Saturday, April 12, 2003


From Telegraph.co.uk (also via the Instapundit):

Top secret documents obtained by The Telegraph in Baghdad show that Russia provided Saddam Hussein's regime with wide-ranging assistance in the months leading up to the war, including intelligence on private conversations between Tony Blair and other Western leaders.

Moscow also provided Saddam with lists of assassins available for "hits" in the West and details of arms deals to neighbouring countries. The two countries also signed agreements to share intelligence, help each other to "obtain" visas for agents to go to other countries and to exchange information on the activities of Osama bin Laden, the al-Qa'eda leader.

The inspection of Iraqi documents will continue to be eye opening. Good to know who your enemies are.


Mickey Kaus
points out more left-wing hypocrisy (hat tip Instapundit):

Castro has celebrated the arrival of Yoko Ono and N.Y. media bigs by starting to execute people after quick trials. ... The condemned were hijackers of ferry boats who were trying to get to the U.S., not mere dissidents. Still ... Nobody was hurt in the attempted hijacking. ... If these people were executed in the U.S. after such rudimentary procedures-- the hijacking was only nine days ago! -- Steve Earle would be writing heartbreaking songs about them. (And don't the French march in the streets when those ugly Americans talk about executing convicted murderers after years of appeals?) ... For a defense of the hijackers by a relative, see this Miami Herald story. ... Hope Yoko and Company have a nice meal at Fidel's plantation! Don't spoil dessert by mentioning any of this unpleasant business! .

What is the UN doing about this travesty? Yeah, exactly what they always do - nothing.

They only want to look for problems under the streetlight (in the US). And you wonder why I can't take them seriously?


I saw Scott Ritter on TV last night. I've spent Saturday trying to get my bloodpressure back to normal.

I took a few notes but couldn't find a transcript today.

He claimed that the inspectors found 100 percent of the manufacturing capacity of WMD. Apparently the fact that they didn't know that there is an underground complex beneath Al Tuwaitha with radiation readings off the charts doesn't faze him.

He said "we executed somebody (Hussein) without due process". Gee Scott, I guess we should have taken our case to the UN. I'm sorry, a body that elects Libya to chair its Human Rights Commision and Syria to the Security Council doesn't have any legitimacy in my book. Besides, do you actually refute the brutality of his regime - his crimes against humanity? No, you don't - you just worry about proceedure.

Due process is necessary for individuals charged of a crime...and when criminal courts have jurisdiction. Exactly what court order did you expect Saddam to obey? Assuming that we got some international court order for his arrest, how would you have proposed that it have been served? You are hiding behind semantics, you slimeball.

Go ahead and cling to your hopes of US failure. We'll find evidence soon enough of your complicity with the Iraqi regime - and when we do, there won't be anyplace for you to hide.

Friday, April 11, 2003


Thanks to Instapundit for the direction to this WaPo article further illustrating the density of the pacifist left:

Although such tensions remain across the Atlantic, the French and German leaders appeared to continue to enjoy substantial popular support for their antiwar stance, judging by media reaction and comments from citizens in street interviews.

"I am not for Saddam Hussein, but I don't think you can take the law into your own hands" as the United States did, said Eve Beck, 25, a French student of culture at the Sorbonne in Paris.

Like we did in Kosovo? Where was the UN resolution on that one Eve? Or do you think the French position by definition is always the right one regardless of UN approval?

Emanuel Katsikaki, 39, a German in Berlin who works in the printing industry, said, "This is the first time since World War II that people can feel proud to be German, and this is the first chancellor, Schroeder, who stood up to the most powerful country in the world."

Yes, it is important for impotent little gas bags like Schroeder to stand up to the big, bad Americans. It sure beats suing the press over reports that he colors his hair for pumping up the old ego. Much more important to posture than to actually be right.

He said he was "annoyed" by the scenes from Baghdad, adding that "this is liberation for the Iraqi people, but it comes back to the question of whether it was necessary in this form."

Certainly it is annoying for people to react with joy after being freed from years of tyranny if you are German and used to being (until recently) in the oppressor role.

