Saturday, March 29, 2003

Bush never pinned blame for the attacks directly on the Iraqi president. Still, the overall effect was to reinforce an impression that persists among much of the American public: that the Iraqi dictator did play a direct role in the attacks. A New York Times/CBS poll this week shows that 45 percent of Americans believe Mr. Hussein was "personally involved" in Sept. 11, about the same figure as a month ago.

Polling data show that right after Sept. 11, 2001, when Americans were asked open-ended questions about who was behind the attacks, only 3 percent mentioned Iraq or Hussein. But by January of this year, attitudes had been transformed. In a Knight Ridder poll, 44 percent of Americans reported that either "most" or "some" of the Sept. 11 hijackers were Iraqi citizens. The answer is zero.

What a smart bunch we are!
What remains unclear is whether Halliburton took itself out of the running for the contract, was asked by the Bush administration to do so or whether its bid was simply not deemed competitive. USAID’s Beans would not elaborate on why Halliburton did not make it onto the finalists’ list, but he suggested that Halliburton chose to play a subcontracting role.

Coleman, who benefited greatly from Bush's campaign appearances in his tough campaign last fall, said Bush is not using "strong-arm" tactics to change his mind. Indeed, several Republicans said Bush has paid little attention to events on Capitol Hill since the war began.

Horseshit! He benefited greatly from Sen. Wellstone's death and the hootenanny memorial which followed, and the shameless milking of said hootenanny by the Republicans for political gain.
Much of the supply of Tomahawk cruise missiles has been expended, aircraft carriers were going to run out of precision guided bombs and there were serious maintenance problems with tanks, armored vehicles and other equipment, the article said.
"The only hope is that they can hold out until reinforcements arrive," the former official said.

Great. Yeah, I know it's probably a former Clinton official doing a CYA, but the entire article is troubling. Very.

And ...

How is the US ammunition level? How many cruise missile are still in storage? Small and large bullets? says ~2,000 Tomahawk cruise missiles in storage, plus 1,353 more by 2005. The site also lists at least 840 cruise missiles fired. This is from for just two days, the other days list unknown numbers fired. The military could be out of missiles very soon. Let's hope North Korean is not counting.
Anyone else have information on this?
Posted by Daniel at March 29, 2003 10:51 PM

But many officers insist that the United States would have had a much heavier force on the ground when the war began had Rumsfeld refrained from constantly changing Central Command's troop deployment plan, known in military parlance as the Time Phased Force and Deployment Data (TPFDD).


But Rumsfeld's detractors acknowledge that the defense secretary probably would not be taking so much criticism if the government of Turkey had allowed the 4th Infantry Division to be based there. That would have put hundreds of the Army's highest-tech Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles in place to begin a powerful and rapid advance toward Baghdad from the north.Snip

In addition to warning Rumsfeld's staff about micromanaging the TPFDD, McCaffrey said he warned a senior defense official shortly before the war began that although the Pentagon's assumptions on how strongly Iraq would resist were probably sound, planners were risking a "political and military disaster" if they were wrong.
"They chose to go into battle with a ground combat capability that was inadequate, unless their assumptions proved out," McCaffrey said
Larry King was interesting for a change. Perhaps the most interesting thing about it was seeing Woodward in the role of apologist for the current Administration. Working those sources for the next book, I guess: "Bush At War II".

And, for the record, Hackworth has been saying this stuff for well over a year, accusing Rumsfeld of doing Iraq on the cheap. Sadly, it appears Hack was right. In hindsight, the plan seems to have been a quick, blitzkrieg-like rush to Baghdad, take the regime down and worry about resupply once the war was over. With no backup. Granted, Turkey didn't help at all and I hope they get what's coming to them (no help from us on EU, etc.) but these political guys in the Bush administration -- especially da man himself -- are clearly both incompetent and arrogant, which is perhaps the most dangerous combination imaginable.

And why couldn't Shrub wait for the 4ID to get into position before the get-out-of-Dodge speech?

KING: Bob Schieffer, is there any question about who's going to win this?

SCHIEFFER: Well, I don't think there's any question. But again, I go back to this situation that these people who are talking about a cake walk, and it happening in a matter of weeks, I don't know any war, or people who have been around wars that think things always are going to go smoothly. And then today, we had the general there who is the top general there heading up the ground forces saying there obviously was a misreading, saying that the enemy that he had war gamed against was not the enemy that they have encountered. And instead of listening carefully to what the general had to say, back there in Washington, it was almost they were treating him like some official in a political campaign that got off message.

I think he should have been listened to and I think we should take that seriously. That doesn't mean that things are going poorly, it just means that the man on the ground is telling you, we've got some serious business to take care of here. And I thought he was treated rather badly by officials here.

WOODWARD: Can I just -- I agree...

KING: Sure, anybody can jump in at any time. Go ahead, Bob.

WOODWARD: Thank you. I agree with that completely. That here is a general, this is the ground troop. This is the ground commander for the Army, the senior person there, three-star general. And all he said things are going well, basically to plan, but we did not war game this aspect of resistance. We did not expect it. And there is a dismissive attitude from the higher-ups about this in the military. They speak about loyalty up, loyalty down.

The people should have embraced that. They should have said, look, this man is the one we've entrusted with this ground war. He said something, and we're going to listen to it. Instead, there was nothing but push back and this kind of, you know, somebody -- you know, there was a misstep, miscommunication, off message.


