:: The Fred Willard Fan Site ::

(UNDER CONSTRUCTION)

:: Wednesday, April 30, 2003 ::

Norman Mailer on Viagra?

Andrew Northrup fisks -- even though he usually doesn't like to do that sort of thing -- what hopefully is the worst piece of tripe Mailer ever writes.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:33 AM [+] ::
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:: Tuesday, April 29, 2003 ::

Sad. Just Sad

I wasn't planning on weighing in on the dust up over Aziz Poonawalla's suggestion that Israel might be developing a "genetic bomb" that would affect Arabs while leaving Jews unharmed, because a) I don't know dick about biotechnology, and b) my fiance and Joe Katzman have the issue pretty much covered.

But one thing that particularly irritates me about Poonawalla's irresponsible accusation is that after he was called on the carpet as to whether such a "weapon of mass genocide" was even possible, he entered this biotechnology bulletin board hosted by CFIS in a frantic ex post facto search for proof that it wasn't impossible. Apparently, it didn't occur to him to do this before he started throwing around blood libel accusations.

One of the docs on the board responded thusly:
Aziz,
I guess the good news from your perspective would be that it doesn't have to work - it just has to be loudly proclaimed "not impossible", and developed into a mantra to that effect.

Thus, the Arab street may remain inflamed enough to promote continued justification for their own genocidal agendae, and can cite the mantra whenever challenged on any moral basis.

I don't speak for the board, and am commenting here strictly as a member - but I don't appreciate your obvious attempt to parlay the hard-earned objectivity of many members of this board into rationale for your apparent scare campaign.

The fact that nobody here is calling you a nutbar outright, is far from acquiescence to the practical possibility that anyone anywhere is actually attempting to develop such "genetic weapons".

Ass.


:: COINTELPRO Tool 3:23 PM [+] ::
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Bye Bye Lard Ass!

Looks like we're pulling out of Saudi.

*sniff* *sniff* We'll always have Dahran.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 2:07 PM [+] ::
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This Is Rich

I can think of no better topper for Operation Iraqi Freedom than to be able to read the tortured musings of the Toronto Star's journalist-in-training Antonia Zerbisias, who has found herself forced to defend her paper's reporting against the same conspiracy theorists she once lauded as "carefully considered, well crafted and very compelling":
Saturday afternoon in Baghdad, on Potter's hotel room bed where he and translator Amir Mohsen were poring over documents retrieved from the rubble of the Iraqi secret service headquarters, they found potential evidence that deposed dictator Saddam Hussein's people might have met up with Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terror network in 1998.

If the documents are genuine, if they do prove that there was a meeting, if they lead to a link between Saddam and 9/11, if, if, if, hey they could be the retroactive "smoking gun" that U.S. President George W. Bush and his posse need to justify their invasion.

Hence my mixed feelings at Mitch's scoop.

Cue derisive laughter. Only an apparatchik like Zerbisias could have "mixed feelings" about the truth. She's happy that her paper was involved in the scoop, don't get her wrong. But it's just that it's so inconvenient. She whines about the story being used to futher someone else's agenda, but the her real fear is what it could do to her own. They've already lost the Humanitarian Disaster Argument, the Invaders vs. Liberators Argument, the Israel-Will-Use-This-To-Divert-Attention-From-Their-Ethnic-Cleansing Argument. Can't an anti-American crank get a break?!? Jeez.

Of course, Zerbisias hasn't heard the end of it from her drug-addled fan base. And as she corectly notes, it is expected that a paper like the Telegraph would be the target of such accusations. For the Star to be questioned about a find like this is a bit unexpected.

Of course, the blame for this whole debacle lies squarely with the White House. "Maybe if we had all been told the truth by the White House from the get-go," she whines, we uh, wouldn't have prove that the White House was telling the truth from the get-go.

Or something. Shit, what was I talking about again?

UPDATE: Jim Henley prefers to deal with this bit of cognitive dissonance the old fashioned way -- by moving the goal posts:
No. "Link" is a Larouche word. We said we would be more inclined to support the war if there were proof that Saddam collaborated in the September 11, 2001 massacres in New York and Washington, or in the still-unexplained anthrax attacks later that fall. Hell, I at least would have demanded it. We are still far from having any proof of that. But we know that Pakistan, the Sudan and Saudi Arabia, among other countries, had much stronger links than any demonstrated for Iraq prior to that day, and they have gone entirely unmolested.

There he goes again. It doesn't seem to matter to Henley that the Bush administration has never even suggested that Iraq was directly in volved in the Sept. 11 attacks, or the subsequent bioterrorism.

By what sort of bizarre calculus does Iraq's involvement in past al qaeda attacks have more relevance than its material support that would facilitate futuer attacks? The Bush administration has been quite forthright that its motives were to prevent the latter. Ironically, Henley entitled this post "lowering the bar," when clearly he's guilty of raising it to impossible levels.