Bush the elder tried out the theory of letting the regime colllapse under its own weight after Gulf War I. Earth to Emmanuel - it didn't work. Twelve years later Saddam still had an iron grip on his people and, as it turns out, a few foreign news agencies too. How long would we have had to pursue a failing policy of sanctions before it satisfied you that we'd "given peace a chance"? Force was the only way Saddam was ever going to be removed from power - face up to it, dumbass.

"I would have preferred another way of eliminating Saddam. The Iraqi people have put up with a lot," Sylviane Forestier, 52, a homemaker, said in Paris. Forestier said she "did not appreciate" the Bush administration, and that she hoped the United States would "let the people settle their own problems and govern their own country."

We would have preferred another way of eliminating him too. Unfortunately your government worked tirelessly over the past decade to insure that it didn't happen. The Iraqi's are going to govern their own country now - they just needed a little help deposing a brutal dictator armed to the teeth with French and Russian weapons.

An editorial in today's French newspaper Liberation said: "If the victory of the American army was never in doubt, might does not make right. This lightning victory does not dissipate all the doubts over the motivations for the 'Liberation of Iraq.' "

No might doesn't make right - but being powerful isn't proof that we're wrong either. You are never going to be convinced about US motivations because you have bought the socialist party line about the evil US corporate imperialism. I won't waste my breath.

The principal antiwar organizing committee in Paris announced that it would go ahead with a demonstration Saturday calling for a cease-fire in Iraq and the immediate withdrawal of U.S. and British troops. The organizers include the Socialists and other left-wing political parties, labor unions, and pacifist and human rights groups.

I love it. Having been proved completely and utterly wrong, they go ahead with their protest anyway planning to advocate a policy which, if adopted, would leave the Iraqi's in anarchy.

Of course they really don't fear US failure in the reconstruction of Iraq - they fear the opposite. A successful transition to a (more or less) free market economy and representative democracy would once again discredit their retread socialism. So much for humanitarian concern.

Thursday, April 10, 2003


Tonight on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough reminded me of Scott Ritter's venomous backstabbing. This is from an interview given on March 27, just two weeks ago:

Donald Rumsfeld's effects-based strategy requires overwhelming military force, and civilian and international support to create an environment that makes victory inevitable, and that makes defeat inevitable for the Iraqi's, thereby prompting the Iraqi military to surrender rather than resist. All of this would have fallen into place, and we could have achieved military, diplomatic, and political victory in Iraq. That is how I would have advised the President. We achieve the same end. But, now you have the world on your side, you have the Iraqi people on your side, and you succeed.

FPA: Well, that strategy could have been implemented before war began. But, now that it is underway, what are your biggest concerns?

Ritter: My biggest concern is that the U.S. has lost this war. We cannot win this war. We can win tactical engagements. We can win battlefield victories. We have lost this war, the Iraqi people, and international support. Now, we are losing American lives and taking Iraqi lives. This is a disaster; we don't have enough ground forces to sustain this combat. I am afraid that we will be bogged down outside of Baghdad, and have to wait until follow-on divisions show up. The longer we wait, the more international unrest there will be, and so, I cannot imagine any way that we can win this war.

American troops will leave Iraq with their tails between their legs, either in a matter of months or in a year. But, either way we have lost this war. Donald Rumsfeld's plan was a bold ignorant gamble, the equivalent of mortgaging one's home and taking the money to Las Vegas and betting on red five times in a row. He has lost his gamble; the house has gone. Now, he is a pathetic gambler at the table watching everything disappear but still fooling himself in to believing that he can achieve victory with one last roll of the dice, one last spin of the wheel. Sorry Donald, you lost! You failed! And tragically the price of failure is going to be measured in American lives, Iraqi lives, and lost prestige globally for the U.S.

It seems to me that the bold, ignorant gamble was Ritter's - to throw all of his weight behind the regime of a Stalinist, mass-murderer (I know, that's redundant but, what the hell). Sorry Scott, you lost (you miserable fly-spec)! You failed (you wannabe child molesting miscreant)!

Tragically the price of your stupidity was the loss of any chance at a non-military solution. You and your odious allies did everything you could to subvert American attempts to pressure Saddam diplomatically. Having succeeded, you then proceeded to cry foul over the administration's "unilateralism" and "imperialism".

Slink back under the rock you came from you greasy, backstabbing traitor.