AIR VICE MARSHAL TONY MASON, RAF (RET.): I've just been looking earlier this evening, Larry, back at some of our newspapers leading up to the war. And time after time after time, there's reference in the media to "defense spokesman," "defense sources," "military sources," all saying that this is going to be a reasonably quick war. They never actually specified the time, but certainly, there was an expectation of a comparatively quick war, defined, perhaps, in terms of weeks, rather than months.

KING: Colonel Hackworth, what's your view?

COL. DAVID HACKWORTH, U.S. ARMY (RET.): I think it's the same thing. My view here is that I would be thrilled if this war beat Stormin' Norman's track record of the hundred hours in Desert Storm. But I think that Rumsfeld and his generals have badly misjudged the Iraqis' intentions. I think what we've got going on here is that the Americans are fighting Desert Storm, and Saddam Hussein is very brilliantly fighting "Black Hawk Down" and taking the lessons of Vietnam and applying guerrilla warfare against us.

So he's not fighting us conventionally, he's fighting as much as we fought in Vietnam, slashing our rear areas, making these missile attacks, which were very common in Vietnam. So we're ready for the wrong game, and that's what General Wallace said.


KING: Before Bob Woodward responds, Hack, earlier this week, you were saying this is a slam dunk. You were saying this is Mike Tyson against Woody Allen. You were saying this is stormin' right through. What changed?

HACKWORTH: Well, we didn't have sufficient combat power, and that's what many of us old military guys have been saying for some time, to secure our rear area. We have excellent combat power in the air that has done a wonderful job. But on the ground, we have two brigades of the 3rd Infantry Division and the Marines, and that's it. They don't have any back-up. They've been going night and day, and they're overextended. I got reports today from uniformed sources, Larry, in Iraq that have told me that we're probably going to stop our forward momentum, which is absolutely stalled right now, and back up and then clean up our rear because we just can't go on forward with no supplies coming to the forward edge.


HACKWORTH: I think we're between a rock and a hard place. If you try to strike a city like Baghdad with some awesome weapons, you're going to come up with incredible casualties.

I'd like to go back to one of the points that Bob Woodward said was not -- I think that the problem is that the generals don't understand the nature of the war, and we're involved with not a conventional fight, we're involved in very much an unconventional fight, the same as Vietnam, the same as the Russians are confronted with in Chechnya. And when you have, let's say, 20,000 partisans, guerrillas, what the Pentagon calls thugs, behind our lines, you've got to understand it takes a minimum of 10 to 20 counterinsurgents to get them out. And using the smaller ratio of 10, you're looking at a force of 200,000 folks digging these guys out.

It won't be Vietnam because they don't have a jungle to hide in, but it's going to be taking a very thorough effort to hunt these guys down one by one so then we have a clean battlefield. Right now, our battlefield is cut to ribbons, and we can't bring the basic necessities up to the front to fight. Tanks need oil and gasoline and water for the soldiers and rations. These are not coming forward, Larry.


HACKWORTH: We don't have sufficient combat power on the deck. We've got plenty of combat power in the sky. We desperately need more infantry, armored combat folks. And they're coming in, but it's going to be painfully slow before you bring in units like the great 1st Cav Division, the 1st Armored Division. We don't have enough. And somebody up high made a calculated risk, just like Secretary of Defense Aspin made in Somalia on 3 October, 1991, when he wouldn't send in tanks. We paid a hell of a price. And you interviewed those Rangers, Larry.


HACKWORTH: Well, I think that would be highly unlikely. They certainly wouldn't go to Iran because they'd be shot. And I think what we're seeing them doing is totally changing their tactics and that what's interesting is the -- my sources tell me that during all the war games for this operation, the generals absolutely failed to consider the possible threat that guerrilla warfare would be fought, and which is really absolutely dumb.

And what surprises me is Tommy Franks was in my brigade down in the Mekong Delta, 1st Brigade, 9th Division, as a young lieutenant and should have learned how to fight the guerrilla, which proves the point that generals suffer from CRS, which is a terrible disease called "Can't Remember Stuff." And bottom line is we should have been better prepared for this contingency.
The Texas Longhorns are returning to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1990 after defeating Connecticut 82-78 Friday night.

To the delight of a "Texas Fight" chanting Alamodome crowd clad almost totally in orange, the Longhorns (25-6) earned the right to play Sunday for a chance to advance to the Final Four, a first in modern Longhorn men's basketball history.

Yeeeeeaaahhhhhh. My Horns came through, although they blew a 16-point lead. Beat Michigan State Sunday and it's on to New Orleans for the Final Four.

I was hoping Maryland would beat Michigan State because I wanted to play Maryland. I hate them for some reason. Terrapins. Sounds like some PGOAT school.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Fair and Balanced
One assertion many found difficult to believe was my claim that the administration would soon seek to provoke wars with Syria and Iran. Today, Don Rumsfeld threatened both countries with just that. Admittedly, this creates some extra buzz for the article and this website as well. But frankly, Don, TPM is doing okay and, buddy, you're starting to get a kinda scary.

Hell, Josh, John Bolton SAID Syria was next.

And I'm not all that sure that's a bad idea, to be honest.
Perle said he would remain a member of the Defense Policy Board while stepping down as chairman.

