Weblog Archives




  Saturday   April 5   2003

get your war on

Have Clip Art, Will Dissent
What do you get when you mix politics, profanity, and clip art? For comic artist David Rees, the answer is an Internet sensation.

The news of irony's death was greatly exaggerated in the wake of 9/11. Forced to pinpoint the moment of its resurrection, many would highlight October 9, 2001, the date David Rees posted the first installment of his Internet comic "Get Your War On."

Rees is not your average Sunday-paper comic strip artist. First off: He doesn't draw. Not a lick. He uses downloaded corporate clip art. The same images. Over and over again. Second: The voice- and thought-balloons he attaches to his clip-art cast are chockablock with profanity. Shitloads of it. Fucking tons. Like if Richard Pryor were ghostwriting "Garfield." Third: He recently published his first compilation, and he's not making a nickel. All his royalties are going to clear landmines in Afghanistan.

get your war on


 01:59 AM - link

vietnam on internet time

For a continous war update see: The Agonist
For analysis see: dailyKOS and Talking Points Memo
For a blog of an unembedded journalist: Back to Iraq 2.0

Images of War

Airport security
An army vehicle from the 3rd Infantry Division moves past a burned out plane early Friday on a runway at Saddam International Airport early Friday. Click "Play" below the image to learn more about how U.S. forces captured the airfield, which they quickly renamed Baghdad International.


Who Cares About Dead Iraqis?
Body counts, Rummy's plan, and the grisly stuff they don't want you to see
By Mark Morford

Dang that pesky collateral damage. Darn those brutal civilian deaths. Hundreds and hundreds of 'em, bloody decapitated mutilated bombed-out burned-out women and children and families, over there in Iraq.

Just another irritating little side effect, doncha know, of forcibly liberating a people who didn't really ask to be liberated and who are pretty much getting reamed from both ends and aren't exactly rushing out into the streets by the grateful thousands, as we had expected (except, finally, some in Najaf -- whew!) to toss flowers at the wide-eyed and confused U.S. troops and our well-armed Christian God and His almighty Starbucks franchises.

What happened there, anyway? Just bad PR? Someone miss a memo? Did no one tell them we are the Great Liberator, the bringer of peace and calm and nice big oil conglomerates that will soon help them "manage" all their hundreds of billions' worth of delicious natural resources? Haven't they seen the joy and happiness we have brought to Afghanistan? Oh wait.

Where were the panicking crowds? Where were the food queues? Where were the empty streets?
Robert Fisk in Baghdad

A kind of fraudulent, nonchalant mood clogged Baghdad yesterday. There appeared to be no attempt to block the main highway into the city. Save for a few soldiers on the streets and a squad car of police, you might have thought this a holiday. All day yesterday, I asked myself the same question: where was the supposed American assault on Baghdad? Where were the panicking crowds? Where were the food queues? Where were the empty streets?

And what exactly were the Americans doing? They were surrounding the city, every foreign radio and television service insisted, but travellers still arrived from Amman. The city authorities have put more of their Chinese double-decker buses back on the streets – normal service, as they say, has been resumed – and the railway company claimed its trains were still leaving for northern Iraq.

The war is not over yet

Some in blogistan are looking to the last few days and thinking the war is over or close to it. That is patently not true.

The US used it's last combat power to get to the Baghdad suburbs from the west, but the Marine divisions are still to the south and still fighting. Only the 3ID has anything like most of it's combat power up front, with brigades of the Marines still fighting holding actions as well as the 101st ABN fighting around Najaf. A break in operations is coming whether we want it or not.

The Iraqi Army is 400,000 men strong, not counting irregulars. The Feyadeen could be a problem for years to come. Not weeks, not months. Years. We're assuming that Saddam's death will diminish loyalty to him. That's a bad assumption. Look at the cult of Stalin. The army could walk away and then when they come home from the POW camps, form a Freikorp. (The post war army in Germany involved in combat after WW I)

Who is the president?

I've been watching, increasingly disturbingly, how Donald Rumsfeld keeps making foriegn policy pronouncements: Syria's next, Iran better watch it, we'll only accept an unconditional surrender.

Excuse me, but isn't that the President's job? Rumsfeld is detested outside of the US. Even the Brits can't stand him, but every day he's making decisions I had foolishly been taught was the President's domain. Now, I'm not a political scientist, I studied history in college, but I can't for the life of me remember any Secretary of War or Defense who ever made such statements while the President was, oh, alive.

Unravelling the mysteries of war Where have the guards gone and will Saddam use chemical weapons?

The Battle Plan for Baghdad?
A secret Pentagon report sketches seven scenarios.  thanks to daily KOS

Saddam's Greater Game

Analysis: The battle for Baghdad

Umm Qasr aid effort 'a shambles'

'Liberated' city where looters run wild and death stalks the streets

Scenes From the Burma Railway

US tells UN to Butt out   thanks to MetaFilter

I Miss America
Even Dick Nixon looks good to me now
  thanks to Robot Wisdom

 01:25 AM - link

war fruit

Fruit From Washington
Fruit Harvest and Other Historic Posters from World War I, the Depression, New Deal and World War II


 12:39 AM - link


Ex-CIA director: U.S. faces 'World War IV'
Former CIA Director James Woolsey said Wednesday the United States is engaged in World War IV, and that it could continue for years.

In the address to a group of college students, Woolsey described the Cold War as the third world war and said "This fourth world war, I think, will last considerably longer than either World Wars I or II did for us. Hopefully not the full four-plus decades of the Cold War."

I feel much more secure now.

 12:33 AM - link

it's about oil? say it isn't so!