Jane Fonda just can't stand to stay out of the fray when there is some good America bashing going down (from StarTribune.com - hat tip to somebody):

Jane Fonda told a Canadian audience that she fears the U.S. campaign in Iraq will turn people all over the world against America.

Perhaps, Jane. We all know that people all over the world hate freedom and democracy. They were all standing in line to get a visa to Iraq and now we've ruined their party by stopping all the state sponsored torture and rape.

Shame on US.

``What it's going to mean for (America's) stability as a nation, for terrorism, for the economy - I can't imagine,'' Fonda said Tuesday. ``I think the entire world is going to be united against us.''

That frightens her, she said, but she isn't sure what Americans can do about it.

Yes the whole world will be united against us now. Except the 45 or so countries that supported us.

Better to do nothing. Let the sadistic tyrant continue his reign of terror over 25 million unfortunate souls. Better to let him develop his little nuclear toys underground than to have the French dislike us.

We don't want little Janey-waney to be afwaid! Do you need a blankey to take to bed with you Janey? Daddy will leave the hall light on for you to keep the monsters away.

``I don't know if a country where the people are so ignorant of reality and of history, if you can call that a free world,'' she said.

"Ignorant of reality" - you're kidding right. You mean like how you and your Hollywood friends to close your eyes to torture and buddie up to dictators. Hell, you do it all the time. Ho, Mao, Stalin, Castro - they're all just men of the people to you idiots. Who killed those 20 million? I didn't see it!

If we are to take any lesson from history it is that appeasement never stops the war it only means that you fight it later and at a greater cost in lives and treasure.

I guess your suggestion is that we have to get a majority of the world's population to agree in a New York Times poll that action is acceptable before we act. That works if you want a world that is governed by dictators (they are still the rule rather than the exception).

Fonda, 65, has been the target of criticism for decades for her opposition to the Vietnam War and for posing overseas with members of the opposition's military.

When she was in North Vietnam during the Vietnam War, Fonda said she saw a small performance of a play intended to teach villagers that there were ``good Americans and bad Americans'' even as U.S. bombs fell on their country.

I hope she was used in the play as an example of a decadent, brain-dead, bimbo - "bad American". Too bad she felt the need to return to the US - I mean, how can she stand to live in the same country with all us knuckle-dragging, redneck, retards so ignernt ah histry 'n all.

She said she hopes Iraqis and others who might suffer from American attacks will feel the same as Vietnamese people she met, who told her ``someday the war will be over and we're going to have to be friends again.''

Let's all go out the playground and have a group-hug. Osama - I love you! Arafat - I forgive you for murdering all those people; I know that your inner child is hurting.

Yes, idiot, someday this war will be over. No thanks to you. There will be a lot more dead terrorists and a lot fewer dead Americans because of the leadership that Bush has shown. And a lot fewer dead and mutilated Iraqis; a lot fewer Iraqi child political prisoners.

Stick to making workout videos and leave the important matters to the adults, Janey.

And don't worry about that sound - it's not the Ashcroft brigades creeping up the hallway, no, it's just the sound of that last marble rattling around in your empty head.


From the Sydney Morning Herald (emphasis added):

Hundreds of Muslim fighters, many of them non-Iraqis, were putting up a stronger fight for Baghdad than Iraq's Republican Guard or the regular army, a top United States military officer said yesterday.

"They stand, they fight, sometimes they run when we engage them," Brigadier-General John Kelly said.

"But often they run into our machine guns and we shoot them down like the morons they are."

General Kelly, assistant commander of the about 20,000-strong 1st Marine Division, said US intelligence indicated that there might be anywhere between 500 and 5000 of the fighters, whom he described as terrorists.

"They appear willing to die. We are trying our best to help them out in that endeavour," he said.

General Kelly said a captured Syrian fighter who had his leg blown off had refused medical help. "They are arrogant. They are determined," he said.

The US Marines - always willing to help out a terrorist with a death-wish. General Kelly gets my vote for quote of the war.

It ought tell the protestors something when Islamic jihadists are more willing to fight us than Iraqi soldiers. But then they'd actually have to be paying attention to the news, instead of fabricating it, to know that wouldn't they?

So, after three weeks Baghdad has fallen, Hussein is either dead or dead, and Iraqis are welcoming American troops as the liberators they are. All this achieved with about 100 military deaths, a good percentage of those coming in friendly fire or non-combat situations.

