Monday, May 10, 2004

The Second Superpower Meets the Pentagon

The Second Superpower Meets the Pentagon

The Second Superpower is the term coined by James F. Moore of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. As the United States government becomes more belligerent in using its power in the world, many people are longing for a “second superpower” that can keep the US in check. This Guardian article shows how this idea of Mr. Moore's is actually taking shape.When the Abu Ghraib photos depicting the torture of Iraqi prisoners by US troops began to surface, it became clear that many of them were amateur shots taken by soldiers using their own private digital cameras. The internet played a large role in distributing the images, which highlights the ease with which troops serving in Iraq can now send photos back to the U.S. and are curiously not subject to any kind of military censorship.(I wonder if things will soon change?)The morality of war will always pose the same dilemmas, but the internet (and blogs) have provided a powerful new way of exposing truths in real-time. The Internet and other interactive media continue to penetrate more and more deeply and promptly. It's hard for world leaders to hide things they once found easy and convenient to hide.

Ref: See "The Other Superpower" at Rodger Payne

The Tipping Point by Lt Col. Karen Kwiatkowski

Ship of state not leaking info, but leaking bodies

Karen Kwiatkowski's latest article, The Tipping Point, can be found at the Military Week website. As the title suggests, Lt. Col. Kwiatkowski believes we've reached that point in Iraq already. She's seeing what she calls a "bloodless evacuation of the appointed ideologues from Washington to some safe and profitable haven". Once-strategizing-and-hopeful Neoconservatives are "peeling off like a bad paint on an old Chevy". A sure sign.

Maj. General Antonio Taguba to testify tomorrow

Maj. General Antonio Taguba to testify tomorrow

Tuesday, May 11

Prisoner Report's Author on Hill
Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba testifies before the Senate Armed Services Cmte. on his report on the treatment of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib Prison.

Also on CSPAN tomorrrow:

--Prisoner Hearing in Senate: Part 2
Sen. John Warner (R-VA) chairs a hearing on the treatment of Iraqi prisoners. Intelligence Undersec. Stephen Cambone & Army JAG Thomas Romig testify.

--Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader is one of our Tuesday morning guests. Another is Stephen Mansfield, author of "The Faith of George W. Bush."

Joel Katzman on Israel

Joel Katzman on Israel

Joel Katzman, PhD, has written a piece for Arutz Sheva titled "Israel, Beware!". In it, he states that the current stand on Israel by the Bush administration is all about "running scared" and "botching" the Middle East situation.

The US is terribly humiliated and fearful, because Iraqi prisoners were mild to moderately abused by US service personnel; yet the US appears to be becoming less concerned about humiliating and putting Israelis at risk, than it is about making sure that the Islamofacists and the Muslims of the world feel comfortable and protected.

I don't agree that we can dismiss the matter of Abu Ghraib as a case of moderate or mild abuse. I find that to be incredibly disingenuous from an intellectually honest standpoint. I also sense a form of either resentment, distrust, or envy for the attention the situation is getting the Muslim world. It may be best, if Dr. Katzman wishes to catch liberal American attention, to pose his argument with far more care and appreciation for the American situation.

He continues,

I truly hope that I can be written off as being overly paranoid and incapable of grasping the "holier than thou" and failed approach to peace making so common to the diplomats of "evenhandedness" and their failed land-for-peace arrangements. However, if I am not wrong, then Israeli concessions will not be allowed to stop at even the 1967 borders, and Israelis and many Jews may be unpleasantly surprised to find that the US, along with other nations, and the UN, will push relentlessly to drive Israel back to pre-1949 borders.

I would hope this is, indeed, paranoia. Yet, I share Dr. Katzman's concerns. This is a terribly trying time for America. Iraq turned out to not be a cakewalk. If the politics surrounding the failing war are hurting Israel, I can understand the discomfort. Perhaps, if America could gracefully walk (not run) away from Iraq, we could get the Middle East back on track. I honestly think it's going to take a new administration to set us on the track again.

To Dr. Katzman, I say: Please do not blame liberal people. We never chose this path for our nation...or Israel.

Learn these names

Learn about these names

John Israel
Steven Stephanowicz
Col Thomas M. Pappas
LTC Steve L. Jordan

[See LINK]

Oh no, not Lt. General Boykin...

Oh, no....not Lt. General Boykin

I'm afraid that Lieutenant-General William "Jerry" Boykin's words are going to come back to haunt all of us. America was supposed to keep its religious intent out of the Iraq war. Now we learn he's involved in this Abu Ghraib mess? Some in the media are saying Donald Rumsfeld has tried to
cover up the controversial Boykin, who was allegedly hired by him to pin down the "interrogation" process. Since most of the people that Boykin is charged with capturing in Iraq are Muslim, his past words and actions will now draw even more scrutiny in the Arab and Islamic world.

Casualty of War- Colin Powell in GQ

Casualty of War-
Colin Powell in GQ

"It is rare for a member of any president's cabinet to stand alone.."