In the pipeline: More regime change

An Israeli daily, Ha'aretz, has reported that Israel is seriously considering restarting a strategically important oil pipeline that once transferred oil from the Iraqi city of Mosul to Israel's northern port of Haifa. Given the Israeli claim of a positive US approach to the plan, the Israeli project provides grounds for a theory that the ongoing war against Iraq is in part a joint US, British and Israeli design for reshaping the Middle East to serve their particular interests, including their oil requirements.

 12:29 AM - link


The Story Behind the Masterpiece...
Luncheon of the Boating Party

The Maison Fournaise
Parisians would flock to Chatou's Maison Fournaise to rent rowing skiffs, eat a good meal, or stay the night. In 1857, the entrepreneur Alphonse Fournaise bought land in Chatou to open a boat rental, restaurant, and small hotel for the new tourist trade. From the mid 1870s, Renoir often visited the Maison Fournaise to enjoy its convivial atmosphere and rural beauty. He painted scenes of the restaurant, as well as several portraits of Fournaise family members and landscapes of the surrounding area. In fact, Renoir occasionally traded paintings with the Fournaise family for food and lodging.

Renoir and Friends
Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party not only conveys the light-hearted leisurely mood of the Maison Fournaise, but also reflects the character of mid- to late-nineteenth century French social structure. The restaurant welcomed customers of many classes including bourgeois businessmen, society women, artists (Renoir and Caillebotte), actresses, writers (Guy de Maupassant), critics and, with the new, shorter work week--a result of the industrial revolution--seamstresses and shop girls. This diverse group embodied a new, modern Parisian society that accepted, as it continued to develop and advanced the French Revolution's promise of  liberté, egalité, fraternité.


  thanks to dublog

Here is a large version of Luncheon of the Boating Party

  thanks to dublog

 12:26 AM - link

Drowning in Salem - In Order for Life to Continue

Later, Feras said to me: “What I learn in my life, after First Aid and to drive Ambulance, I learn very good thinking. Really. It is very important: if I see someone in a dangerous situation like a car accident, a house fire, in the water, a factory accident or shot by tank - I don’t think who they are, I forget if it is Muslim, Christian, Jew, really, because that way is peace”.

This young man, who often comes close to death, demonstrates the difference between the total absence of understanding or humanity of the Israelis and the complete comprehension of the reality of the situation, when he says to me later that evening – “You see, An’ne, at that moment when they refuse to help someone in a dangerous situation they lose all humanity and become less. Really, I am sad for them”. No hatred, no resentment, just understanding. Two peoples a world apart – on the one hand, only the wish to kill and destroy, on the other, only the wish to help and heal. Hatred versus love. Violence versus kindness. Delusion versus comprehension. Ignorance versus knowledge. Self-preservation versus self-sacrifice. I pity Israel.

Israel Attempts to Foil Abu Mazen’s Efforts to Form Government

The Palestine National Authority (PNA) accused Israel on Tuesday of trying to undermine Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas’ mission to form a new government, with the aim of foiling international efforts towards releasing and implementing the so-called “roadmap” to peace in the Middle East.

 12:08 AM - link

  Friday   April 4   2003

while we're not watching

Offensive Interference
How war distracts from outlandish Bush policies

The war in Iraq might not be going quite as smoothly as the Bush administration hoped, but the war at home is going just swimmingly. War is silencing debate not just on the wisdom of Bush's foreign policy but on a host of other issues that would normally be front-page news.

You might have missed it, but this is budget season. Thanks to the distractions of war, bizarre budget resolutions are swiftly moving through Congress and will be law by mid-April. For the first time ever in the United States, we are rushing through an immense tax cut in the midst of a war that the president admits will cost at least $74.7 billion just in its first phase. The consequence of this, not surprisingly, is massive cuts in popular outlays.

  thanks to Cursor

David Horsey

 11:58 PM - link


Ron Wise's Geographical Directory Of World Paper Money


  thanks to Speckled paint

 11:50 PM - link


Gun, Germs and Stall?
by Paul Krugman

Over the last two weeks, nobody has been paying much attention to economic news; even the ups and downs of the Dow have reflected reports from the battlefield, not the boardroom. But the economic news is quite worrying. Indeed, the latest readings suggest that our recovery, such as it is, may be stalling.

Jobless Claims Rose by 38,000 to 11-Month High Last Week

The number of U.S. workers filing first-time applications for unemployment benefits surged to an 11-month high last week, suggesting the country's labor market weakened as the U.S. military swept into Iraq.

  thanks to Eschaton

 11:44 PM - link


Two personal items of note. The first is that Zoe, my partner, my LOML, has a blog. It has taken awhile, but she finally has given into the blog side. Check out her blog — she calls it My Father's Eyes....

The second item is that her nephew is getting married. He proposed in front of the Chagall windows in Chicago. Such a cool spot. Zoe writes about her nephew and the windows.

 11:39 PM - link

magazine art

OF THE 1920's, 1930's, and the 1940's


  thanks to Coudal Partners

 11:24 PM - link

i think i'm caught up — then again, maybe not

I had to spend the day doing work. I also finally got Zoe's pictures up of Gideon Freudmann's show. Check out the pictures and listen to some incredible music. Now, on to the links.

Gideon Freudmann

 11:14 PM - link

mind-tripping art

I've been a bad boy. Instead of putting up links relating to the shit storms our fearful leaders are bringing down on our heads, I was diverted by a visual delight. A visual delight that I hadn't looked at for some time and which I haven't really looked at that closely as it turns out. It's all Josh's fault over at Speckled Paint. See my post collage stories.

I still haven't found my copy of Fuzz Against Junk, but I dug out a book of collage art that I bought in 1971 — The Cosmic Bicycle by Sätty. I did a Google search on Sätty.