As for Saudi Arabia and Pakistan being "unmolested," I suppose Henley has already forgotten that Pakistan gave us Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, among others.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:31 AM [+] ::
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:: Thursday, April 24, 2003 ::

No More Yankie My Wankie

I'm surprised this guy's call sign isn't pixelated.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:15 AM [+] ::
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:: Wednesday, April 23, 2003 ::

Relatively Immoral

Andrew Sullivan links to the original transcript of Sen. Rick Santorum's bigoted remarks earlier this week, revealing that they were much worse than the distorted quote indicated. Sully focuses on this faux conservative's remarks about the state's rights over individuals, but I this one caught my eye:
SANTORUM: In this case, what we're talking about, basically, is priests who were having sexual relations with post-pubescent men. We're not talking about priests with 3-year-olds, or 5-year-olds. We're talking about a basic homosexual relationship. Which, again, according to the world view sense is a a perfectly fine relationship as long as it's consensual between people. If you view the world that way, and you say that's fine, you would assume that you would see more of it.

Wow. I don't think the Catholic Church resorted to this level of apologia for its guilty priests.

As for the comparison of homosexuality -- which he claims to have nothing against -- to incest, adultery, and "man on dog" sex, Santorum blames the slippery slope of Liberal "moral relativism." You recognize gay partnerships and give them certain rights, next thing you know, you have "man on dog" sex.

For the record, most Liberals I know are my no means moral relativists. They just don't have a set of moral absolutes as broad as this clown's.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 2:29 PM [+] ::
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War Pornography

This definitely sets the bar for shameful exploitation a bit higher. Or lower, depending on your perspective. Tim Robbins in his whining about the Crushing of Dissent (from the National Press Club, which is apparently the closest our country can come to a gulag, or Castroite firing squad) thinks we need more of this kind of thing:
As we applaud the hard-edged realism of the opening battle scene of "Saving Private Ryan," we cringe at the thought of seeing the same on the nightly news. We are told it would be pornographic. We want no part of reality in real life. We demand that war be painstakingly realized on the screen, but that war remain imagined and conceptualized in real life.

I guess Tim missed the gratuitous coverage of Ali Ismael Abbas on CNN or the double-truck photo spread on him, and other war victims, in Time magazine. Or stories like this. While our coverage may not have been as graphic, or as gratuitous as al-Jazeera's, the idea that we had a media blackout on the horrors of war is simply a lie.

What bothers me most about the demands of the anti-war Left for More Carnage, Now! is this: our media doesn't cover any kind of human calamity as graphically or as luridly as they demand we cover this war. Do we show the mangled bodies of auto accident victims on TV? No. How about victims of gangland shootings? Or the fire at the Great White concert in Providence? Where was the righteous indignation over the "sanitized" coverage of that?

After the September 11 attacks, these same people whined about the gratuitous coverage of burning buildings -- it's just fodder for war fever! Now they want their gore. Gotcha.

But the worst response is from our old friend John Pilger, who is upset not that little Ali isn't getting enough air time, but that they're actually giving him (wait for it ...) medical treatment:
One child, Ali Ismaeel Abbas, the boy who lost his parents and his arms in a missile attack, has been flown to a modern hospital in Kuwait. Publicity has saved him. Tony Blair says he will "do everything he can'' to help him. This must be the ultimate insult to the memory of all the children of Iraq who have died violently in Blair's war, and as a result of the embargo that Blair enthusiastically endorsed. The saving of Ali substitutes a media spectacle of charity for our right to knowledge of the extent of the crime committed against the young in our name. Let us now see the pictures of the "truckload of dozens of dismembered women and children'' that the Red Cross doctors saw.[Emphasis mine]

Sorry, Ali. It doesn't matter that U.S. military hospital beds are filled with your countrymen -- combatants and civilians alike. You see, we couldn't save every single victim of this war that Saddam insisted be fought in the neighborhoods of his people. So you have to suffer some more. The hundreds of noncombatant victims of this war would have wanted it that way.

Does Pilger have any shame or integrity at all?




:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:35 PM [+] ::
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:: Tuesday, April 22, 2003 ::

Junk Science Must Be Banned

Jurjen responds to the latest nonsense on depleted uranium. Actually, it's just the old nonsense repeated, despite having been thoroughly debunked.
Milner:
Yet, as citizens raise their concerns over the magnitude of the problems related to DU weapons, which are more evident every year, the U.S. military maintains that no threat exists. How can this be?

Only two things are more evident every year:
a. the mounting pile of reports from organisations not affiliated to the US Department of Defense that DU is not, within the context of armed conflict, a significant health hazard in and of itself; and
b. the wilful ignorance of people like Glen Milner, Helen Caldicott, et al.