There have been no American war atrocities, no indiscriminant bombing of residential areas, no bloody sieges, no humanitarian disasters.

If General Franks had listened to the armchair quarterbacks, we'd still be watching a bombing campaign intended to "soften them up" and would have another 100,000 troops either on the ground or in route. Would this have given Hussein time to set fire to the oil fields or dump petrol into the Gulf or maybe to launch a missle attack on Israel? We'll never know the answer.

What we do know, however, is that none of the dire predictions of the pundits and the protestors have come to pass. It's ironic that the people who tried so hard to prevent the invasion were the very ones jumping on the bandwagon to criticize the war plan because we didn't commit enough troops. A week ago, all of the critics were howling about the lack of Iraqi support for our troops - where are these geniuses now? One week ago, we were flirting with a "quagmire" - what say you now?

Oh, you say we are still not out of the woods. We face the difficult task of rebuilding, soon those who support us now for giving Saddam the boot will resent us soon for being an occupation force. The "Arab Street" will rise up against us, you moan.

This is going to be the easy part. Don't you see it? Weeks and months of televised reconstruction of Iraq. Human interest stories about American doctors and nurses treating children. Marines bringing in caravans of food and medicine to a long suffering population. Engineers rebuilding roads, electrical plants back on -line, oil revenues used to build hospitals and schools.

The Marxists, the Islamofacists, the French and the Bush-haters are going to be miserable.

But the misery of the Iraq people is going to be relieved - and the whole world is going to watch the Americans, British, Aussies and the rest of our coalition partners do all of it on television.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

I'm very encouraged today...more than in a long time.

In my lifetime I've seen the liberation of Eastern Europe and now the liberation of Iraq. These are no small feats.

Twenty-five million people gained independence today. How great is that?

Already the media is asking if America is screwing up post-war Iraq. I'd like to enjoy the three week victory for a day or so prior to asking what comes next.

Congratulations to the people of Iraq! Congratulations to the Americans! May we form a better future from the horrors of war.

Our good friend the Captain at USS Clueless offers the following outrage:

U.N. Security Council envoys encouraged private relief groups on Wednesday to act as human rights watchdogs once they gain access to Iraq, to ensure respect for civilians' rights during the U.S.-led occupation.

"The coalition forces that occupy Iraq must comply with international law. Nongovernmental organizations can be the eyes and ears of the council to ensure that international humanitarian law is respected," Mexican U.N. Ambassador Adolfo Aguilar Zinser said.

"We have encouraged them to provide all the information that is relevant to members of the Security Council so we can have their independent assessment of what is going on in Iraq," said Zinser, the council president for April.

To read this, you'd have the idea that Iraq was a peaceful and liberalized nation before the war, whose citizens are only now in peril because of the occupation by the US. If this kind of monitoring is such a great idea now, why wasn't it an even better idea back when the government of Iraq was routinely torturing and murdering its own people, and imprisoning its children? (Or torturing its children?)

Never fear, Amnesty International is on the case:

Yvonne Terlingen, the U.N. representative for Amnesty International, said her group urged the council "to assure that human rights monitors are established as quickly as possible, to keep it informed of what is going on the ground."

She also suggested creation of a commission of experts to look into past rights violations by the government of Saddam Hussein, no longer in control in Baghdad.

"We got a positive response from both coalition powers (the United States and Britain) with respect to the need that they felt that they had to uphold principles of international humanitarian law," Terlingen said.

In other words, the reason they're now willing to monitor human rights in Iraq is that they know that the US and UK actually care about such things. The ironic situation is that this kind of monitoring can only work in places where the governments in charge are not actually inclined to routinely violate human rights.

And why is it only now that there's any reason to formally investigate rights violations by Saddam's government? He's history; his abuses are also history. The best time to investigate those would have been as they were happening, in hopes of trying to prevent more of them.

It's pointless, anyway. There won't be any need for experts to try to dig out rare and obscure and esoteric cases of abuses by Saddam and the Baathists. Those abuses were so serious and so blatant and so widespread that any international reporter will be able to walk up to any randomly-chosen group of 10 Iraqis and ask, and will get an earful. There's going to be plenty of investigation AI's committed of experts. It's hard to see what such a group could possibly contribute now.

