into the hospital as if they were making a movie, and it is clear that the main purpose of the exercise, even above rescuing Private Lynch, was producing a good propaganda film.

    • The initial claim of some Iraqis that the Americans were firing blanks has been disputed by some warmongers, but the warmongers face a difficult choice of either admitting that blanks were used (and thus admitting that much of the drama of the rescue was completely faked), or admitting that the Americans came in firing live ammunition in a hospital. Since this whole operation seems to have been a Hollywood production, it is not out of the question that some of the soldiers were carrying special blank-firing weapons as would be used in a professional film production (meaning that the argument that a special attachment would be needed on their guns wouldn't necessarily be true), while others were armed just in case they ran into real opposition.

    • The story that she couldn't remember appears to be a complete Pentagon confabulation in order to cover up the phoniness of the whole operation. The fact that her parents have been ordered (by whom?) not to talk adds to the suspicions about official fears of what they might say (not to mention that soldiers of her 507th Maintenance Company have also been warned not to talk, with a soldier in that unit saying: "It's almost 'say a word and you'll be shot at dawn.'").

    The bottom line is that the Pentagon needed good press, so they staged a rescue for propaganda purposes. The whole thing got blown out of proportion, with the Pentagon claiming innocence, but here's how media manipulation works:

    "The Pentagon says it did not embellish the tale when it first announced the rescue at its Central Command headquarters in Doha, Qatar. But a few whispers to reporters by anonymous U.S. officials - about Lynch's 'to-the-death' gun battle before her capture, her supposed gunshot wounds, and her mistreatment at the hospital - set the plate for a feast by media that could not resist such a made-for-TV plot."

    They got caught red handed, and are spinning wildly to avoid embarrassment. The faked aspects of the rescue are symbolic of the whole attack on Iraq, which was run in its entirety as a propaganda exercise.

  11. The Americans bombed a restaurant in Baghdad in an attempt to kill Saddam, who almost certainly was not there. From an interview with Canadian military reporter Scott Taylor by Christopher Deliso, another account of the bombing:

    "On April 7, the US tried to attack Saddam by bombing a restaurant in an upscale neighborhood of Baghdad. According to them, the missile attack had 'narrowly missed' hitting Hussein's party - they had been there something like 15 minutes earlier, it was alleged. And this was supposed to be a sign that American intelligence, thought to be lacking, was getting closer to their man. Remember, getting Saddam was still politically important then to sustaining support for the war.

    After I heard this, I thought, 'well, maybe it's possible.' So I had my taxi driver take me there. And you know what? The possibility of Saddam ever having been there is absolutely zero. This place was the only American style restaurant in Baghdad. It served burgers, fries, and 'Kentuckiy' fried chicken. They had the whole works - paper hats, deep-fat fryers, plastic trays. The only people who went there were American journalists.

    The whole idea was absurd. I mean, can you imagine Saddam carrying a plastic tray?"

    and, in response to a question about how they came up with the idea to bomb that restaurant:

    "My opinion is that the military was looking to make a show, and so they asked the journalists, 'do you know any restaurants around?' And this was the only place they knew, except for the Al Rasheed. They just wanted to bomb something to make it seem like they were on the ball. Actually they were just clueless."

    The cluelessness resulted in the deaths of a good many Iraqi civilians. This is just another example of the way the war was fought as a pure propaganda exercise.


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