Wilfred Sätty

San Francisco visual artist of the 60's and 70's. Here are Interviews, research, clues, events, along the last ten years . . . Here's the story of what happened to me when I met Satty... Two years after he was already physically dead.

Wilfred Sätty - Exibition

There are some poorly scanned images in the above exibition. They just don't do justice to his work. So I did a quick scan of one of his images in The Cosmic Bicycle.

The original is 7 inches by 10 1/2 inches. A small image like this doesn't even begin to do the picture justice so I put up some pages with larger versions of the scan. Check them out at Dead Books. let me know what you think.

I still plan on putting up the links relating to the shit storms our fearful leaders are bringing down on our heads but, after spending most of the night playing with this image, I'm going to bed.

 04:33 AM - link

  Thursday   April 3   2003


Misha Gordin
conceptual photography


  thanks to Speckled paint

 01:02 PM - link

vietnam on internet time

For a continous war update see: The Agonist
For analysis see: dailyKOS and Talking Points Memo
For a blog of an unembedded journalist: Back to Iraq 2.0

Images of War

That's no bug
Capt. Kevin Jackson of the Engineer's Brigade, Army's 3rd Infantry Division, is seen guarding a convoy through the cracked windshield of the brigade's command vehicle on Thursday, somewhere south of Baghdad. The vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade earlier, but no one was injured.


This is a must read.

Mesopotamia. Babylon. The Tigris and Euphrates
How many children, in how many classrooms, over how many centuries, have hang-glided through the past, transported on the wings of these words? And now the bombs are falling, incinerating and humiliating that ancient civilisation
by Arundhati Roy

On the steel torsos of their missiles, adolescent American soldiers scrawl colourful messages in childish handwriting: For Saddam, from the Fat Boy Posse. A building goes down. A marketplace. A home. A girl who loves a boy. A child who only ever wanted to play with his older brother's marbles.

On March 21, the day after American and British troops began their illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, an "embedded" CNN correspondent interviewed an American soldier. "I wanna get in there and get my nose dirty," Private AJ said. "I wanna take revenge for 9/11."

To be fair to the correspondent, even though he was "embedded" he did sort of weakly suggest that so far there was no real evidence that linked the Iraqi government to the September 11 attacks. Private AJ stuck his teenage tongue out all the way down to the end of his chin. "Yeah, well that stuff's way over my head," he said.

According to a New York Times/CBS News survey, 42 per cent of the American public believes that Saddam Hussein is directly responsible for the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. And an ABC news poll says that 55 per cent of Americans believe that Saddam Hussein directly supports al-Qaida. What percentage of America's armed forces believe these fabrications is anybody's guess.

It is unlikely that British and American troops fighting in Iraq are aware that their governments supported Saddam Hussein both politically and financially through his worst excesses.

  thanks to BookNotes

Robert Fisk: Saddam's masters of concealment dig in, ready for battle

The road to the front in central Iraq is a place of fast-moving vehicles, blazing Iraqi anti-aircraft guns, tanks and trucks hidden in palm groves, a train of armoured vehicles bombed from the air and hundreds of artillery positions dug into revetments to defend the capital. That a Western journalist could see so much of Iraq's military preparedness says as much for the Iraqi government's self-confidence as it does for the need of Saddam Hussein's regime to make propaganda against its enemies.

Robert Fisk: Wailing children, the wounded, the dead: victims of the day cluster bombs rained on Babylon

The wounds are vicious and deep, a rash of scarlet spots on the back and thighs or face, the shards of shrapnel from the cluster bombs buried an inch or more in the flesh. The wards of the Hillah teaching hospital are proof that something illegal – something quite outside the Geneva Conventions – occurred in the villages around the city once known as Babylon.

The Six-Day War
By Geov Parrish

Historians won't call this The Six Days' War; that name belongs to another Middle Eastern military rout with far-reaching consequences.

But by last Wednesday, the outcome of George Bush's invasion of Iraq was decided. The only remaining unknowns are how many months or years it will take America and Britain to figure out that they have already lost, and how many people will die in the interim.

At the gates of Baghdad  thanks to The Agonist

British Military Critical of US Troops' Heavy-Handed Style with Civilians

US draws up secret plan to impose regime on Iraq

Pentagon, State Spar On Team to Run Iraq
Rumsfeld Rejects State Dept. Choices
  thanks to Talking Points Memo

It Will End in Disaster
The US and British governments have dragged us into a mess that will last for years
by George Monbiot

War backers misled us and themselves  thanks to Eschaton

The Hubris of the Neocons  thanks to Eschaton

The Siege of Basra
The Price of Indifference

Lebanon Redux?
Watching the war unfold from Jerusalem

CounterPunch War Diary
Medieval Sieges and the Politics of Casualties; Which Side Will Give Up First?; Prescient Counsel from Osama bin Laden; Hitchens in Huge Crystal Balls-Up; Embunkered Bush: Scary Glimpse of C-in-C

Iraqometer  thanks to BookNotes


 12:19 PM - link


Zoe found this song by TestingTesting alumnus Dana Lyons. It was written for Gulf War I — nothing has changed. A must listen.

