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Radically Inept
Thursday, June 24, 2004
  How to win friends and influence people, or not...

TomDispatch does his usual excellent job in his latest
Dispatch:
"Or take another subject. Just days ago, an American plane or helicopter fired two missiles into a residential neighborhood of Fallujah (itself a war crime as Juan Cole recently pointed out at his Informed Comment website). The Bush administration explanation went like this: Based on 'strong, actionable' intelligence or 'multiple confirmations of actionable intelligence,' our military hit a 'safe house' used by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terrorist network. Reports from Fallujah were that 22 people had died, mostly belonging to a single extended family and including a number of women and children. Our spokesperson in Baghdad responded: Not at all; we 'killed key figures in the network of suspected terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.' (How, given our notoriously dreadful intelligence in Iraq, we can be sure of this in out-of-bounds Fallujah, I leave to your imagination.) The destruction and civilian deaths, the claims and counterclaims, the reassertion of even more specific claims and counterclaims (often followed by the promise of an investigation) - anything seem familiar here? Not, probably, if you read the American press.

On June 13, the New York Times had a striking piece (Errors Are Seen in Early Attacks on Iraqi Leaders) by Douglas Jehl and Eric Schmitt reporting that, of 50 air strikes meant to take out the top figures in Saddam's government with 'precision munitions' over a month-long period beginning on the eve of the war, and based on our best intelligence of that moment, we were an across-the-boards 0-50. What are the odds against that, even blind? ('It was all just guesswork on where they were,' they quote 'a senior military officer' as saying.) Of course, we were anything but 0-50 when it came to killing significant numbers of Iraqi civilians since, as in the recent Fallujah missile attack, many of these strikes took place in heavily populated urban neighborhoods. Perhaps there is a little formula here: smart bombs plus dumb intelligence equals civilian horror. Then again, as the Israelis have shown, precision munitions plus good intelligence still equals civilian horror.

Now, you might think that the Times piece would have provided a little useful context -- with the Fallujah strike taking place only a week later, with the U.S. Air Force once again attacking an urban residential area, once again using precision munitions based on hot intelligence tips, and once again claiming to have precisely taken out the bad guys (as, for instance, during the war we claimed incorrectly to have taken out General Ali Hasan al Majid, aka "Chemical Ali"); or you would think that a number of other similar and similarly contested bombing incidents and U.S. claims might be brought up. But no such connections are made in the American press."
You should read the entire Dispatch: which includes these passages in "God Bless America", by Renato Redentor Constantino, sub-titled 'Coincidence, pattern, and memory. Tricky things these three':
"In 1901, in the course of interrogating 'treacherous' Filipinos who did not have the good sense to accept America's seizure of the Philippines, Lieutenant Frederick Arnold and one Sergeant Edwards were accused of torturing Filipino prisoners. Their acts of 'prisoner abuse'? Stripping a young man naked, then subjecting him to the water cure (the essential memory-recovery medication of the occupation army's battle kit and predecessor to today's 'water-boarding'): The prisoner's mouth is forced open to respectfully facilitate down his throat five to ten gallons of water (or whatever his bloated stomach can endure). Once filled up, the interrogators politely step on the prisoner's tummy until the prisoner blurts out the desired information.

For data validation purposes, the same prisoner is interrogated once more by his American liberators and 'whipped and beaten unmercifully with rattan rods' and 'then strung up by his thumbs.' Efficiency is everything.

Another feat of the imagination -- before questioning, a strip of skin is cut from a Filipino prisoner's ankle and attached to a piece of wood. Then 'the flesh' is coiled 'with the wood.' Think can-opener.

'When I give a man to [my troops],' said Lt. Arnold, 'I want information. I do not know how [they] get it, but [they] get it anyway.' Filipinos 'had no feelings other than physical, and should not be treated as human beings.'"
See, we're just following a tried and true method for bringing democracy to foreign lands. Just keep killing wedding parties, women and children, and use torture liberally.

I'm Proud to be an American:
"If tomorrow all the things were gone I'd worked for all my life,
And I had to start again with just my children and my wife.
I'd thank my lucky stars to be living here today,
'Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can't take that away.
And I'm proud to be an American where as least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I'd gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land God bless the U.S.A.
From the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennessee,
across the plains of Texas, from sea to shining sea,
From Detroit down to Houston and New York to LA,
Well, there's pride in every American heart,
and it's time to stand and say:
I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I'd gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land God bless the U.S.A"
Wow, I wonder if I can be proud to be an American? What would it take? For starters, putting Baby Bush in The Abu Ghraib Prison with some of America's finest.

Just found this via Billmon's Whiskey Bar: Sovereign Illusion II, which included a link to this (and it's what billmon points to) US to extend immunity for its troops in Iraq - After Saddam - www.smh.com.au:
"The Bush Administration is to take the unusual step of granting its troops and personnel immunity from prosecution by Iraqi courts for killing Iraqis or destroying local property after the occupation ends and sovereignty returns, US officials said.

The Administration plans to achieve this - the most contentious remaining issue before the transfer of power - by extending an order that has been in place during its year-long occupation.

Order 17 gives all foreign personnel in the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority immunity from 'local criminal, civil and administrative jurisdiction and from any form of arrest or detention other than by persons acting on behalf of their parent states'."
Cool, how many women can I rape while I'm immune form prosecution? I mean raping Iraqis is not a crime in America, right?

I'm soooo disgusted. 
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GEORGE W. BUSH - TOUGH ENOUGH TO TORTURE CHILDREN
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