Robert Fisk spent the entire war, in between enthusiastic gulps of disinformation from Comical Ali, referring the "growing number of medical scholars believe that the aerosol spray released by these armour-piercing rounds have caused plagues of cancers, especially in the area around Basra where they were used 12 years ago." A bold lie, even for Fisk. Despite the inconvenient fact that there were no A-10 Warthog or M1 Abrams tank engagements at or near Basra in 1991 (and I think we can safely rule out Navy CIWS Phalanx fire as well), the only growing consensus is on the utter lack of evidence that DU poses a significant radiological hazard at all (it also has, as Jerjen correctly notes, a lesser chemical toxicity than most substitutes).

Typical of the Luddite Left, they continue to repeat the same lies, undeterred by the truth.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 3:04 PM [+] ::
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:: Friday, April 18, 2003 ::

Pesach v'Semeach



Ocean Guy's terrible Passover haiku:
No fins and No scales
still, the gefilte fish is
Kosher for Pesach.

Happy Good Friday, too.



:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:38 PM [+] ::
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Oh, Stop Whining. At Least They're Not Using the Baghdad Zoo

This is really going to piss PETA off.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 2:21 PM [+] ::
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The New Trilateral Commission

John Podhoretz:
OK, I'll admit it. I'm part of a vast conspiracy to control American foreign policy.
Yes, we neoconservatives have succeeded in brainwashing the leaders of the United States and Britain, using nefarious mind-controlling techniques. Those techniques include: Writing articles, circulating letters, giving speeches and appearing on television.

It's amazing and terrifying when you think about it. But even though I will be hunted down like a dog by my fellow conspirators for revealing this highly privileged information, I will now share with you the secret tale of how the neocon conspiracy came to dominate the mind of George W. Bush:

A group of people came to believe in certain things. Because they agreed, they got to know one another. They worked together. They became friends. Their relationships were strengthened by a commitment to a shared cause.

Much has been made by the denizens of Indymedia junction -- that peculiar place on the ideological map where Leftist conspiracy becomes indistinguishable from Birch Society conspiricism (except, of course, for the motives of the conspiracy, which despite the use of identical empirical evidence, is exactly the opposite) -- about the Project for the New American Century. Commentators, from John Pilger to every half-wit with enough acumen to cut-and-paste other peoples' ideas onto an open publishing forum, have waved copies of PNAC's September 2000 report, Rebuilding America's Defenses, as a modern day Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But as I've written before, it is very clear that most of them have never bothered to read this Blueprint for World Domination? -- and for the few who have, their misrepresentation of it is unquestionably willful.

I have read it, and the difference between the document and how it has been protrayed is quite shocking. Pilger called the document "a blueprint of American aims in all but name." The truth is that the document proposed no real shift in foreign policy, taking the status quo -- the Clinton administration's status quo, to be precies -- for granted. The recommendations merely addressed the deficit between Clinton's own "US Terrorism" and the force structure that implemented them:
Temporary rotations of forces to the Balkans and elsewhere in Southeast Europe increase the overall burdens of these operations many times. Likewise, the Clinton Administration has continued the fiction that the operations of American forces in the Persian Gulf are merely temporary duties.

Simply put, the PNAC report sought to "re-establish the links between U.S. foreign policy, security strategy, force planning, and defense spending." The enhanced force structure championed by PNAC -- with its increased defense budgets and shifting of overseas basing -- was made to reflect current realities, not for some bold new wave of American military interventions. The report also made recommentations on military transformation -- including the cancellation of several programs (in addition to the now-cancelled Crusader program, they recommended doing away with the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and the Navy's next-generation of aircraft carriers (CVNX), neither of which appear to have been followed by the PNAC-dominated Bush administration. Inexplicably, they recommended a shift from aircraft carriers to the Navy's surface combatants as the primary strike platform -- an idea which thankfully appears to have been discarded completely).

And though some of its members endorsed the regime change in Iraq back in 1998 (which was also favored by many hawks in the Clinton administration), it was not proposed -- nor were any specific regime changes proposed -- in the 2000 report. Pilger's assertion that the report "said that, in the event of Bush taking power, Iraq should be a target" is simply a lie. The report recommended bolstering forces in the gulf to support the "semi-permanent mission" of enforcing UN sanctions and the coalition-imposed no fly zones, to "significantly" reduce "the danger of a repeat short-warning Iraqi invasion" in other words, containment as far as the eye can see.

Pilger and others have also alluded to the reference to Pearl Harbor in the PNAC report, flagrantly misrepresenting the report's statement of the obvious -- that, unfortunately, the United States has usually allowed its defenses to languish until we are victims of a Pearl Harbor-like attack -- as an insidious embrace of such an attack as a pretext for invading other countries for their resources. This is also a lie. Here is what the report said about "needing" another Pearl Harbor to achieve its devious aims, in its proper context:
Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a Pearl Harbor. Domestic politics and industrial policy will shape the pace and content of transformation as much as the requirements of current missions. The decision to suspend or terminate aircraft carrier production, as recommended by this report and as justified by the clear direction of military technology, will cause great upheaval.