Yawn. Slap on the wristie-pooh. Hell, Laurie Mylroie influences the Pentagon and she's not even on the DPB. Who'll be the new chairman? Newt? God help us.
In fact, the California energy crisis had nothing to do with environmental restrictions, and a lot to do with market manipulation. In 2001 the evidence for manipulation was basically circumstantial. But now we have a new report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which until now has discounted claims of market manipulation. No more: the new report concludes that market manipulation was pervasive, and offers a mountain of direct evidence, including phone conversations, e-mail and memos. There's no longer any doubt: California's power shortages were largely artificial, created by energy companies to drive up prices and profits.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

About the relations with Canada.... I feel that the comments from the Canadians is just another example of the way Mr. Bush is slowly but surely, brick by brick, destroying all the good and decent relations with ALL of the US allies that have been built up over the years. It seems to me that Canada will stick by the US, but quietly, unless some political hack can't keep his/her mouth shut. Then the Canadians will have no choice but to abandon us as well. I have no faith in the current Washington environment what so ever. Mr. Bush is not listening to anyone and the Dems can't seem to find the where-with-all to "rationally" begin a debate on just what the heck is happening. As an ex-Navy man, I can not believe that the US has sunk to the level of first strikes, and I am having a problem believing all of the commentary that caused this mess originally ( from two months ago.) But my biggest concern is for the fighting forces of the Brits and US that now have to rely on a what 350 mile(?) supply line through hostile territory? The Iraqis are not stupid. I can see a guerrila war raging for the next two to four years, with many, many American lives lost. Street to street fighting is coming, probably within the next two weeks. The casualty counts will rise dramatically, and so will the cry to "get out" with the current losses. Gads, what has Bush gotten us into?
Posted by John at March 27, 2003 10:12 PM
"I don't see Daschle and Pelosi reaching out beyond the Beltway to position the party on the war and larger national security issues that are at stake in its prosecution," says Miss Brazile, Al Gore's former presidential campaign manager.

"There's a vacuum in the party on this war. They are perceived as the leaders of the party. [Democrats] are looking to them for leadership," she says. "People don't know what to say half the time about the war. They do not hear a clear message. The activists are being left to formulate their own position without much guidance from the national party."

She's right; D. and P. are wrong.
One day this administration needs to learn that your average citizen of the world - even those from crappy places like Iraq - is a bit more sophisticated than your average Fox News viewer.

Nice line, Atrios.
War is, by definition, unpredictable. But what we're seeing right now was predicted. The predictions were just ignored.
Finally one I disagree with.
So the fundamental problem for liberals is this: figuring out how to convince the middle third of voters that they should be afraid of what extreme conservatives are doing. When they are more afraid of them than they are of extreme liberals, then the real work can start.
The leading architects of this war in and out of the administration see this war, and have pursued it, as an opening blow in a far broader war against political Islam. They see it as the first in a series of wars and near-wars which will lead eventually to the overthrow of most of the current governments in the Middle East, the establishment of western-oriented democracies throughout the Arab world, and the destruction of nothing less than the political world of Islamic fundamentalism.
Smith explains that the anti-sodomy laws have pernicious secondary effects—keeping gay parents from gaining child visitation or custody or employment, for instance—and Rehnquist wonders whether, if these laws are stuck down, states can have laws "preferring non-homosexuals to homosexuals as kindergarten teachers." Smith replies that there would need to be some showing that gay kindergarten teachers produce harm to children. Scalia offers one: "Only that children might be induced to follow the path to homosexuality."
With U.S. and British troops being forced to defend a more than 200-mile supply line from the Kuwaiti border to U.S. troops 50 miles from Baghdad and to fend off small-scale attacks by the Iraqi irregular forces, analysts at the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency are complaining that their reports would be softened as they moved to the White House. "The caveats would be dropped and the edges filed off," the intelligence official said.

Yeah. Actually, I’m liking a lot of his stuff lately.
Campaigners at Alcohol Concern warned that such drinks could lead to an increase in date rapes and teenage pregnancies. 'We would like to see these banned, whether they improve sexual performance or not,' a spokesman said. 'Lots of surveys have suggested teenagers regret having unprotected sex when drunk, so this is worrying.'

A spokesman for Lynch Wines countered: 'Many young people go to clubs and bars to meet people with a view to having sex - we are just helping them on their way.

The Bush administration's decision not to attack Iraq's television broadcast capabilities at the outset of this war is a telling one. It seems to reflect the calculation that Mr.. Hussein's regime was so brittle it would quickly fall. Bush planners appear to have left television off the initial target list because they wanted to use it to administer Iraq immediately after the war and to limit the damage to civilian infrastructure.

Reports from Iraq, however, suggest that the American restraint was seen by many Iraqis as an indication of Mr. Hussein's resilience, undermining the allied message that his days were numbered.
The cocky theorists of the administration, and their neo-con gurus, are now faced with reality and history: the treacherous challenge, and the cost in lives and money, of bringing order out of chaos in Iraq.
National Review these days strikes me as sort of the conservative equivalent of Michael Moore: bomb throwing, at times entertaining, and not, um, especially wedded to the absolute truth.

Another good line from Kevin Drum.
Is it true that the heavily Jewish roots of the neoconservative movement affect its views on Israel? Is it true that Jews are more pro-Israel than non-Jews? Is the phrase "pro-Israel" even meaningful? I got knocked around for even bringing up the subject a few days ago, and promised myself I would henceforth leave this subject dead and buried.
Even if Sean-Paul Kelley, the mastermind and lightning-fast typist behind the Weblog at, had changed his mind about the war in recent days, his rapidly growing audience would not know it. In a shift that appears to reflect a growing distrust of mass media, the most popular Web journals to emerge in recent days are simply reporting the news.

