Sunday, January 30, 2005

History according to NPR.

U.S. Changes Tack on Iraq Military Training

All Things Considered, January 24, 2005 · After this weekend's
elections in Iraq, the U.S. plans to revise its strategy on training
Iraq's fledgling security forces, based on lessons learned in
Afghanistan. American advisers "embed" with units for up to two years,
creating closer partnerships with the forces being trained.

Eric Westervelt: …. Additionally the advisor model raises concern
among human rights groups. They recall the specter of the Central
American forces that used their new US trained combat skills to commit
egregious human right abuses, particularly in El Salvador and
Guatemala. General Grange says it is a REAL concern, especially given
the vicious nature of the insurgency and history of brutality under
Saddam Hussein.

Retired US Brigadier General David Grange: "It is hard to teach a
military that came from a country with three decades of lack of
respect for human rights to others, to change over night. And there
will be incidents, no doubt in my mind this would happen, and the US
advisors would have to report that. Which presents another, you know,
issue camaraderie between the advisor and advise."

Full Report

"War has always diminished our freedom. When our freedom has expanded, it
has not come as a result of war or of anything the government has done but
as a result of what citizens have done." -- "Civil disobedience is not our
problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that numbers of
people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their
government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of
this obedience. . . Our problem is that people are obedient all over the
world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and
cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of
petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running and robbing
the country. That's our problem."

-- (Historian Howard Zinn, author of 'A People's History of the
United States')

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The OTHER product of rational, intelligent minds - modern, Western minds.

The turn-off is just past a BP petrol station, close to a Leclerc
supermarket. You leave a roundabout and cross a concrete flyover. You
could be on the edge of any town in early 21st-century Europe.

Ahead, through the swirling snow, looms a single railway line,
disappearing through a tower in a long, red-brick building - the
terminus of a short branch line to Auschwitz-Birkenau built in the
spring of 1944. Beyond are three long railway sidings, tall
barbed-wire enclosures, wooden watch-towers, and dark huts in neat
lines. Some huts are ruined. Others stand pristine in freshly fallen
snow, as if enchanted by a curse and frozen for all time.

All is symmetrical and orderly, the product of rational, intelligent
minds - modern, Western minds.



Saturday, January 22, 2005

What if?

"If we had been wrong the other way and if the threat had really been imminent and we had been hit with an anthrax attack here that was tied to Iraq and the president had done nothing about it, what would people then say?" he retorted when asked to comment about unfound weapons of mass destruction.

"I mean, it would make the criticism of failure to prevent 9/11 just look like child's play."

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said in an interview with PBS television's "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer"

Who else can use this defense? General Pinochet? Stalin? Hitler?

Monday, January 17, 2005

The Sound Bite .....

NPR's All Things Considered had program on Civil Right
movement with guest Andrew Hacker, author of the 1992 book Two
Nations; Claybourne Carson, director of the Martin Luther King Papers
Project at Stanford University; and NPR's Jennifer Ludden. This is
what they said:

Jennifer Ludden: ... Would you concede.... that the general situation
for black Americans has improved?

Andrew Hacker: We have One Million young Black men in prison! That
is a whole chunk of black men, we have more black men in prison that
we have in college... Many more! And nobody is saying there is a
whole generation... that is almost close to genocide in the sense
that they are gonna be felons for the rest of their lives.

Jennifer Ludden: I am wondering Claybourne Carson, how important is
leadership, and is part of the issue there is no modern day Martin
Luther King?

Claybourne Carson: There is no... obviously no Martin Luther King, he
would be 76 years old now, and I think he would be still talking
about the issues that Mr Hacker just described. But my own feeling is
that Dr King would not be welcomed at most Martin King celebrations.
He would be too unsettling in terms of his own message that we still
have a lot of work to do. So I think to some degree what has happened
with Martin Luther King he has been turned into a sound bite, you
know that wonderful speech, I was at the march on Washington, and I
admired the speech, but the way in which it has been turned into a
sound bite to comfort America rather than unsettle America. To make it
seem as if these issues are all in the past. At least once struggled
with that, but now we have overcome it. And that is the way we want
to remember Martin Luther King.

Jennifer Ludden: Andrew Hacker

Andrew Hacker: We live in a very self centered time...

You can listen to the full program at:
All Things Considered

A MUST Watch Documentary

In the past our politicians offered us dreams of a better world. Now
they promise to protect us from nightmares.

The most frightening of these is the threat of an international terror
network. But just as the dreams were not true, neither are these

This is a must watch documentary - Broadcast BBC 2 10/20/04 - Written
and Produced by Adam Curt

Watch Video:

Part One: The Power of Nightmares
Part Two: Baby It's Cold Outside
Part Three: The Shadows In The Cave Better Alternative

The neocons... What they say and what they belive in.