This, of course, is not the first time that a member of the Tinfoil Hat brigades has used a Pearl Harbor reference to suggest that our imperial overlords wanted an attack such as Sept. 11 to happen. Gore Vidal's wholesale plagiarizing of the gamut of internet conspiracy theories repeated the absurd claim that Zbigniew Brzezinski -- certainly no neocon, and last time I checked, he was opposed to the Iraq war -- openly called for such a cataclysmic event in his 1997 book. The reality, of course, is that he was merely lamenting the fact that it takes such events to motivate a proactive, engaging foreign policy.

UPDATE: C-SPAN has posted video of PNAC executive director Gary Schmitt's appearance on Washington Journal, addressing the conspiracy theory/undue influence accusations.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:24 AM [+] ::
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:: Thursday, April 17, 2003 ::

ICC Update

Jurjen of No Cameras thinks I'm wrong to think I was wrong -- hey, wouldn't be the first time. Heh.

On the ICC being used as a platform for anti-American opportunism, he writes:
Just how seriously this move should be taken can be divined from the fact the groups intend to submit their case to the self-appointed "Permanent Peoples' Tribunal" (excuse me while I vomit) in Rome before the intend to submit it to the ICC.

It's really simple; their case is a pile of fetid dingoes' kidneys (to use a Douglas Adams term), no Prosecutor in his right mind would ever touch it, and even if—in a fit of temporary insanity—the Prosecutor, acting propriu motu (see Article 15, paragraph 1 of the Rome Statute), did decide there were "a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation," he would still need to get approval from a Pre-Trial Chamber, consisting of three judges (Art. 15, par. 3) who know better. The Rome Statute has safeguards against this kind of bollocks.

"Fetid dingoes kidneys?" Wasn't that a Wire song?

Point taken. This was precisely why I disagreed with our decision to turn our backs on the ICC. So long as it was rooted in objective legal principles and could not be easily politicized, I considered the fears that it could be used as another "People's Tribunal" were alarmist. Besides, U.S. service members are already vulnerable -- and probably more so -- to prosecution by individual countries who have arrogated to themselves jurisdiction over war crimes. We do that ourselves, but I think I'd rather be an accused al qaeda terrorist before a U.S. military tribunal than, say, an Israeli soldier facing Belgium's war crimes tribunal.

I've always been a multilateralist by nature, and still believe in organizations such as the WTO as fair abiters of international disputes. But laws can always be politicized, and international bodies that implement and interpret them can be no better than the sum of their parts, the member countries. And in some cases, a profound lack of leadership leads to rule by the lowest common denominator, which is how we get a UN Human Rights Commission being led by Libya, a country that has never allowed that bodies investiators to set foot on its soil. Or Iraq heading the UN's Disarmament committee, though I sort of doubt that will still happen later this year.

I suppose I should wait to see how the ICC handles the PIL/CESR suit -- or if it does at all -- before judging the body.

More importantly, Jurjen writes:
As I argued in this post, volunteering to be human shield is a war crime. I'm going to start preparing my own submission to the Prosecutor; if anyone wants to help, e-mail me.

Now that's the best idea I've heard all week!
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:50 AM [+] ::
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"Containment Worked" Watch

Since some of his more dire predictions don't seem to have panned out, Jim Henley is trying to rewrite history on the question of whether Saddam Hussein was a reckless tyrant, or a shrewd one who could be deterred:
Now here's the thing: the strongest argument the Iraq hawks had was that Saddam Hussein had repeatedly used poison gas against his enemies. We skeptics were forced to argue that he had never used them against an opponent capable of effective and personal retaliation and had never, despite a history of supporting anti-Israeli terror groups, shared out the chemical weapons he was known to have or the biological weapons he was suspected to have. He had specifically declined to use chemical weapons against an opponent capable of retaliating not just in kind but in more than kind.

Uh, yeah, except for Iran, maybe. God love ya.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:02 AM [+] ::
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:: Wednesday, April 16, 2003 ::

A Question of Timing?

So HBO is not going to run Oliver Stone's cinematic hand job for Fidel Castro, out of deference to his latest victims (who apparently merit more consideration than the ones from the last 44 years). That's cool. But after reading this description of the film ...
The documentary, titled "Comandante," reportedly was a showcase for the world's longest reigning tyrant in his own words -- without context or dissenting views.

... I have to wonder what value HBO ever saw in this project to begin with. Would it be acceptible to give Castro such an unchallenged forum in our media without the events of the last two weeks?

And how is this a "documentary?" Are infomercials, or the hour-long Lyndon LaRouche rants run intermittently by some cable public access stations now considered "documentaries" as well?

:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:37 AM [+] ::
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The Scorecard

From Greg Easterbrook:
· Highly accurate smart-bomb strikes with very few aircraft losses and few accidental hits of civilian targets. Expected, happened. We dropped almost 25,000 munitions from the air with only 2 aircraft losses to enemy fire; only 4 or 5 hit the wrong target.

· Complete dominance of Iraqi armor by U.S. armor. Expected, happened. Fewer than a dozen tanks were lost on the coalition side while sweeping through an entire country. The Iraqi side lost hundreds of tanks.

· Large-scale surrenders of Iraqi units. Expected, happened. The United States is now holding thousands of surrendered Iraqis, many glad to be with us. Huge caches of arms were found abandoned; tanks were found abandoned with their engines running. A large proportion of the Iraqi military declined to fight, which is in effect a surrender and the ideal outcome for both sides.

· U.S. soldiers cheered by Iraqi civilians. Expected, happened. Not as rapidly as hoped, and not vast crowds. But in all the annals of warfare, how often have attacking forces been cheered by the towns they enter? Only a few times, and mostly this happens to the United States.

· Exemplary honor displayed by U.S. and British forces. Expected, happened. Attacking units stood on their heads to avoid needless (and in some cases needed) harm--lawyers accompanied field units to advise them what not to shoot! Coalition soldiers put themselves at risk to aid wounded Iraqis.

· Avoidance of destruction of infrastructure needed by the average Iraqi, such as power plants and bridges. Expected, happened.

He also lists the doomsday scenarios that didn't pan out, but gives the skeptics considerable ass-coverage by not mentioning the real doomsday scenarios, like half a million dead-or-dying refugees, and the Israeli government using the war as a diversion for Palestinian ethnic cleansing.

On the subject of civilian casualties, he notes:
The worst estimate I've seen is 1,300, which may be revised up or down. That represents a small number by the standards of wide-area combat--a very small number by this standard--but a human tragedy in every respect. U.S. and British forces tried in exemplary fashion to avoid civilian deaths, but nevertheless caused such deaths. The deaths are on our conscience since we started the fight that caused them.

Easterbrook suggests compensation for families of these victims -- as a gesture of goodwill, as opposed to an admission of guilt. I don't have a problem with that, but I hope the effort we put into rebuilding their country ("rebuilding" may actually be somewhat of a misnomer, should we succeed in helping them develop a government that secures an unprecedented level of freedom and respect for human rights -- certainly, to say that we "rebuilt" Germany and Japan after WWII would be the understatement of the century) will be counted in this moral balance of payments.

UPDATE: The Nation is apparently still watching al-Sahhaf's war:
he Defense Secretary should resign--now. Although George W. Bush is ultimately responsible for the catastrophe unfolding in Iraq, it is Donald Rumsfeld who is the Cabinet member directly charged with planning and carrying out the nation's wars. He should take with him those two self-inflated policy warriors, Paul Wolfowitz (his deputy) and Richard Perle (head of the Defense Policy Board until his venality was exposed). Together with Vice President Cheney, they were the principal architects of this venture, in pursuit of which they have deceived the American people, misled US soldiers whose lives are at risk, scorned the United Nations and defied international law.

We do not assume that these armchair generals will in fact resign. Instead, we present this indictment in the hope that, as Americans begin to grasp the full dimensions of the debacle in Iraq, they too will demand their removal. Citizens may also question the continued presence in government of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell, who were complicit in plunging our country into a war that, even if we win militarily, history will record as an unnecessary and terrible loss: We have unleashed a new era of nuclear proliferation and "pre-emption," and we have turned a majority of the world's people against us. These facts will not change even if Iraq's defenses continue to crumble and the war ends quickly.

Wow. Talk about being undeterrred by reality. This is the editorial for their Apr. 21 edition. Maybe it's time to tighten up their magazine's production schedule. Writing editorials three weeks before they go to print doesn't seem to be working out for them.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:26 AM [+] ::
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:: Tuesday, April 15, 2003 ::

I Was Wrong

I was critical of the U.S.'s decision last year to pull out of the International Criminal Court, thinking the spectre of wrongful and capricious prosecution of U.S. servicemembers was way overstated. My bad:
UNITED NATIONS - A coalition of lawyers and human rights groups yesterday unveiled a bid to use the UN's new International Criminal Court as a tool to restrain American military power.

In a move Washington said vindicated U.S. claims that the court would be used for political purposes, the rights activists are working to compile war crimes cases against the United States and its chief ally in Iraq, Britain.

Here is the substance of their case:
People who had volunteered as Saddam's "human shields" will be among those contributing testimony. "Any evidence we can get hold of, we will present," Mr. Shiner said. "The [ICC] prosecutor would have a duty to investigate if there was credible evidence."

Mr. Shiner said the activists' case will probe the coalition's use, or suspected use, of cluster bombs, depleted uranium ammunition and fuel-air explosives.