"My readership has grown 350 percent over the last five days, and I really think it's a function of the fact that I am providing the news without the media hype of CNN and Fox," said Mr. Kelly, 32, of San Antonio, who has devoted the past week to transcribing news from dozens of sources and posting it nonstop on his Web site. "The most important thing is that people know what is going on."
There are two ways for Washington to respond to the threats engendered by its actions and startling proclamations. One way is to try to alleviate the threats by paying some attention to legitimate grievances, and by agreeing to become a civilized member of a world community, with some respect for world order and its institutions. The other way is to construct even more awesome engines of destruction and domination, so that any perceived challenge, however remote, can be crushed – provoking new and greater challenges.
This is not a crisis," said former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R.-Ga.) who is a friend of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and of Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the U.S. commander in the war. "The plan is going surprisingly well so far."

Gingrich, who also is a member of the Defense Policy Board, a top Pentagon advisory group, said that the key fact to keep in mind is that U.S. forces drove to within 50 miles of the capital in just six days without being engaged by regular Iraqi forces. "If they come out and fight us, they will be annihilated," he said.

The comments on Newt over at Eschaton are hilarious. Well, as hilarious as political hilarity can be in depressing times.

We have a history buff affecting military policy. Think about that.
“Three Kings” shooting script. Timely.

No radio, no water, but yes CNN. The other Iraqis nod their heads and laugh nervously.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

I'm going to indulge myself tonight with a little Survivor: Amazon. Need a break from reality [duh: it's NOT a 'reality' show; more fiction than fact] for an hour at least. Then back to The War.

Last week we lost boy-crazy Shawna, which didn't upset me in the least, although I'll miss her smile. Great smile. She doesn't have a PGOAT smile, but then who does?

Heidi is still the cutest, even with those abominations suspended from her chest; but I'm now rooting for Christy and Deena. My favs, from best to least:

1. Christy
2. Deena
3. Heidi (only ‘cause she’s cute)

4. Butch (gaining, unless he's bullshitting Christy)

A SHARP dropoff here, and the next 3 are all very close, in my mind; ie., I don’t like ‘em but don’t hate ‘em

5. Rob
6. Alex (primarily for his getting himself clean from substance abuse)
7. Matthew

Another sharp dropoff, because I HATE the last 3.
8. Jenna
9. Roger
10. Dave

None of the women are even remotely close to the PGOAT, but then, who is?

That being the case, they should not be drummed out of their positions once the military again has the luxury of indulging this last socially acceptable bigotry. "Don't ask, don't tell" works against our military preparedness, is unfair to patriotic Americans and, as a policy, has failed miserably. It must be repealed.

Neil MacFarquhar has a fascinating and disturbing article in Wednesday's New York Times. The upshot of the piece is that almost everybody in the Arab world hates Saddam. But many are also energized and inspired by seeing Saddam's troops make problems for the US-UK invasion force. "They want Saddam Hussein to go and they expect him to go eventually, but they want him to hold on a little longer because they want to teach the Americans a lesson," says a Saudi newspaper editor.

Just goes to show the sorry state of relations. Isn't this (partly) what we're doing in Iraq? Teaching the Arabs a lesson? Making an example out of Iraq?

Watch the Tom Friedman piece on the Discovery Channel tonight at 9 pm CST.
I know this is just idle chatter, but I can't tell you how much I yearn for a new political party that represents, as Al Franken puts it, the mushball middle. The Finns have a party called, appropriately, the Center Party, and I want one too.

I want one, too, Kevin!
The first contracts for rebuilding post-war Iraq have been awarded, and Vice President Dick Cheney's old employer, Halliburton Co., is one of the early winners.

The Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) unit of Halliburton (HAL: up $0.54 to $20.66, Research, Estimates), of which Cheney was CEO from 1995 to 2000, said late Monday that it was awarded a contract by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to put out oil fires and make emergency repairs to Iraq's oil infrastructure.

Since it's still unknown how much damage has been or will be done to Iraqi oil fields in the war, it's difficult to estimate the contract's eventual dollar value.

Look at me! Look at me!

North Korea cut off the only regular military contact with the U.S.-led United Nations Command on Wednesday, after accusing the United States of planning an attack.

On Tuesday, North Korea said it was boosting its defenses, claiming U.S. forces may attack and spark a ``second Iraqi crisis'' on the Korean Peninsula.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., who chaired the Intelligence Committee until January, said military and CIA officials "were appropriately cautious" in developing war plans for several scenarios in Iraq, including "the potential for stiff resistance."
"But the political side of this administration gave a strong sell on the softest scenario, of `flowers on the tanks,' " said Graham, referring to administration expectations that Saddam Hussein's forces would crumble and Iraqis would welcome U.S. forces.
It will also help to explain why Houston's Boots & Coots, a company allied with Halliburton, received the first contract awarded for the rebuilding of Iraq.
No, it wasn't because Veep Dick Cheney used to run Halliburton.

Oh, really. Are you sure, moron? Maybe it was because of the campaign contributions.

I loathe Quick. Like I'm supposed to like someone who refers to me as a 'DemonRat'. Sure. And, he's a pompous asshole with more pop-ups and advertising and just pure shit on his site than you can imagine. Once, he threatened to quit blogging because he wasn't getting enough donations. BWAHAHAHAHAHA ... I'll bet his 'novels' suck shit, too; they're probably worse than Howard Hunt spy novels, or Buckley's (well, Buckley is at least funny).

All of a sudden I'm aligned with all sorts of Republican swine on the right, and I'm not very comfortable with it.
Just a note to certain people:
When engaging in moral relativism, don't attempt to compare the prisoners at Gitmo to the POWs killed this past week in Iraq.
When you see a tape of an American soldier gleefully killing a Gitmo detainee, broadcast on American tv for all to see and applaud like some deranged call to arms, then talk to me.
Until then, shut it.

The vote was a major victory for Democrats and a handful of moderate Republicans. They say a tax cut of the magnitude Bush wants makes no sense at a time when federal deficits are expected to surge to record highs and when U.S. troops are in a war with Iraq.