Bloody Road from Abu Ghraib leads back to Rumsfeld

Bloody Road from Abu Ghraib leads back to Rumsfeld

The creation of torture units was the consequence of orders by the Defence Department – headed by Secretary Donald Rumsfeld – to prise information out of prisoners.

What we haven't seen...yet...

American soldiers beating an Iraqi to a bloody pulp.

A male U.S. soldier having sex with a female Iraqi inmate.

Soldiers acting inappropriately with a dead body.

A video allegedly showing Iraqi guards raping young boys.

Dancing the Web

Dancing the Web

Read American diplomat Phil Kosnett's story titled Little Glamor for U.S. Diplomats in Najaf . Kosnett, a 43-year-old diplomat from Black Mountain, NC, has seen his job made much tougher by the Shiite uprising in their holy city of Najaf.

Kosnett and [Col. Dana] Pittard, whose troops are poised to attack if ordered, both say harm to Najaf's holy places has to be avoided. The Imam Ali and Kufa mosques, the city's most sacred shrines, remain in the hands of al-Sadr's gunmen although they've vacated the main government office and police station.

"They may have moved out of the pizzerias but they still hold the Vatican," one of Kosnett's assistants said. "That's the biggest hostage they hold."

John at Archy rewards Tom Friedman (he does say something worth an honorable mention sometimes).

John says-

I recognize that [Friedman’s] headed in the right direction and especially give him credit for a good hook:

I have never known a time in my life when America and its president were more hated around the world than today…. It's no wonder that so many Americans are obsessed with the finale of the sitcom 'Friends' right now. They're the only friends we have, and even they're leaving.

At Rodger Payne's Blog, we learn a Conservative revolt is hitting the front pages of mainstream media.

The Army Times along with three other military papers owned by the Gannett Companies, have suggested Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other top Pentagon civilian and military leaders should be removed over the Iraq prisoner abuse scandal.

How does this grab ya?

At World Net Daily, I read this

Osama bin Laden's family business is on the short list of contractors bidding to build the world's tallest skyscraper...The Saudi Binladin Group, the biggest developer in the kingdom, begun by Osama bin Laden's father, is in the running for the project.

I don't know about you. I keep thinking...

"World Trade Center"....

"He who dies with the biggest and the tallest toys wins"...

"My ****'s bigger than your ****"....

Moqtada Sadr Controls Sadr City

Moqtada Sadr Controls Sadr City
With the quick takeover, which was completed at dawn, Sadr City joined two southern towns, Najaf and Kufa, now under the control of Sadr's militia...

Here's what we've got:

In Iraq, we're fighting against a Shiite cleric and those whose Shiite hearts have been won by him (some of them mere teenagers). I happen to believe we're going to have a hard time convincing these folks this is not a war against their religion since their religion is so closely tied to their government.

A U.S. raid Saturday night and the detention of two of al-Sadr's lieutenants, Amr Husseini and Amjad Saedi, triggered a whole new uprising. One-third of Baghdad's 5 million residents live in this place. They may call this place a "slum", but no matter how you slice it, you can't discount it--that's a lot of people.

Our forces are hitting al Sadr's forces where they can---Diwaniyah, Karbala, Kut and Kufa. The U.S. now has fewer than eight short weeks to transfer some type of authority to a new Iraqi government (whoever on earth that might be...). There's intra-Shiite fighting to worry about in the process of the turnover of power. Rival Shiite clerics hate al-Sadr and here we are-- stuck in the middle of their civil hatred-- precisely where we've never belonged. To boot, all the Shiites have nothing save distrust for the U.S. for reaching out and touching someone...who happen to be members of Saddam's old Baath Party (to placate Sunnis in Fallujah).

We don't belong there. We never have. FOX News Sunday tried to piece together a short propaganda pro-war film to counter Ted Koppel's reading of the names of our Fallen (how dare he?). The FOX news
propagan-documentary fell apart from its start when the filmmaker had the audacity to show Saddam's torture and rape rooms (in the wake of Abu Ghraib).The rest of the film showed our troops doing social work, which should be done by organizations created for that purpose. It drove home the sickeningly sad point that our troops don't belong there and are now suffering (some facing court-martial) for a situation in which they were thrown...untrained..unprepared..and given a wink and nod all the way up the chain of command to do what they needed to do to get the locals to "talk".

I blame FOX News for unethically misleading the American public far too long. The fact that 80% of FOX News-viewers surveyed believed weapons of mass destruction had been found and a connection between al-Qaeda and Iraq existed reveals FOX's ethical transgession. When the Vice President says he loves your work (as he did with FOX), you have to realize that they are not doing their job..which should be challenging power instead of sucking up to it.

It's time to look through the lens clearly (both literally and figuratively) and get these troops back home. Let this become a world-crisis, because that is precisely what it is. Back away and let the entirety of the world step into the vaccuum. It should never have been a lone U.S. Crusade.
The American public, although constantly misinformed, is slowly beginning to understand.
It's a no-win situation.