These weapons are unauthorized, he claimed, because they "can't distinguish between civilian or military" targets.

Weapons that can't distinguish between civilian and military targets, eh? I thought that's why we had civilized users. I thought we'd reached the nadir of international forums being used to defend the most brutal regimes on earth, while viciously attacking the West for not being more civilized. Looks like we've got quite a bit further to go.




:: COINTELPRO Tool 3:53 PM [+] ::
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:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:05 AM [+] ::
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Mother of All Epitaphs

LT Thomas Adams, the first U.S. casualty in Operation Iraqi Freedom, was interred yesterday:
The words on his tombstone help define Navy Lt. Thomas Mullen Adams, a La Mesa native and descendant of two presidents, who was buried yesterday at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.

Etched on the white stone is this: "He's Just Pining."

Read the whole thing.


:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:39 AM [+] ::
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Nicely Done

Stefan Sharkansky deciphers a Syrian anti-American poster:
"What is terrorism? . . . It's killing children, destroying hospitals, stealing the wealth of people and declaring war without international reference."

What he said.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:04 AM [+] ::
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:: Monday, April 14, 2003 ::

Now This Is Some Tortured Logic

I have to admit I was originally a bit of a fence-straddler on the "issue" of Wyoming Rep. Barbara Cubin's apparent comparison of drug addicts to African-Americans. To be sure, it was an extremely ignorant thing to say, compounded by her arrogant I'm-sorry-you're-so-sensitive apology to Rep. Mel Watt. But I don't agree with Josh Marshall's assessment that the event should rise to the level of Trent Lott's brazen advocacy of segregation and the violent reactionary forces that attempted to keep it in place.

But James Taranto's defense of Cubin's remarks defies imagination:
But the Post's interpretation--that Cubin equates blacks with "presumptive drug users"--is implausible. No one, racist or not, could possibly think that a law barring gun sales to people in drug treatment would mean, in the words of Cubin's rhetorical question, that "if you go into a black community, you cannot sell a gun to any black person." Besides, Cubin was arguing against this amendment. If she were a racist and she thought the amendment would keep the guns out of the hands of blacks, wouldn't she endorse it?

Uh, no one I know of is suggesting that Cubin was advocating subhuman status for African-Americans. There are milder forms of bigotry. Taranto does grant that her analogy was perhaps faulty, or even offensive, but adds:
But America's entire body of antidiscrimination law, except as it applies specifically to racial discrimination, is built upon precisely such analogies. The 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, was one of three post-Civil War amendments designed to extend full citizenship to black Americans. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Congress's most serious and effective measure aimed at enforcing the 14th Amendment's equal-protection guarantee, outlaws discrimination on the basis not only of race and color but also of three nonracial categories: religion, sex and national origin.

Since then, Congress, state and local legislatures, and the courts have passed laws and issued rulings expanding the categories on which discrimination is barred to include such things as age, veteran status and (in some places) sexual orientation. One such law is the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. Among other things, the ADA defines drug addiction--though not drug use--as a disability. Thus Americans who are in drug treatment have civil-rights protections under the law, just as blacks do.

That's a rather, uh, liberal interpretation of the 14th Amendment. And I believe the ADA allows "discrimination" in cases in which one's disability is could harm others. That's why we don't have blind people suing airlines for not allowing them to become pilots. Yet.

The ADA also defines other forms of mental illnesses, such as outright psychosis, as disabilities. Are the gun-ownership rights of completely insane people also protected? I think this analogy might be a bit closer to reality than comparing a behavioral disability -- one that impairs judgement and makes one a danger to himself and others -- to one's ethnicity. But Taranto doesn't get it:
It's more than a little hypocritical for them to wave the bloody shirt of racism as they slander a congresswoman for supporting the rights of the disabled.

I'm not sure which I find more mind-boggling: the fact that Taranto would make such an argument, or the fact that he would suggest that this is what Cubin meant.


:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:41 PM [+] ::
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:: Wednesday, April 09, 2003 ::

Too Happy to Blog



Ever have one of those moments when you think any contribution you could give to the Great Conversation would only add clutter? That's what this whole day has been like for me.

Most boxing fans remember Ali's 1974 knockout of George Foreman in the "Rumble in the Jungle." The one thing I'll never forget about that fight is the series of punches that finished Foreman. After that last right sent him reeling, Ali ed his fist for another. But as he watched him go down, he held back, perhaps (as I think Norman Mailer wrote at the time) thinking that another punch would just look awkward.