Well duuuuuuuu-uuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhh.
Sean-Paul's is best and unbiased (and Texan), but Michele's is good, too. Iraqi War info blogs, that is.
Yes, I think doing Iraq is a good idea. Yes, it's a bit late now, but I have yet to see satisfactory answers to the questions raised in this New Yorker piece:

What went wrong? Did a poorly conceived propaganda effort by British intelligence, whose practices had been known for years to senior American officials, manage to move, without significant challenge, through the top layers of the American intelligence community and into the most sacrosanct of Presidential briefings? Who permitted it to go into the President’s State of the Union speech? Was the message—the threat posed by Iraq—more important than the integrity of the intelligence-vetting process? Was the Administration lying to itself? Or did it deliberately give Congress and the public what it knew to be bad information?

Or here: CIA officials now say they communicated significant doubts to the administration about the evidence backing up charges that Iraq tried to purchase uranium from Africa for nuclear weapons, charges that found their way into President Bush's State of the Union address, a State Department "fact sheet" and public remarks by numerous senior officials. That evidence was dismissed as a forgery early this month by United Nations officials investigating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. The Bush administration does not dispute this conclusion.

Or here: This is the same president, after all, who famously claimed in an Oct. 7, 2002, speech that "Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) for missions targeting the United States" -- although American officials later admitted that the UAVs had a maximum range of several hundred miles. It's hard to believe such a whopping error made it into President Bush's speech by accident. It equally strains credulity that America's intelligence services were so incompetent that they missed the obvious uranium-document forgeries the IAEA discovered so easily. And it is even harder to believe that the Bush administration was unaware of the flimsiness of its aluminum-tubes evidence -- given that experts at the DOE made exactly this point behind closed doors. Absent some convincing explanation by the White House, the most plausible theory is that key officials in the Bush administration knew -- or at least suspected -- they were making false claims. And they made them anyway.

Or here: Still unanswered are these urgent questions: Who forged the documents? Given the documents' transparent inauthenticity, why were they given such credence? Who in the administration pushed the CIA to validate them (if it did)? Why didn't the CIA push back?

Or (yawn) here: If a mistake was made, a U.S. official suggested, it was more likely due to incompetence not malice.
"That's a convenient explanation, but it doesn't satisfy me," Close said. "Incompetence I have not seen in those agencies. I've seen plenty of malice, but I've never seen incompetence."

Or most recently here: CIA officials now say they communicated significant doubts to the administration about the evidence backing up charges that Iraq tried to purchase uranium from Africa for nuclear weapons, charges that found their way into President Bush's State of the Union address, a State Department "fact sheet" and public remarks by numerous senior officials. That evidence was dismissed as a forgery early this month by United Nations officials investigating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. The Bush administration does not dispute this conclusion.

... and, of course, Raimondo thinks the Israelis did it.

We deserve answers.
"This is the ground war that was not going to happen in (Rumsfeld's) plan," said a Pentagon official. Because the Pentagon didn't commit overwhelming force, "now we have three divisions strung out over 300-plus miles and the follow-on division, our reserve, is probably three weeks away from landing."

Intelligence officials say Rumsfeld, his deputy Paul Wolfowitz and other Pentagon civilians ignored much of the advice of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency in favor of reports from the Iraqi opposition and from Israeli sources that predicted an immediate uprising against Saddam once the Americans attacked.

"If these guys fight and fight hard for Baghdad, with embedded Baathists stiffening their resistance at the point of a gun, then we are up the creek," said one retired general.

Monday, March 24, 2003

So we shall see very, very soon:

NBC News’ Jim Miklaszewski reported from the Pentagon that intercepted Iraqi communications indicated that the Republican Guards were under orders to attack with chemical weapons once U.S. ground troops crossed a line around Baghdad drawn roughly between Karbala and Al Kut. There was no immediate official response from U.S. leaders to the reports.

Headed for the media room and the TV.

But one senior U.S. official acknowledged that U.S. pressure in recent months has backfired, saying that at one point Pentagon officials insinuated to Turkish politicians that they could get the Turkish military to back the request for U.S. troop deployments in Turkey. "It was stupid stuff. These are proud people," he said. "Speaking loudly and carrying a big stick wins you tactical victories from time to time, but not a strategic victory."

Sweet Jesus ... The hubris! I hope the lunatics aren't completely running the asylum.
They're not trying to intimidate us. They're trying to infuriate us. If they can make it seem as if trying to take prisoners is dangerous, then they hope we'll stop doing so. If they make it seem to us as if we can't trust civilians, we may be more likely to start slaughtering civilians. When they torture and execute our POWs, they hope to enrage our troops so that they'll go on a rampage.
More beliefs, amended to this:

I believe the promotional statement, “Fair and Balanced”, used by Fox News Channel to describe their content, is a ridiculously transparent, bald-faced lie. I further believe that Fox News adherents know full well that it is a ridiculously transparent, bald-faced lie.

I believe that establishing a friendly regime in Iraq will serve a number of useful purposes. A) No WMD, B) Hopefully, it will allow us to move bases out of Saudi Arabia and into Iraq. One of the main issues which set Osama bin Laden off in the first place was the presence of American “infidels” in Saudi, the home of Mecca and Medina. Fine, we’ll get out and base those planes and troops in Iraq, which is a far better, strategically-located position, anyway. If one looks at a map, Iraq borders Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan and Turkey. It’s in the fucking MIDDLE of the mideast! Iraqi bases will make those countries think twice before getting out of line. And access to Iraqi oil will undercut the Saudis and help to get them to behave w/r/t financially supporting terrorists under the table. OPEC might even crash and burn.