Of course, such a committee could conceivably actually make a difference if it were to investigate on-going human rights abuses in places like Saudi Arabia, or Syria, or Iran, or North Korea. Notice that AI isn't asking for an equivalent expert investigation of them.

Well, we wouldn't want the UN to have to actually DO anything would we?

The ever disgraceful Robert Fisk: is still employed as a "journalist". What a joke.

From the April 4, New Zealand news:

Was it true, the Iraqi minister of information was asked at his daily 2pm press conference (11pm NZT) - a routine institution of usually deadly tedium - that the Americans were at the airport?

"Rubbish!" he shouted. "Lies! Go and look for yourself."

So we did.

And, alas for the Anglo-American spokesmen in Doha and the US officer quoted on the BBC, the Iraqi minister was right and the Americans were wrong. But it's a good idea to take these things, if not with a pinch of salt, then at least with the knowledge that there are always two reasons for every decision taken in this violent, ruthless land.

Sure, the Americans had been caught lying again - as they were about the "securing" of Nasiriyah more than a week ago - but was that the only reason journalists were permitted to visit Baghdad airport? We saw no Republican Guards - just as the Americans have themselves somehow failed to discover the 12,000 Republican Guards supposedly facing them.

Was their some kind of trap about to be sprung? Were the Americans being lured into the gentle, palm-fringed highway into town because, unknown to all of us, there was in fact some real armour hidden away in the great fields on the western banks of the Tigris?

Alas poor Booby, there was no trap, no bloody gauntlet to shred American soldiers as you had hoped. Sorry to dissapoint you.

All day, I had asked myself about the supposed American assault-to-come on Baghdad.

Where were the panicking crowds? Where were the food queues? Where were the empty streets? True, the motorway to the airport was a spooky, lonely journey.

But the centre of Baghdad was livelier than for many days.

Not as lively as it is today, with all the "patriotic" citizens tearing down statues and posters of Saddam and looting his palaces. Not as lively as Iraqis and British soldiers playing soccer in Southern Iraq. Not as lively as the crowds chanting "We love George Bush" this morning. Guess they didn't get your memo about how evil we Americans are - how we seek empire and oil.

You've been asleep at the wheel Fisk. The Bush/Blair propaganda machine is winning! Better make up an American lie or atrocity to report quick!

Each night, I can hear the drumbeat of explosions and cluster bombs west of the city.

Who is dying there? The Chief of Staff of the Republican Guards' Baghdad Division -- the same division whom the Americans are supposedly incinerating - announces that he has suffered only 17 dead and 35 wounded.

Every morning, the newspaper Qaddisiyeh carries a detailed battle report from the front lines - always supposing there is a front line - which includes unit numbers and brigades.

On Wednesday, for example, the newspaper informed its readers that the Americans failed to cut the Kut to Baghdad highway, that Iraqi forces destroyed 14 US tanks in the province of Diwaniyeh, that the 704th, 424th and 504th Brigades of the Iraqi army's 3rd Army Corps prevented a US thrust near Suq el-Shuqh.

And so on and so forth.

Whether this represents anything like the battles which the Iraqis believe they are fighting will await the inquiries of historians.

But you dearly hoped that the reports were true, didn't you? That the Americans were stymied, bogged down. Heavy casualties. You little maggot.

It's amazing that a "journalist" could take the claims of Iraqi state controlled media at anything near face value. Take off those anti-American shades, Fisk, open your eyes and let the light of truth shine on those beady little Marxist eyeballs of yours.

Thus another long day, peppered with the rumble of faraway detonations, closed at Baghdad airport last night, dusk falling over the grimy terminals with their painted exhortations of "Down, Down America" and the airport's director, Wafa Abdullah Jabbouri, announcing that "there is no-one at the airport, you can see it's completely safe, even the workers still turn up each day." No doubt they do.

Brilliant reporting. You leave the impression that it is the PEOPLE (united never to be defeated) who deposited those "painted exhortations" and not, say, Fedayeen Saddam or other of the regimes thugs. How suprised you must be at the warm welcome the Marines are gettting today, April 8 only four days later, in downtown Baghdad.

Had the Americans found themselves miles away on the edge of the old RAF airbase at Habbaniyeh, one wondered, and confused it with the airport outside Baghdad?