Lord knows the anti-war folks are reeling today, off balance and exposed, an easy target for any number of combinations. But that would almost be unsportsmanlike, not to mention entirely unnecessary. So I've been enjoying their abject denial today, but don't really feel like saying much in response.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:56 PM [+] ::
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:: Tuesday, April 08, 2003 ::

Howler of the Day Week

Christianne Amanpour responding to Wolf Blitzer this afternoon on the tank fire that killed two journalists at the Palestine Hotel:
BLITZER: So what are you -- you heard Victoria Clarke, the Pentagon press spokeswoman, suggest earlier -- she had 300 conversation with various news organizations saying, Look, a war is an inherently dangerous situation. We cannot guarantee your safety. If you stay in various hotels, you're taking your life into your own hands because the Iraqis themselves might use you, in effect, as human shields, thinking that the U.S. military won't respond because you're there. And she says that simply is not going to wash.

AMANPOUR: No. 1, I would say that most of the journalists who are there have got a lot more experience in risky situations in war than some of the spokespeople who are giving out those comments. No. 2, in the first Gulf War, the Al Rasheed was off limits for hitting because journalists were in there. And No. 3, even if there were Iraqi officials in there, were they firing, and were they holding journalists as hostages or human shields? There's no evidence of that.[Emphasis mine]

Yep, I'd follow her into a war zone. Out of sheer curiosity.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:22 PM [+] ::
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:: Monday, April 07, 2003 ::

The Ugly Canadian

Toronto Star columnist (and, uh, "media critic") Antonia Zerbisias had long ago secured her place among the most pathetic journalists ever. Her Apr. 6 column lurched from her usual cluelessness into naked loathing for Americans, desperately seeking craven motives in even the most gracious of our actions:
Nobody should have been surprised by TV's diversionary tactics yesterday.

It seemed that, every time I flipped between CNN and MSNBC, they were telling and re-telling "Saving Private Lynch," that archetypal, blonde-in-peril, made-for-TV movie coming to a ratings sweeps period near you.
[...]
The Jessica Lynch story has all the elements of a Hollywood classic. As the Independent's Deborah Orr observed Friday, right from the day she disappeared, Lynch commanded all the media attention, far more than her less fortunate sisters-in-arms, Shoshana Johnson, whose terrified eyes in that PoW video will haunt me forever, or Lori Ann Piestewa, a Hopi Indian we will never see alive.

It is, wrote Orr, "recognisable that America does have a hierarchy of life, with pretty blondes at the top, black Americans and Native Americans further down and the rest of the world trailing hopelessly. Which might help explain the unseemly rush to war."

I sent the following letter to the Star in response to this garbage. I don't expect to see it run:
Editor:

For quite some time, I have read Antonia Zerbisia's columns in the Toronto Star with amusement, as she has been repeatedly been proven wrong by events. Her shoddy reporting has even been the sole source of full employment for the newspaper's ombudsman, who has had to correct her allegations concerning the terrorist mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and answer for her bizarre endorsement of conspiracy theory web sites, including a brazenly anti-Semitic one.

Your readers should also know that Zerbisias' thirst for validation has even led her to post comments on the weblogs of her critics here in the U.S.(such as Charles Johnson's LGF site), including pedantic missives like "You people are full of all the poopoo you like to joke about. Do your mommies know you are playing with your daddies' computers? Why don't you get jobs, or get lives?"

Apparently, Canadian journalism is beyond reproach, as your "media critic" devotes most of her time criticizing -- or rather, attacking -- U.S. media, for not being conspiratorial enough. She has long been a joke, but her latest column ("'Saving Private Lynch' and other tales," Apr. 6) is nothing to laugh at. It seems that in the absence of any evidence of the military disaster she and others predicted, she has resorted to the most vile and baseless attacks on my country, claiming our celebration of the daring rescue of Pvt. Jessica Lynch as proof of our racism.

This may come as a surprise to ignorant commentators like Zerbisias, but most of us in America are deeply saddened by the loss of any of our troops in Iraq, regardless of their race. We are even troubled by the loss of innocent Iraqi lives, as evidenced by our unprecedented measures to reduce such civilian loss of life.

Zerbisias' contention that we are only happy about Lynch's rescue because she is white, and care less about Native American or African-American servicemembers, is as absurd as it is hateful. Surely, a newspaper like the Star has more important things to which it can devote space, rather than give regular coverage to this Ugly Canadian. Her childish rants do add nothing to the political discourse on either side of our shared border. Moreover, her insults to our intelligence suggest that what really troubles her is that the U.S. can indeed be a force for good in the world.

In other words: We're winning, Ms. Zerbisias. Get over it!

Bill Herbert
Washington, DC

I should have added that, had Zerbisias been at all sincere about Shoshanna Johnson's "terrified eyes in that POW video" haunting her forever, she couldn't possibly have written something so despicable about the rescue of PFC Lynch. Sadly, Zerbisias was joined in her cynical view of the U.S. celebrating this daring rescue -- to say nothing of the bravery of the Iraqi who risked everything to lead us to her -- by fellow Star polemicist Linda McQuaig, who writes:
After a week of news of Iraqis strenuously resisting U.S. efforts to liberate them, the American campaign badly needed something to make war feel good again in the homeland.