Lubricate The Red white & Blue
(streaming mp3)

 10:23 AM - link


Dec. 4, 2002, Eclipse Gallery

On Dec. 4, 2002, the new Moon passed in front of the Sun and cast a shadow on Earth. This caused a total solar eclipse in parts of southern Africa, the Indian Ocean, and Australia. Thousands of people enjoyed the event--including one person in space. One of the sensations often overlooked in descriptions of total eclipses is the chill of the Moon's shadow. Note Gordon Telepun's data, below, which show how the air temperature dropped in Zimbabwe during totality.


  thanks to Speckled paint

 10:09 AM - link

The soldier is evil, the soldier is Israel
By Amira Hass

For us, the Israelis, reports on routine harassment at roadblocks in particular, and the distress of the closures in general, cannot be "news." It is difficult even to describe in words the depressing, degrading topography of the obstacles and roadblocks to those who keep out of the occupied territories. For us, the Israelis, the soldiers are our brothers, and sons, and spouses and neighbors.

The answer is that they are afraid, that there are terror attacks, that every pregnant woman could be a ticking bomb, that each child could be holding a knife, that it is hot, cold, rainy and muggy, that they are longing for home. It is difficult to imagine them as being cruel, heartless, just plain evil.

But this is the picture they paint at the roadblocks, and this is the picture of Israel. Even if the Palestinians are able to recognize the extraordinary "good soldier," even if only one soldier in every four is abusive, he is the one who determines what the day will be like. He is the one who is etched in memory. He is Israel.

 10:03 AM - link

goldfish art

UKIYOE Goldfish


  thanks to Geisha asobi blog

 09:54 AM - link

homeland insecurity

A Red-Blue Terror Alert
by Paul Krugman

What happened to that bipartisanship? It fell prey to two enduring prejudices of the right: its deep hostility to nonmilitary government spending, and its exaltation of the "heartland" over the great urban states.

You might have expected the events of Sept. 11 to temper the right's opposition to some kinds of domestic spending. After thousands of Americans were killed by men armed only with box cutters, surely everyone would acknowledge that national security involves more than mere military might. But you would have been wrong. In a remarkable recent article titled "The 9/10 President," Jonathan Chait of The New Republic documents how the Bush administration has systematically neglected homeland security since 9/11. In its effort to keep spending down, the administration has repeatedly blocked proposals to enhance security at potential domestic targets like ports and nuclear plants.

What Mr. Chait doesn't point out is the extent to which already inadequate antiterrorism spending has been focused on the parts of the country that need it least.

I've written before about the myth of the heartland — roughly speaking, the "red states," which voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 election, as opposed to the "blue states," which voted for Al Gore. The nation's interior is supposedly a place of rugged individualists, unlike the spongers and whiners along the coasts. In reality, of course, rural states are heavily subsidized by urban states. New Jersey pays about $1.50 in federal taxes for every dollar it gets in return; Montana receives about $1.75 in federal spending for every dollar it pays in taxes.

 09:48 AM - link

ice art

Ice photographs

Between February and March of 2003, I took about 1,500 photographs of ice forms. The forms were made by pouring water into household objects like bowls, vases, and balloons, and then freezing or partially freezing them in the fridge.


  thanks to gmtPlus9

 09:43 AM - link

Resident Bush

Presidential Quarantine
Why Bush can't leave America -- and why that matters

George W. Bush is under an international quarantine. It is not security concerns that prevent him from going overseas, nor is it the unseemly appearance of leaving the White House while our troops fight along the Euphrates. Rather, Bush can't leave America because his policies are intensely unpopular in almost every country on earth.

What country could this president visit that wouldn't immediately erupt into massive civil unrest? A Bush visit to Western Europe would make 2001's violent anti-globalization demonstrations in Genoa look like a tea party.

This explains why British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush's only real ally in this war, came to Washington instead of hosting Bush in London. It also explains why a few weeks ago Bush met with Blair and the leaders of Spain and Portugal in the Azores. By meeting at a U.S. airbase on an isolated archipelago with a population roughly equal to that of Akron, Ohio, Bush avoided the anger in the European streets. Although the Portuguese prime minister welcomed our president to "Europe," the sad truth is that Bush will not be welcome in the real Western Europe for months, if not years.

George W. Bush
Scorecard of Evil

Two years into President Bush's term, the damage he has done to the nation and the world is incalculable. On issue after issue, Bush does what's good for big corporations and right-wing extremists at the expense of the public. The Wage Slave Journal offers this scorecard to help you keep track of all of the evil deeds Bush commits and, more important, to provide a record for your perusal when November 2004 rolls around. Be sure to bookmark this page; Bush keeps it full.

  thanks to Zoe

 09:36 AM - link


Japanese Kite Collection


National Kite Museum Phnom Penh - Cambodia

Beautiful Hand Painted Kite

  all kite links thanks to Speckled paint

 09:25 AM - link


Economist predicts world recession

One of Wall Street's leading economists is predicting a global recession this year, prompted in large part by fears surrounding Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the "mystery illness" with cold-like symptoms that is blamed for 78 deaths in 15 countries, CNNfn has learned.

  thanks to The Agonist

 09:12 AM - link

  Wednesday   April 2   2003


We had an incredible show with Rich Prezioso and Jacquie Manning of Small Potatoes Monday night. Check it out. Normal programming should return soon.

 01:52 AM - link

  Tuesday   April 1   2003

I guess I'm not quite taking the whole day off from blogging. These links are a must read.

vietnam on internet time

The battle between Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon.
by Seymour M. Hersh

According to a dozen or so military men I spoke to, Rumsfeld simply failed to anticipate the consequences of protracted warfare. He put Army and Marine units in the field with few reserves and an insufficient number of tanks and other armored vehicles. (The military men say that the vehicles that they do have have been pushed too far and are malfunctioning.) Supply lines—inevitably, they say—have become overextended and vulnerable to attack, creating shortages of fuel, water, and ammunition. Pentagon officers spoke contemptuously of the Administration’s optimistic press briefings. “It’s a stalemate now,” the former intelligence official told me. “It’s going to remain one only if we can maintain our supply lines. The carriers are going to run out of jdams”—the satellite-guided bombs that have been striking targets in Baghdad and elsewhere with extraordinary accuracy. Much of the supply of Tomahawk guided missiles has been expended. “The Marines are worried as hell,” the former intelligence official went on. “They’re all committed, with no reserves, and they’ve never run the lavs”—light armored vehicles—“as long and as hard” as they have in Iraq. There are serious maintenance problems as well. “The only hope is that they can hold out until reinforcements come.”