What they say....

LEDEEN : We were aiming for an expansion of the zone of freedom in the world. And in part that had to do with fighting Communism, and in part that had to do with fighting other kinds of tyrannies. But that’s what we were about, and that’s what we’re still about.

INTERVIEWER (off-camera): When you say you were democratic revolutionaries, what do you mean?

LEDEEN : It meant that we wanted to support the people who wanted to carry out revolutions against tyrannical régimes in the name of democracy, in order to install a democratic system.

INTERVIEWER : As simple as that.

LEDEEN : Yeah. It’s not nuclear physics, you know. I mean, freedom is a fairly simple thing to get.

What they belive in...

WILLIAM KRISTOL , Chief of Staff to the Vice President, 1988-92: For Strauss, liberalism produced a decent way of life, and one that he thought was worth defending, but a dead end where nothing could be said to be true; one had no guidance on how to live, everything was relative. Strauss suggests that maybe we didn’t just have to sit there and accept that that was our fate. Politics could help shape the way people live, that politics could help shape the way that people live, teach them some good lessons about living decent and noble human lives. And can we think about what cultures, and what politics, what social orders produce more admirable human beings? I mean, that whole question was put back on the table by Strauss, I think.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

"as they should"

''This is the only practical way to 'win' in Iraq, cut the size of US commitments, and establish a government the Iraqis see as legitimate,"

''What is not clear is whether all the necessary resources are really being provided, and whether a comprehensive and realistic plan exists to ensure that Iraqi military, security, and police forces develop as they should."

Anthony Cordesman, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

You got to love these "fellows"... They get so full of themselves that they think their "as they should" can be forced upon others -- Good luck!

The 4 "areas"

''There's areas where the Iraqi security forces have performed well," Metz said. ''There's areas where they've performed sub-optimally. There's areas where they've been overwhelmed by their opposition and have had to step back and live to fight another day. And there's areas where they've just plain not participated in the fight."

Lieutenant General Thomas Metz, the senior ground commander in Iraq

The good news is that 2 years in to the occupation the "areas" have been identified.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Bin Ladin Option

"The Sunni population is paying no price for the support it is giving to the terrorists," ...."From their point of view, it is cost-free. We have to change that equation."

A Military source in the Pentagon

ronically, Bin Ladin's motivation to attack New York was to make sure American policies in the middle east is not "cost-free" for its civilian population. The chance for this new Pentagon tactic to work on Iraqis is exactly the same as the chance of finding New Yorkers after 9/11 abandoning their goverment in favor of the Taliban.

Friday, January 07, 2005

SPECTER: Starting with the Patriot Act, I already commented that we had this wall which precluded law enforcement from using evidence of crime which had been obtained through search and seizure warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. And now that evidence may be used in a criminal prosecution.

To what extent has that provision and the other provisions of the Patriot Act been of real importance in our fight against terrorism?

GONZALES: Well, of course, Mr. Chairman, I have not been at the department, so I may not know all of the details of specific successes that the United States and the Department of Justice have enjoyed as a result of the tools given to us by the Patriot Act.

But I am told that they have been very significant, and that for our career prosecutors, for the U.S. attorneys out in the field, they have been very, very beneficial in allowing our law enforcement personnel to defend this country.

I believe that in part because of the Patriot Act there has not been a domestic attack on United States soil since9 /11.

If the Patriot Act intends to make it easy to prosecute the terrorist, one has to wonder then why there hasn't been even a single criminal conviction of on terrorism charge since 9/11.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

"Now, I hate to ruin a good story by the president's political opponents, who are attacking him through this nominee, but let me just say there's one important point that needs to be made: Judge Gonzales is absolutely right.

You don't have to take my word for it.

First of all, Al Qaida never signed the Geneva Conventions, but moreover the Red Cross' own guidelines state that, "To be entitled to Geneva protection as a prisoner of war, combatants must satisfy four conditions: being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; secondly, having a fixed, distinctive sign recognizable at a distance; number three, carrying arms openly; and, number four, conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war."

Does anyone on this committee, or anywhere else for that matter, seriously argue that Al Qaida terrorists comply with the law of war? "

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Alberto Gonzalez to be U.S. Attorney General.

*) Al Queda and Taliban seem to satisfy all four of the condition set out by the Senator. They have a leader (Bin Ladin), the wear distinct clothes, they openly carry their Klashnikov, and they use their weapon as has been the "custom of war".

*) The torture cases that have been publicized so far are about Abu Gharib and Iraqis. So far the practices in the Afghanistan and Gunatanamo has been for the most part secret.

*) Wonder what the Senator thinks are the protection afforded to the US para-military/mercenaries forces that operate in Iraq and Afghanistan.