You've been eyewitness to the most accurate and precise bombing campaign in human history. All of the weapons are guided by satellites and lasers. How could you, with a straight face, even speculate that the Americans had mistaken an old RAF airbase for Saddam International Airport? If you are going to flak for the regime, you at least ought to make an attempt not to appear ridiculous....or you will be ridiculed.

But few here believe the Americans cannot bash their way into Baghdad if they really want to. After all, Napoleon got to Moscow in the end.

It appears that we've had it a little easier than Napoleon.

I guess it's the same old question. The Russians could hold Stalingrad because they loved Russia as much as they feared Marshal Stalin.

Does that equation of patriotism and dictatorship apply to the Iraqis? Messers Bush and Blair must hope it does not.

Guess it doesn't. So...Bush and Blair were right...and you were wrong...again. No bloody siege of Baghdad, no atrocities committed, no "quagmire" - you must be devastated.

If you'd like, we can send some Iraqi youth over to kick your ass so you can write another column about how you deserve it as member of the white male oppressor class. That would probably lift your spirits a bit. Of course all we would have to tell them is that you've been providing journalistic cover for the brutal dictator that tortured and murdered their friends and relatives.

Maybe they wouldn't stop at just a good beating.


Andrew Sullivan directs us to DuckSEASON who reports on the BBC World Service's anti-coalition bias:

But the World Service's revision of focus also coincided unhappily with a key decision announced early in March by the BBC?s controller of editorial policy, Stephen Whittle. It was Whittle's wish that corporation broadcasts specifically reflect anti-war opinion. Imposing a point of view on events before they unfold is a bit audacious. But it was done, and as a result, the Whittle Rule has already had far-reaching effects.

As the first round of explosions rocked Baghdad, for example, the World Service's on-air "Middle East analyst" was one Alan George, whose only apparent credential for such an appearance was his association with an Arab-funded, anti-Israeli agit-prop group called The Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding, although that affiliation was never disclosed to listeners. When the World Service anchor asked him for his analysis, George promptly pronounced the bombardment "an example of pure American imperialism". Nobody challenged this assertion, nor has he been challenged since on any of his volatile comments during his regular World Service appearances. In fact, the views of guests like George are very rarely balanced with opposing viewpoints, and World Service anchors almost never offer a differing opinion. Instead, the convention is to ask people like George to simply restate their propaganda in more detail: "So, Mr George, you think this is an illegitimate war, then?" He did, he does and he will tomorrow, too.
This insistent bias isn?t limited to the World Service?s English-language broadcasts, unfortunately. The all-news Arabic service is perhaps worse?and with consequences far more potentially harmful. As Barbara Amiel reported recently in London's Daily Telegraph, "Rather than give listeners in the Arab world information that they could not hear through the government-controlled stations of the region, the BBC Arabic Service simply gives them the same stew with the imprimatur of the free world, and at taxpayers' expense."
In English, Arabic or any of the other 43 languages used by the BBC World Service, attaching a virulently anti-American viewpoint to one of the most trusted brands in the world has a deep significance. When the Iraqi leadership calls on suicide bombers to attack British and American soldiers, the call goes out over the BBC, without any attempt to deflate the accompanying rhetoric. If a child is hurt anywhere in Iraq as a result of Coalition activity, the World Service is there, broadcasting from bedside and full of sanctimonious fury. You might read about cheering Iraqis greeting troops as they advance through the country, but you will never hear about such a thing on the World Service.

Saturday, April 5, will be the day most people will remember as the day when the journalistic standards of the World Service committed suicide. The BBC's bad day in Baghdad started early: A column of US soldiers had entered southwestern Baghdad just after daybreak. The soldiers - in tanks and armored personnel carriers - drove through the city for several kilometers encountering only sporadic resistance. Near the university, the column turned left, drove out of the capital and parked at the international airport, which was already securely in American hands. In Qatar, the Coalition command center announced the incursion, saying that elements of the 3rd Infantry had gone into the center of Baghdad. At first, the maneuver was reported as a grab for urban territory. Later, more accurate reports, however, said that it was a demonstration by the U.S. that it could and would enter Baghdad at will.
Cut to: Andrew Gilligan, the BBC?s man in downtown Baghdad. "I'm in the center of Baghdad," said a very dubious Gilligan, "and I don't see anything; But then the Americans have a history of making these premature announcements." Gilligan was referring to a military communique from Qatar the day before saying the Americans had taken control of most of Baghdad's airport. When that happened, Gilligan had told World Service listeners that he was there, at the airport - but the Americans weren't. Gilligan inferred that the Americans were lying. An hour or two later, a different BBC correspondent pointed out that Gilligan wasn't at the airport, actually. He was nearby - but apparently far enough away that the other correspondent felt it necessary to mention that he didn't really know if Gilligan was around, but that no matter what Gilligan had seen or not seen, the airport was firmly and obviously in American hands.