The 4th Infantry Division—the Army’s most modern mechanized division—whose equipment spent weeks waiting in the Mediterranean before being diverted to the overtaxed American port in Kuwait, is not expected to be operational until the end of April. The 1st Cavalry Division, in Texas, is ready to ship out, the planner said, but by sea it will take twenty-three days to reach Kuwait. “All we have now is front-line positions,” the former intelligence official told me. “Everything else is missing.”

  thanks to Talking Points Memo

“The only hope is that they can hold out until reinforcements come.” What the hell is that? It seems that our front lines may not hold, much less invade Baghdad.

"A Lack of Character"

The big issue this week deals with the underlining problem with the military, and perhaps with the strategic political scene — a lack of character. Today, it is more important to pursue a personal agenda—promoting one’s career—at any cost to those around you and to the organization, rather than admit the need for adjustment based on changing conditions. This selfish act violates an understanding of Grand Strategy and Strategy which requires patience and an enlightened understanding of the complexities of war.  But, my purpose is not to address political issues. I only attest to understand the military issues.

OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense) and the upper echelons of the Army are now in denial as to the plan, and the surprise that the Iraqis would fight as hard as they have.  Of course, the use of the words “terrorists,” “thugs” and other words to dehumanize these techniques are to sell an ignorant public that these techniques are wrong. But as always, a blunt soldier, in the 3 ID (infantry division) said it best on Thursday when asked what he thought about the Iraqis tactics in response to U.S. methods, “Well we have all the firepower, technology and airpower," he said. "I cannot blame them for fighting this way, they have to find a way to respond.” It is obvious from this statement that the soldiers and marines who are dealing with the fighting understand the nature of 4th generation warfare more than those paid the big bucks to make decisions.

I now surmise that the plan initially used was based on a personal agenda. Rumsfeld surrounds himself with people who believe in technology first, ideas second, and people last. This of course means more investment in weapons systems, which in turn benefit the contractors and those in the inner circle that seek jobs with these companies.

Let’s first start with the denials of the war plan being off track.

Baghdad assault 'delayed for up to 40 days'

THE United States-led advance on Baghdad appeared to have been placed firmly on hold yesterday after frontline units reported orders to settle into their positions for the next 35 to 40 days.

  thanks to Politics in the Zeros

Baghdad will be near impossible to conquer

An astonishing event is about to happen. For the first time in modern history a city with the population of London is preparing to resist assault from a land army. The outcome of such a struggle is wholly imponderable. Cities hate soldiers. Sometimes they throw them kisses. More often they throw them grenades. Defiant cities are near impossible to conquer.

It is inconceivable that American and British forces will simply turn from Baghdad and go home. Since the death and destruction involved in an assault could be appalling, any humanitarian must fervently hope that the Iraqi authorities sue for peace or President Saddam Hussein suffers a putsch. At present there is little prospect of either.

In the past two weeks I must have seen a hundred maps, diagrams, military handouts and computer graphics. I have watched men in fatigues with whizz-bang videos of soaring missiles and exploding tanks. Each explains how war is won in the open. Not one explained how Baghdad is to be defeated. The assumption is that it will somehow just fold. Yet Baghdad is where Saddam is and apparently means to stay. For victory to be declared, it must be conquered.

I have no doubt why Baghdad is never discussed. War in its streets is too awful to contemplate. No soldiers are more skilled at urban fighting than the British. Yet they are finding it hard to pacify even “friendly” Basra. The city appears to have been terrorised into defiance by units of Saddamist irregulars. Students of this strategy need look no further than the Red Army commissars in Antony Beevor’s Stalingrad. They murdered an entire division of their own side to make them fight, but they won. British units round Basra have had to resort to long-range bombing and shelling, hoping that this will inspire the oppressed citizens to rise against the irregulars, somehow.

  thanks to BookNotes

Bay of Pigs Meets Black Hawk Down

Whatever happens in the weeks ahead, George W. Bush has “lost” the war in Iraq. The only question now is how big a price America will pay, both in terms of battlefield casualties and political hatred swelling around the world.

That is the view slowly dawning on U.S. military analysts, who privately are asking whether the cost of ousting Saddam Hussein has grown so large that “victory” will constitute a strategic defeat of historic proportions. At best, even assuming Saddam’s ouster, the Bush administration may be looking at an indefinite period of governing something akin to a California-size Gaza Strip.

The chilling realization is spreading in Washington that Bush’s Iraqi debacle may be the mother of all presidential miscalculations – an extraordinary blend of Bay of Pigs-style wishful thinking with a “Black Hawk Down” reliance on special operations to wipe out enemy leaders as a short-cut to victory. But the magnitude of the Iraq disaster could be far worse than either the Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba in 1961 or the bloody miscalculations in Somalia in 1993.

In both those cases, the U.S. government showed the tactical flexibility to extricate itself from military misjudgments without grave strategic damage.

The CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion left a small army of Cuban exiles in the lurch when the rosy predictions of popular uprisings against Fidel Castro failed to materialize. To the nation’s advantage, however, President John Kennedy applied what he learned from the Bay of Pigs  – that he shouldn’t blindly trust his military advisers – to navigate the far more dangerous Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

The botched “Black Hawk Down” raid in Mogadishu cost the lives of 18 U.S. soldiers, but President Bill Clinton then cut U.S. losses by recognizing the hopelessness of the leadership-decapitation strategy and withdrawing American troops from Somalia. Similarly, President Ronald Reagan pulled out U.S. forces from Lebanon in 1983 after a suicide bomber killed 241 Marines who were part of a force that had entered Beirut as peace-keepers but found itself drawn into the middle of a brutal civil war.

The Bush Strategy

Few analysts today, however, believe that George W. Bush and his senior advisers, including Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, have the common sense to swallow the short-term bitter medicine of a cease-fire or a U.S. withdrawal. Rather than face the political music for admitting to the gross error of ordering an invasion in defiance of the United Nations and then misjudging the enemy, these U.S. leaders are expected to push forward no matter how bloody or ghastly their future course might be.

US Said Prepared to Pay 'High Price' to Oust Saddam

The United States is prepared to pay a "very high price" in terms of casualties to capture Baghdad and oust President Saddam Hussein, a senior official of the U.S. Central Command said Monday.

"We're prepared to pay a very high price because we are not going to do anything other than ensure that this regime goes away," the official told reporters, adding that U.S. casualties in the 12-day-old war had so far been "fairly" light.

If that means there will be a lot of casualties, then there will be a lot of casualties," said the official, who spoke on condition that he not be named.

Referring to nights in World War II "when we'd lose 1,000 people," he added: "There will come a time maybe when things are going to be much more shocking."

  thanks to thoughts on the eve of the apocalypse

"We're prepared to pay a very high price because we are not going to do anything other than ensure that this regime goes away," the official told reporters, adding that U.S. casualties in the 12-day-old war had so far been "fairly" light. Are these people insane? Do they think the American public is going to stand for losing over a 1,000 people in a day? What have they got in store for us? I'm afraid, very afraid. My only hope is that this insanity collapses before too many more people die. We need to get out of there and we need to do it as fast as we can. The only consolation is that this is not going to drag on for years like Vietnam did. It's going to end much sooner than that. I'm afraid that the fallout from this will be more than political. Anyone arrogant enough to commit our troops like this, undermanned and under equipped, will be desperate enough to use the nuclear option. Whatever happens, we're fucked.

 09:47 AM - link

day off

Well, it looks like a day off from blogging. I have a lot of work to catch up on.

 02:12 AM - link

  Monday   March 31   2003


TestingTesting is live tonight on the Internet webcast from my living room.

The Chicago based folk duo of Jacquie Manning and Rich Prezioso say it has taken them years of careful indecision to develop a repetoire they describe as "celtic to cowboy"  Superb musicianship and showmanship, award-winning songwriting, and a strong sense of tradition has made them, as Dirty Linen Magazine said, "one of the most polished, inventive, and entertaining shows on the circuit."

Check out their website.

 04:01 AM - link

vietnam on internet time

For a continous war update see: The Agonist
For analysis see: dailyKOS and Talking Points Memo
For a blog of an unembedded journalist: Back to Iraq 2.0

Terror tactics
An Iraqi suicide bombing killed four American soldiers in an attack Saturday north of the city of Najaf. A taxi stopped close to this checkpoint and the driver waved for help. Five soldiers approached the car, which then exploded, killing four of them. All were part of the Army's 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.


The Times: US Marines turn fire on civilians

THE light was a strange yellowy grey and the wind was coming up, the beginnings of a sandstorm. The silence felt almost eerie after a night of shooting so intense it hurt the eardrums and shattered the nerves. My footsteps felt heavy on the hot, dusty asphalt as I walked slowly towards the bridge at Nasiriya. A horrific scene lay ahead.

Some 15 vehicles, including a minivan and a couple of trucks, blocked the road. They were riddled with bullet holes. Some had caught fire and turned into piles of black twisted metal. Others were still burning.

Amid the wreckage I counted 12 dead civilians, lying in the road or in nearby ditches. All had been trying to leave this southern town overnight, probably for fear of being killed by US helicopter attacks and heavy artillery.

Their mistake had been to flee over a bridge that is crucial to the coalition’s supply lines and to run into a group of shell-shocked young American marines with orders to shoot anything that moved.

  thanks to also not found in nature

Robert Fisk: Sergeant's suicidal act of war has struck fear into Allied hearts

Sergeant Ali Jaffar Moussa Hamadi al-Nomani was the first Iraqi combatant known to stage a suicide attack. Not even during the uprising against British rule did an Iraqi kill himself to destroy his enemies.

Robert Fisk: A quiet Baghdad night of occasional air raid sirens and mysterious explosions

On the roof of the al-Jazeera office in Baghdad, you could hear the missile coming. It swooped down out of the clouds of smoke south of the Tigris, hissed past the office and disappeared over the old Ahrar bridge. "Was that what I think it was?" the anchorman asked me down the line from Doha. Ah yes, indeed. It was one of those days. A few minutes later, chatting to the al-Jazeera staff in their waterfront villa, an old colonial home with wooden bannisters and beautifully crafted blue-and-white patterned floor tiles, came the sound of supersonic jets.

The 'Palestinization' of Iraq

To date, an estimated 5,200 Iraqis have crossed the Jordanian-Iraqi border, going back "to defend their homeland" as they invariably put it. In already one week of a war that was marketed by the Pentagon as "clean" and "quick" and which is revealing itself to be bloody and protracted, not a single Iraqi refugee has crossed the al-Karama border point into eastern Jordan.

  thanks to thoughts on the eve of the apocalypse

Back Off, Syria and Iran!