The rescue of Jessica Lynch proved just the thing. The cute 19-year-old private, who had enlisted in the army so she could get a college education and become a kindergarten teacher when she grows up, instantly became the human face of the U.S. war effort.

With the Jessica story front and centre, the most lethal war machine ever assembled in history could be presented as fresh-faced, innocent and eager to please. Suddenly the war campaign no longer seemed to be about dropping bombs (8,700 in 12 days) relentlessly on a city of 5 million people, or killing unarmed women and children in Baghdad markets or at army checkpoints; it was about saving sweet, young co-eds from the Iraqi hordes (or, at least, from inferior Iraqi medical treatment.)

It's great that Jessica is safe. Of course, her war experience is hardly typical.

She'll emerge not only with her body intact but also with international celebrity and, if she wants, talk show spots and modeling contracts. (One can imagine Playboy is already thinking centrefold for a special issue: PoW Girls of Iraq). Needless to say, thousands of other people — mostly on the Iraqi side — will simply end up dead.

Pathetic. This is the kind of invective one would expect to find at Indymedia. Coming from a paid journalist, it is simply sad.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:15 PM [+] ::
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More Photos from In Theater





Heh. This F/A-18C is from VFA-87, nicknamed "The War Party." A sarcastic nod to the Georgie Ann Geyer freaks, or part of the ever-unfolding Zionist Conspiracy?



14's. Won't be seeing these for much longer. Compared to the Hornets -- to say nothing of the Superhornets -- they're pieces of shit, and the airdales joke about the O&M dollars the Navy saves every time one crashes.

But damn they're beautiful machines.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:15 AM [+] ::
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:: Friday, April 04, 2003 ::


NASIRIYAH, Iraq (Apr. 2. 2003) -- Chief Hospital Corpsman David Jones of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (15th MEU (SOC)) holds the two-hour- old newborn Rogenia Katham, daughter of Jamila Katham. The infant was born in the Battalion Landing Team 2/1's Battalion Aid Station after arriving at the 15th MEU's position. U.S. Marine Corps Photo by SSgt. Robert Knoll.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:21 PM [+] ::
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:: Thursday, April 03, 2003 ::

Hmm

Let's see if I have this straight: al-Jazeera has been booted from Baghdad, along with Fox and CNN. But Reuters can stay, as long as they don't pass their footage to CNN. And Reuters has agreed to these terms. Got it.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:06 PM [+] ::
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The Dogs and Cats Have Children and Trust Funds Now!

It's almost comforting to know that Marc Herold has continued his practice of inflating civilian casualties to levels higher than those claimed by government propagandists. But no amount of suspension of disbelief could have prepared me for this:
The Iraqis wanted to take the press to see another example of US and British "imperialist-racist violence" and so we were trucked off to the outskirts of the city, to the campus of what was described as a ladies education college. Campus it was, with agricultural blocks and plant testing fields and a perimeter of palm groves. And the crime against humanity to which we were taken? A large crater in the lawn beside a women's dormitory, a hundred smashed windows and some broken power lines. A hundred metres away, I found four black and white cows tethered in the grass and, perhaps 30 feet from the crater, a slit trench with sand-bags; surely, we told ourselves, an ordinary part of any college campus.

WTF? Was Fiskie using sarcasm? Directed toward Iraqi propaganda claims? It gets better:
Why did the bus not take us to the hospitals to talk to the 125 wounded rather than the empty women's college with its broken windows and four uncommunicative cows? Of course, bureaucracy here works in Ottoman fashion, no more so than in this former capital of the Caliphs. Someone in authority had the bright idea of allowing Arab cameramen for Reuters and the Associated Press to travel to Babylon to take video footage of the aftermath of a battle that the Iraqis claim to have fought successfully. And that was that.

Never thought I'd say this about a Robert Fisk column, but, uh, read the whole thing, or something.

Now, getting back to Herold: one thing I noticed about his rejoinder to Spinsanity's critique of this work was his argument that "to blithely assume that the Taliban would necessarily inflate casualties is mistaken, as my study using the literature on the psychology of the bombed reveals." Psychology of the bombed? Far be it for me to question Herold's familiarity with what being "bombed" does to the human psyche (heh), but I have to wonder if it includes taking reporters on excursions to look at dead cows. Or alleging that the U.S. bombed a busload of "human shields" -- a contention their own organization has flatly denied. And certainly the garish photos of children killed and wounded by U.S. air strikes is consistent with a propensity to downplay, or even conceal, this carnage. If I believed for a second that the Iraqi government felt a paternal bond with its people, or if I didn't know the difference between chicken salad and chicken shit, I might buy Herold's research.

Psychology of the bombed. Indeed.



:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:01 PM [+] ::
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