I believe that oil IS an American interest.

I believe that George W. Bush’s “tough guy” big mouth made the situation w/r/t our traditional allies worse. Same with Donald Rumsfeld. Teddy Roosevelt said to “walk softly and carry a big stick”. I believe in the big stick. But these arrogant morons chose to walk (and talk) loudly and carry a big stick, thus alienating most of the world.

I believe that the right to dissent and protest is one of our most sacred rights; and that any American who tells you otherwise holds beliefs that are far more fundamentally anti-American and dangerous than any he/she/it claims to oppose.

Then again, pointing out freaks like this is a public service:

"Jesus did not come to bring peace on Earth. I don't agree with those clergy who say Jesus would be marching for peace. Jesus said he did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Jesus brings peace to the individual heart amid war and pestilence and famine."

Sounds a lot like bin Laden, huh? And I'm not putting down Christians. I'm a Baptist! Lapsed, maybe, but a Baptist. There are nuts in any religion, and people who will take their own personal holy book and read into it what they will. It's just a fact.
I'm getting sick of Atrios.

I mean, liberal and Democrat and all that, but he/she/it has become lately as much of an asshole as Rush Limbaugh or any of those propagandists on the right. Rooting for us to lose, Atrios?

Update: Ok, ok, I overreacted. I apologize. I understand you were merely trying to point out that maybe Shrub and his boys had miscalculated. Hey, I hate the guy, too. But if he fails in this, we all fail. Opposition and dissent is fine, but when it crosses over into Baathist-rooting, like over at Indymedia or on the streets (some on the streets), it's just stupid and nasty for nastiness' sake.
"The U.S. is going to take on quite an economic cost, whether it's successful militarily and politically or not," said Bob McKee, the chief economist at Independent Strategy, a consulting firm in London for large investors. "Nobody is much prepared to help."
The money measure, which the president planned to describe to congressional leaders he invited to the White House, is dominated by $62.6 billion for the Department of Defense. It presumes the U.S.-led effort to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein takes 30 days of combat, said aides.
But despite the massive Democratic outcry earlier this month, the minority party went along with a measure that included several of the GOP's last-minute amendments, including one eliminating the 10 percent tax on fishing tackle boxes and another imposing a tax on foreign bow and arrow producers.

Patriotic bastards, these Republicans.
"We have been in touch with the Russians over a period of many months to point this out .... and in the last 48 hours I have seen even more information that causes me concern," Powell said. "So far I am disappointed at the response."

The newspaper cited Bush administration sources as saying one Russian company was helping the Iraqi military deploy electronic jamming equipment against U.S. planes and bombs, and two others have sold antitank missiles and thousands of night-vision goggles in violation of U.N. sanctions.

A U.S. official who asked not to be named told Reuters there were signs some of the materiel may have been listed as bound for Syria or Yemen to hide its intended destination.


In this new era of televised warfare, the Arab satellite station Al Jazeera showed gruesome footage yesterday of several Americans who had been killed and five who were being held as prisoners of war. If you were looking for a reason not to ever make light of warfare, this would be a good one. The prisoners were questioned on camera, and when one was asked why he was in Iraq, he replied, "Because I was told to come here."

The main reason Turkey now permits U.S. overflights is that we have demonstrated our capability of doing it the long, hard way, from the west through Jordan. For that, we owe King Abdullah plenty; we owe Mr. Erdogan nothing.
General Abizaid said there were reports of Iraqi forces near Al Kut armed with chemical weapons. Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said a raid on an Iraqi installation in western Iraq turned up a trove of documents that could detail portions of Iraq's suspected chemical weapons program.
General Abizaid predicted that coalition forces would find weapons of mass destruction "once we have had an opportunity to occupy Baghdad, stabilize Iraq, and talk to Iraqis that have participated in the hiding and in the development of it."
In the southern desert, where some of the fiercest fighting has taken place, Marines stormed squat adobe cinderblock buildings. They found no one there, but discovered abandoned clothing for chemical or biological attacks.
3) Marines seem to be genuinely surprised that the Iraqis aren't surrendering. This bespeaks of a horrible misleading load of bull coming from their intel people at the near end, and the administration/CIA at the other (see Sean's excellent earlier link about CIA analysts feeling 'pressured' to slant reports). There was a point, early on, where Rumsfeld and cronies were telling General Franks (several months ago) that his request for a TOTAL force size of 250K was 'way out of line.' Ari Fleischer actually said that Franks wasn't invited to the next strategy meeting because "the president doesn't have time to listen to what the president doesn't want to hear." We hear Rumsfeld and crew have been turning down requests for additional combat power in theater, and perhaps even advancing schedules with the 'decap strike' to the point that the 4ID couldn't even make it onto dirt. Given the trouble we seem to be having with even the forces we have now, how can Mr. Rumsfeld and company explain their earlier intransigence, and more importantly, the apparent massive lag in introducing what appear to be needed reinforcements?
But a medic who spoke on condition of anonymity told a wire service the overnight toll on allied forces was heavy. "They (U.S. and British troops) are taking a lot more casualties than they (senior officers) are telling the press. That's why you're seeing all these helicopters flying back and forth all night," he said.