We're shocked that the enemy forces don't observe the rules of war. We're shocked that it's hard to tell civilians from combatants, and friends from foes. Adversaries use guerrilla tactics; they are irregulars; they take advantage of the hostile local weather and terrain; they refuse to stay in uniform. Golly, as our secretary of war likes to say, it's unfair.

Some of their soldiers are mere children. We know we have overwhelming, superior power, yet we can't use it all. We're stunned to discover that the local population treats our well-armed high-tech troops like invaders.

Why is all this a surprise again? I know our hawks avoided serving in Vietnam, but didn't they, like, read about it?

A lot of people don't really understand how much money is at stake with the Iraq "crusade". This diagram could help you to understand what the USA is doing, and what are it's main goals.

Read the small print: the US wants to privatise Iraq's oil
No one here believes this is a humanitarian war

Search for smoking gun draws a blank
US and Britain's case for war undermined by special forces' failure to find illegal arms at 10 suspected sites

Outrage Spreads in Arab World
Civilian Deaths in Baghdad Market Called a 'Massacre'

Combat in Iraq

Apart from committing serious violations of international law which will undoubtedly result in war crimes charges, the governments responsible for ordering these people to invade Iraq have also sentenced them to numerous unsavoury futures as a result of extended and extreme exposure to depleted uranium: slow and painful death; strange incurable cancers; and horrendous disabilities for hundreds of thousands of children born to those who are able to have children, or at least who manage to have children before they are rendered unable to reproduce from the effects of the enormous amounts of depleted uranium deposited in Southern Iraq during and since the Gulf War.

Generals dig in for long war
Assault on Baghdad put off for weeks

Two Arab news sites:


Arab News

 03:47 AM - link

collage stories

Josh, at Speckled Paint, recently linked to a collage story titled The Truss Wars. It reminded of a book I bought back in the late 60s. An very obscure little book with two collage stories in it. I spent two hours tonight trying to find the damn thing. I know I saw it around here recently. Of course, recently could mean within the last year — or so. But the web is a strange and mysterious place. Half of this obscure little book lives on the web...

Fuzz Against Junk
The Saga of the Narcotics Brigade
by Akbar del Piombo

And the most hideous case of the swollen corpse: death induced by an overdose of heroin. Faced with an outbreak of criminality which reached Gargantuan proportions, the New York police, their back against the wall, had no recourse but wire an urgent message to Sir Edwin Fuzz, requesting his services to help them smash the drug ring responsible for all this mayhem.

The other story was Hero Makers. The search will continue and I will scan it if I find it again.

 02:49 AM - link

the kind of hero that the world needs right now

He alerted World to the disease, now...
Bug warrior pays with his life

DR CARLO Urbani, the scientist who first discovered that a dangerous new microbe was beginning to spread around the globe, succumbed on Saturday, in a Bangkok hospital bed, to the frightening disease he alerted the world to.

It was the 46-year-old, an Italian epidemiologist at the World Health Organisation's (WHO) office in Hanoi, Vietnam, who first responded last month when anxious hospital officials phoned to report that a sick American businessman was infecting doctors and nurses with a strange pneumonia.

  thanks to reading & writing

 02:18 AM - link


Riley Dog has moved.

 02:14 AM - link

  Sunday   March 30   2003

vietnam on internet time

I've noticed that this war has been unfolding very fast and, as much as the White House and the Pentagon are trying to hide things, Al-Jazeerah and the Intenet are accelerating the flow of information at a rate that is breathtaking. A comment at The Agonist used the term Vietnam on Internet time. So true.

For a continous war update see: The Agonist
For analysis see: dailyKOS and Talking Points Memo
For a blog of an unembedded journalist: Back to Iraq 2.0

Images of war

Fleeing Basra
An Iraqi girl peers out of a vehicle in which she and her mother managed to flee from Basra, in southern Iraq, on March 29. British forces have surrounded Basra and say they want to open the way for badly needed humanitarian aid, but face resistance from Iraqi troops and paramilitaries.


Josh, at Talking Points Memo, is on a roll. These posts are all a must read: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Robert Fisk: In Baghdad, blood and bandages for the innocent

The piece of metal is only a foot high, but the numbers on it hold the clue to the latest atrocity in Baghdad.

At least 62 civilians had died by yesterday afternoon, and the coding on that hunk of metal contains the identity of the culprit. The Americans and British were doing their best yesterday to suggest that an Iraqi anti-aircraft missile destroyed those dozens of lives, adding that they were "still investigating" the carnage. But the coding is in Western style, not in Arabic. And many of the survivors heard the plane.

Nick Guttmann: Wanted: 32 Galahads a day

Coverage of the looming humanitarian crisis in Iraq has been dominated over the past few days by two images. The first is of battle-trained British troops struggling, almost panicking, over the task of distributing food and water to populations that are unwilling to form an orderly queue. The second is of the supply ship Sir Galahad, after many delays, finally docking at the port Umm Qasr with its eagerly awaited aid cargo. Both give an equally distorted picture of what is needed now by the people of Iraq.

Does the West understand how this hated war is altering the Arab world?
Al-Jazeera has changed everything ? the agenda is no longer dominated by Western news outlets or state-controlled media

They do not know what they are doing or why they are doing it

From before 11 September Iraq was "on the agenda" of the divided Bush administration for reasons that would require the assistance of a psychiatrist, as well as political and military analysts. They decided on war long ago and then went about searching for the precise reasons. Even less thought has been given as to how the war will end and what will happen in the immediate aftermath. In Britain, Clare Short was quite open about this in a Commons debate held last month. She said then that the UN did not want to contemplate the aftermath of a war that many of its members strongly opposed. Of the many statements from the Bush administration about the war none conveys a clear sense of what will happen afterwards. It has been a constant theme in US newspapers, most of whom support the war, while despairing over the lack of planning. That is what is so worrying about the shifting arguments and statements from the political leaders. They do not know what they are doing or why they are doing it. They are fighting an unnecessary war and are still trying to find the reasons to justify it, even though the conflict has started and lives are being lost.