It was important to the BBC that Gilligan not be wrong twice in two days. Whatever the truth was, the BBC, like Walter Duranty's New York Times, must never say, "I was wrong." So, despite the fact that the appearance of American troops in Baghdad was surely one of the war's big moments, and one the BBC had obviously missed, American veracity became the story of the day. Gilligan, joined by his colleagues in Baghdad, Paul Wood and Rageh Omaar, kept insisting that not only had the Americans not gone to the "center" - which they reckoned to be where they were - they hadn't really been in the capital at all. Both Omaar and Wood told listeners that they had been on hour-long Iraqi Ministry of Information bus rides - "and," said Wood, "we were free to go anywhere" -yet they had seen nothing of an American presence in the city. From Qatar, a BBC correspondent helpfully explained that US briefings, such as that announcing the Baghdad incursion, were meaningless exercises, "more PR than anything else." Maybe, implied the World Service, the Americans had made it all up: all day long, Wood repeatedly reported that there was no evidence to support the American claim.

At a lunchtime press briefing, the Iraqi Minister of Information, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, gave the BBC some solid support: the American incursion was a hoax, said al-Sahaf. No only that, he added, the Iraqis had retaken the airport, the Americans had been driven out and Republican Guard units were "pounding" trapped American troops in a suburban area. The bizarre announcement was accepted at face value by the BBC. For most of the rest of the day, the BBC's correspondents, including its diplomatic correspondent, Peter Biles, confessed to being "confused" by the conflicting statements of the Coalition military command and the Iraqi information ministry. Who could you believe, they kept asking themselves?

Absolutely amazing.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003


There is a lot of talk right now about what the UN role should be in the reconstruction of Iraq. The French positioning themselves to take economic and political advantage of the American/British/Australian lead war. Under no circumstances should this be allowed.

The French, being the only Security Council member that vowed to veto any new resolution, should not, be allowed to profit from the war. If they want to provide humanitarian aid - that would be acceptable. But TotalFinaElf should not get one dime from the war.

The Germans should also be frozen-out, though if they were to get rid of Schroeder I think it would be possible to reconsider.

All projects, where feasible (which means damn near all of them) should be competitively bid amongst qualified contractors from America, Britain, Austrailia, Japan, Poland , Bulgaria, Romania, Spain, Portugal and other coalition partners. Iraqi companies (such as they exist) should also be included. Halliburton and Bechtel should be a part of the list - BUT, they should have to compete just like everyone else. They should not, however, have to compete with French, German, Russian and Chinese companies whose governments cost America lives and cost American taxpayers money in this war.

The thrust of the policy should be this - get the infrastructure (roads, schools, public transportation systems, hospitals, industrial/oil production facilities, water treatment plants, electrical generating systems, police functions,etc.) back on-line as soon as possible at the least expense. This will need to be seen around the world as an all-out effort to restore Iraq to its pre-1991 state and then push beyond that. Physical and institutional reconstruction must progress hand-in-hand.

At the same time, our coalition partners must be rewarded for their support. I am thinking here especially of the Eastern Eurpean countries whose close proximity to the region make them logical suppliers of men and materials for the effort. This will benefit the EU a whole lot more that assigning contracts to French and German conglomerates.

I can't think of any better way to show the Iraqis and the Arab world of our honorable intentions than to have an army of Americans, British, Spaniards, Aussies, Poles, Bulgarians, Romanians, Danes, Portuguese, and Italian engineers, agricultural experts, and doctors busting their humps to create a new, free Iraq. The French would just go in there and piss everybody off anyway.

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