Not sure on the source; grain of salt.
"Some liken these acts to terrorism," Clarke said. "Such acts involve the enemy willfully violating the laws of war, while simultaneously taking advantage of the coalition forces' compliance with that law."
Just a quick observation -- all those urban areas we're getting held up in (Nasiriyah, Basra, Najaf, and shortly Karbala) aren't bogging us down because of innovative Iraqi resistance, but because of our own self-imposed rules of war. There's no doubt that we could level these towns if we chose (or at least cut a swath of destruction wide enough to allow for safe, defensible passage along chosen routes); just as we could shoot soldiers who appear unarmed and surrendering; just as we could gun down apparent civilians on sight; just as we could destroy entire apartment blocks containing snipers' nests. But we don't, and the casualties we take and the dead we suffer as a result of our forebearance are the price of civilization.

Memo: Add Tacitus to 'war' fav folder. Check.
Sean is doing a better job than the fucking media.
Coalition forces are increasing in the north of Iraq, indicating a northern front in the war on Iraq could be opened soon.
Until recently, between 20 and 30 special operations forces were in Iraq's northern region, but the number appears to be growing rapidly as two major airstrips in the north report U.S. planes coming in fairly steadily.

Update: More northern front -> According to one military analyst, there are perhaps 75,000 Iraqi troops of varying levels of discipline and skill along this line, including one Republican Guard division and several well-trained armored and mechanized divisions.
I think it’s interesting that in one particular picture shown this week, his son — who is responsible for defending the Baghdad area — was in a suit while even most TV journalists these days are in a military uniform, which would indicate the video was taped much earlier.

MSNBC has a good site w/r/t war coverage; much better than any other American broadcast/cable network.
1533: UK Prime Minister Tony Blair says the coalition objective is "to reach Baghdad as swiftly as possible thus bringing the end of the regime closer".
1510: The United States has "credible evidence that Russian companies have provided assistance and prohibited hardware to the Iraqi regime," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says.

U.S. commander Gen. Tommy Franks is electing to bypass some Iraqi forces and not occupy key cities in the dash to Baghdad, raising questions about leaving behind dangerous enemy fighters and chaos in urban areas in the wake of his advancing troops.

Military analysts said on Monday that Franks, the head of U.S. Central Command, may be taking unnecessary risks in the strategy he is employing, including stretching supply lines, allowing concentrations of enemy forces in the rear of his advancing troops, and using an invasion force that simply may be too small for the task at hand.

"The force is so light that it probably has the lowest ratio to enemy forces of any major ground campaign we've fielded in the last century," said military analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute think tank in Virginia.

In essence the United States is attacking a dozen Iraqi divisions with two divisions of its own, he said. Divisions generally are composed of roughly 15,000 troops.

The al Medina has engaged the 3 ID in an Najaf. The Hammurabbi and Nebuchudnezzar are reportedly in the area as well. The main line of resistance is clearly spread along the Karbala, An Najaf, and Al Kut axis. Many thought regular Iraqi Army divisions deployed farther south to surrender en masse or collapse under fire. This hasn't been the case.

Shit. Agonist is up on it.
Best Director ... Roman Polanski

'Take that sailor suit off, little girl.'


Get it? Get it?

Yeah, I know. Sorry.
Basra is in heavily Shi'a southern Iraq. And it's garrisoned by the regime's least reliable troops. So if the regime's military were going to fold quickly or be overwhelmed by restive civilians, you'd expect it to be there. The fact that it hasn't makes it much less likely that that sort of happy outcome will happen in Sunni central Iraq, among the Special Republican Guards, Saddam's Tikriti tribesmen, and others closely associated with the regime. In short, Saddam seems to have a good number of troops who are willing to fight and die for what appears to be a doomed regime.

Though Democrats pleaded for a halt after the war began, the Republican leaders of the House and Senate chose not to stop their march toward tax cuts and record deficits, pausing only to pass resolutions in support of the troops and the president.
I dread the thought of those U.S. soldiers being held by Saddam Hussein's forces, quite possibly eager to get their personal measure of revenge. But it is disgusting that more attention is now being paid to international law and the Geneva Conventions than at any time during a string of questionable American actions since the start of the first Gulf War. And even now, there is little NPR attention to the broad horrors of war, especially for civilian victims. It can't be that difficult to investigate. European journalists have visited Iraqi hospitals.

It's hard not to come away with the impression that American leadership and American media are only troubled by the awful violence of war if it affects Americans.

I have never been more ashamed to be an American.

Hugh Sansom
Brooklyn, NY

There you have it. Hugh Sansom (Brooklyn, NY) is more troubled by Donald Rumsfeld citing the Geneva Convention than by American POWs being sodomized and shot in the forehead. He is ashamed to be an American because, according to him, Americans care more about other Americans than, presumably, Iraqis. Hugh Sansom probably reads a lot of insipid web sites like this.

BUT: Hugh Sansom is a (apparently) real official professional writer. After all, it says, quite clearly:

Hugh Sansom writes regular letters to the media which engage journalists in a spirit of debate, raising legitimate questions about reporting decisions and drawing common sense comparisons with how other issues are covered.

I can't make this shit up. I just can't.

Electronic Iraq and Indymedia are as scary on the left as the Freepers are on the right. I'm glad I'm a centrist who merely leans left.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

7:56 CST I am watching CNN again right now and Wolfie and Aaron are talking to Dr. Gupta. They are not asking him the tough questions. Surgeons are operating on an abdominal wound on a soldier. Unknown what kind. They aren't asking how many soldiers are in the hospital, how many do you see wounded. They are just going orgasmic about the technology. Bullshit. I swear. Where is the real reporting?

Yeah. Aaron Brown is wearing real thin on me. Wesley Clark I like. Hey, it's a TV show, not a war. Get with it, Sean.
MR. RUSSERT: And when we see pictures tonight of American men being executed, Michael Elliot, it’s very difficult to have any tolerance for people who are saying, “Wait a minute,” although that is what America is all about.