Victory no longer inevitable

Scorned general's tactics proved right
Profile of the army chief sidelined by Rumsfeld

Standoff at Basra Hints at Tough Time in Baghdad

Ten days after U.S. Marines and British troops stormed into southern Iraq, Basra is still under siege. Iraqi army regulars and members of the Saddam's Fedayeen militia have interspersed themselves among civilians, leaving British commandos wondering aloud whether they will have to enter the city and face house-to-house combat with hard-core fighters.

As the stalemate drags on, many soldiers and even some nearby Iraqi villagers are asking: If Basra has proven so difficult, how much more problematic will it prove for U.S. troops to conquer Baghdad, President Saddam Hussein's capital and the seat of his Baath Party power?

New Fear Dawns over Baghdad
A Hot Summer Siege?

U.S. Orders 4-6 Day Pause in Iraq Advance-Officers

Conflict sapping forces' morale

U.S. Tactics May Seem Original, But History Offers Some Lessons
Patton's Sweep Is Cause for Confidence; While Bombings Didn't 'Awe' in Vietnam

‘We Will Turn Bush Into a Dog’
The Americans badly miscalculated by believing that the Iraqis would welcome them as liberators

  thanks to drat fink

 02:30 AM - link


Week 13 2003 Day and Night in Nagoya Japan


 01:25 AM - link

how language removes reality

Jargon of war quickly crosses ideological gulf to daily usuage

''Vertical envelopment'' could be a hot new techno band or a Back Bay zoning scheme. In fact, it's a term used by Pentagon officials -- masters of warspeak -- to describe the unleashing of massive air power on Baghdad, selectively targeting key installations, in the first phase of the war against Iraq.

Think ''carpet bombing'' without the deep-pile connotation.

Should the ''shock and awe'' campaign pave the way to ''catastrophic success,'' to borrow two more examples of current war lingo, then something besides an oxymoron worthy of Joseph Heller's ''Catch-22'' could be realized. ''Catastrophic'' in this context means supremely good, and leads to ''decapitation'' (the removal of Saddam Hussein) followed by -- all together now, class -- ''regime change.'' Or ''debaathification,'' as an Iraqi dissident called it this week.

Got that? If not, awe shucks. Your vocabulary is, like, so Desert Storm.

  thanks to Arts and Letters Daily

People Say Stuff Sometimes

"You can't be afraid of words that speak the truth. I don't like words that hide the truth. I don't like words that conceal reality. I don't like euphemisms or euphemistic language. And American english is loaded with euphemisms. Because Americans have a lot of trouble dealing with reality. Americans have trouble facing the truth, so they invent a kind of a soft language to protect themselves from it. And it gets worse with every generation. For some reason it just keeps getting worse.

I'll give you an example of that. There's a condition in combat. Most people know about it. It's when a fighting person's nervous system has been stressed to it's absolute peak and maximum, can't take any more input. The nervous system has either snapped or is about to snap. In the first world war that condition was called shell shock. Simple, honest, direct language. Two syllables. Shell shock. Almost sounds like the guns themselves. That was 70 years ago. Then a whole generation went by. And the second world war came along and the very same combat condition was called battle fatigue. Four syllables now. Takes a little longer to say. Doesn't seem to be as hard to say. Fatigue is a nicer word than shock. Shell shock...battle fatigue.

 01:13 AM - link

big fruit art

FruitFromWashington.com Welcomes you to a Display of Exaggerated and Novelty Fruit Postcards

The Jolly Green Giant wasn't the first oversized icon used to sell produce. For decades, novelty illustrations and photographs of big stuff have been used to promote fruit and vegetable products, farm and orchard country where they are grown, as well as sentiments of home, family, heart and hearth.


  thanks to Speckled paint

 12:58 AM - link


Moore tools up for another furor

Michael Moore, who didn’t endear himself to the Oscar audience last Sunday, will doubtless arouse further ire with his next documentary. The project will depict the allegedly murky relationship between President Bush’s father and the family of Osama bin Laden. And it will suggest that the bin Laden family was greatly enriched by that association.

  thanks to American Samizdat

 12:52 AM - link


yumiko | artwork

These will be on display at the April 2003 show at Roq La Rue.


  thanks to gmtPlus9

 12:51 AM - link


North Korea: No Concessions on Nuclear Program

North Korea says it will not make concessions in the standoff over its nuclear program. A commentary in the Communist Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun says Iraq made compromises in allowing in weapons inspectors, and its destiny is now at stake.

The newspaper said Iraq "compromised its revolutionary principles" by allowing United Nations weapons inspectors into the country, and by agreeing to disarmament.

The commentary also said Pyongyang is not about to follow Saddam Hussein's lead. Washington has been demanding that Pyongyang end its suspected nuclear weapons program. Pyongyang has expelled U.N. nuclear inspectors, and pulled out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

If it had given in to Washington's demands, the newspaper commentary said, North Korea would have already met what it called the same "miserable fate" as Iraq.

  thanks to The Agonist

 12:41 AM - link

things that glow in the dark

P h o t o s  o f  L u m i n o u s  O r g a n i s m s


  thanks to Speckled paint

 12:33 AM - link

massage technology

Vibrating... Personal Massager...
For Grown-Ups :-)


  thanks to Politics in the Zeros

 12:23 AM - link