So when is Russert joining Fox News?
Freepers have strange hobbies.

DeLay told his colleagues that they should not find it too difficult to cut spending by just 1 percent, and he specifically called for exercising control over health benefits for veterans. One of his colleagues in the Republican leadership called it the best speech he had ever heard by DeLay but questioned whether he might offend the party's moderates, whose votes he needs.

Rep. Christopher Smith of New Jersey, a 12-term moderate who has become a thorn in the side of party leaders, rose in the caucus to criticize the cuts for veterans and the majority leader. DeLay rebutted Smith by questioning health care for maladies that are not service-related.

That sorry motherfucking little exterminator bastard. Go inhale toxic fumes in your district!

See what the Repubs REALLY think of veterans? SEE?!
The War on the Web
Sites to see on the road to Baghdad

But there was no clear indication these turncoat generals could deliver Saddam himself, and there are some worries in the intelligence community that Saddam’s men are actually leading the Americans on a merry chase.
President Bush plans to tell congressional leaders on Monday that the war in Iraq will cost about $80 billion, administration officials said, three days after both chambers of Congress passed budget plans and authorized tax cuts without an estimate of the war's cost from the administration.
The White House plan to release a war-cost figure comes after Democrats expressed annoyance at the administration's refusal to provide them with estimates, even classified ones, of the possible costs of the war and its aftermath under various scenarios. Daschle said Tuesday that he found it "preposterous" for the Senate to debate next year's budget when "this big question mark hangs out there, totally unaddressed." To cover possible war costs, the Senate voted to set aside $100 billion of the $726 billion tax cut Bush has proposed.

The little asshole is very very correct.
Under this thesis, the architects of the NWO spotted the emerging European Union – the “United States of Europe,” to some – as the only global commercial competition to the United States. Various news media reports have also cited France and Germany as holding post-sanction Iraqi re-construction contracts, and Saddam is reported to have converted his personal fortune into Eurodollars.

Thus, it can be argued that the Iraq war has far more to do with commercial U.S. enterprise, than physical threats to American security. Under the same theory, British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s support of the United States, even in the face of strong public opposition, reflects his nation’s traditional estrangement from the continental governments of Europe.

If the NWO proposition is true, Iraq becomes a unique political and economic target. Controlling Iraq could bring an end to the OPEC cartel, and even cripple the European Union before it becomes a serious political and economic threat to the United States. However extreme the theory may sound, the logic deserves serious consideration.

I.G. Farben lives!
The tape was edited, quite obvious, since it jumped from scene to scene. While it wasn´t live, Al Jazeera reported it as a live exclusive.

UPDATE: Thev´re reshowing the morgue scene - it´s totally disgusting, American soldiers laying on the ground, at least 10 that I could count, and indeed with shots to the head! There is a person moving the bodies around, and the camera angle follows them focusing on the wounds of the individuals. They are laying on the floor, heaped on each other. Since posting this, I can say that on Al Jazeera now this is one of the top news items, and they keep showing the images over and over again. Every few minutes, there are the images of the poor men, their bodies, thrown in a room, lying on a concrete floor. As disgusting as it is to say, there were pools of blood under the bodies, which I would think that they were recently dead.

POINT 1: Tommy Franks, shut Al Jazeera down right fucking now! It's right next to your HQ.

POINT 2: A female friend from TFC called and asked me if I wanted to go to an antiwar demonstration. Uh, no. We attempted to talk about the above atrocities and she said, "well, Tim, we did invade their country". I hung up on her.

"The stuff's there, it's on the ground and they're trying to use it against us," said a well-placed U.S. official who requested anonymity. Of the Russians, the official said, "This is a disregard for human life. It sickens my stomach."

Administration officials have long been frustrated with Russia's failure to crack down on arms sales and technology transfers to countries the U.S. government considers state sponsors of terrorism, including Iran and Syria. The Russians offer a variety of explanations, from the argument that the goods are legal or benign to the assertion that the business is done by private firms over which the Kremlin has no control.

I'm worried about the possibility that a lot of what Iraq has been hiding has actually been moved into Syria (80%). If chemical weapons, or equipment associated with development of nukes, or actual fissionables have been moved across the border, will we be able to prove it? Will we even know? Will the Syrians give them up to us? Will it end up being Blix redux? Will they "lose" some of it into terrorist hands "by accident"? If Hezbollah get their hands on some of it, then what?

Den Beste helps to plant (water?) the seed.
Iraqis in the town of Safwan expressed hostility toward the coalition forces, the United States and President Bush.

Sigh. And ...

Going on Donvan's anecdotal evidence, it seems that the local hostility stemmed mostly from a fear that self-government would be denied, and that aid would not be forthcoming.

In late February, Franks introduced the idea of opening the war with a large, secret deployment of Special Operations teams in Iraq. He argued this could be done with stealth for 48 hours before Iraq and the world realized the United States had started the war.

According to sources, the president was initially uncomfortable with this idea because he had said publicly that he would announce when he had decided to go to war. But the military advantages of the Special Operations mission were significant enough that Bush used deliberately vague language Monday when he delivered his ultimatum for Hussein to leave Iraq by Wednesday. If Hussein ignored the demand, the president said, he would commence military action "at a time of our choosing."

I knew these guys would be all over this.

A little devil's advocacy: Maybe CBS News changed it because they weren't sure it was accurate. Would that occur to these bigots? Probably not.

Maybe the guy is black and a muslim but not a Black Muslim.

Whatever, it ain't good, this.

They should hang the bastard, though.