Saturday, March 29, 2003

Mean people suck
Jim Treacher has a wonderful story with a message for us all:
I've been pretty mean to Michael Moore lately, but I think he's finally changed my mind:
"Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator, and I hope he’s removed as soon as possible. But nonviolently."
Good idea! First we'll coax Saddam out of his bunker with a trail of delicious candy. Then, once his belly is full and he's all sleepy and happy, we'll calmly explain that we don't approve of what he's been doing and it's not very nice and we wish he'd stop. And he'll be like, "Whoa, I never thought of it that way...
Follow the link for the rest. I especially like the part with the unicorn.
The British must have infinite patience
Ian Kirby in News of the World - A teenage girl waved at our troops... she was hanged within the hour:
A smiling teenage girl who waved at patrolling British soldiers and accepted a big-hearted squaddie's gift of chocolate was HANGED by agents of Saddam.

The butchers of the dictator's corrupt Ba'ath party had spied on the Muslim youngster from an alleyway in Az Zubayr near Basra.

Battle-hardened troops of the 1st Batallion, The Royal Irish Regiment choked back tears when they later saw her limp beaten body swaying from a lamp-post in the ramshackle south Iraq town held by Allies.

And yesterday their grim-faced commander, Lt Colonel Tim Collins chewed on a cigar and confirmed:

"A teenage girl who waved at my troops was hanged within the hour.
" We came into this area hard and at no little risk. We've had great success in cutting off the Ba'ath Party here.

" Its chief who was Lord God On High in these parts is currently considering his options in a Prisoner of War cage.

" I'd reserved judgment on him?and then I found the knuckleduster in his drawer.

" One of the few good things I can say about the party is that they keep meticulous records.

" We established all the names of local members. We knew they were threatening people co-operating with us, so we paid some of them a visit overnight.

" It's not straightforward but it works. One man found a shot through his kitchen floor helped him remember where his weapon was hidden."
How about some Ba'athists on the lamp posts? That might have a clarifying effect as well.
His Fat is His Fortune
Pop by the Sunday Telegraph to read Mark Steyn's profile of the pretentious shitsack himself, Michael Moore:
He was greeted with a few cheers and more boos, but took both as evidence of his popularity. After all, most of the booers were only booing the other booers. As he explained afterwards, "The booing that started was way up in the balcony" - that is the nobodies in the cheap seats - "and then the people supporting what I was saying started booing them." If memory serves, that's what Elena Ceausescu told Nicolae as they came in through the French windows.
Yet somehow the notion persists that an Upper West Sider adored on the Cote d'Azur is the authentic voice of blue-collar America. The vast bulk of his credibility in this regard derives from his vast bulk. Less of Moore would be a career disaster; he would be just another cadaverous limousine liberal nibbling on his curly endive.

Even in Flint, he was never a regular workin' stiff. He lasted one day on the assembly line. Other than that, he worked his way up through alternative radio shows and progressive magazines.
The voice of the working man fer sure.
Frontline Action Alert!
Media Set Back in Coverage of Setback:
As we roll along, I reflect that it's already been a long war for those of us in action, a harsh life, deprived of many of the most ordinary comforts. For many, it's been at least three hours since the last taste of biscotti and cappuccino macchiato. There is little to protect us from the brutal weather or road conditions, except a well-sealed vehicle with a soft suspension and air conditioning. We have scant access to information about anything outside of our immediate area, other than twenty-four hour cable news, a satellite dish, cell phones, and the internet.

Since the war broke out, just a couple days after my interview with "Commandante Howell," I've been embedded in a front-line reportorial unit--the Chicken Little Company, of the Eeyore 5th Battalion, part of the Fourth Division, proudly named for decades the "Whining Weasels."
It's Rand Simberg at Transterrestrial Musings.
Monica alert!
Kieran Murray's report for Reuters that Hundreds of Iraqis killed in four-day battle for Kifl has one particularly astonishing sentence:
The officers said the tank unit fired two 120 mm high velocity depleted uranium rounds straight down the main road, creating a powerful vacuum that literally sucked guerrillas out from their hideaways into the street, where they were shot down by small arms fire or run over by the tanks.
Sounds like the troops were having Kieran on, but I enjoy a heartwarming tale. Read the whole article for a snapshot of fighting Saddam's "guerrillas".
One big scary, dysfunctional family
Ed Johnson at the AP reports Saddam Sacks Commander of Air Defenses:
Saddam Hussein has fired his commander of air defenses as U.S.-led forces claimed control of 95 percent of Iraq's sky, the British government said Saturday.

Prime Minister Tony Blair official spokesman said Saddam had sacked his cousin, Musahim Saab al-Tikriti, and replaced him with Gen. Shahin Yasin Muhammad al-Tikriti.
No word on whether the sack was a body bag.
Poor Bobby
Tom Paine at Silent Running amuses with Little Bobby Fisk:
Anyway, a couple of afternoons after this excitement, this patrol which my mate is in charge of (he's an old fella these days, but he was pretty young back then) is manning a roadblock. Up comes Bobby Fisk in his Mini, and they stop him. He packs a big sad, and starts yelling the place down about how he's an important journalist and this is British Army harrasment, and he's on first name terms with the Chief Constable and he'll have my mate's pips for this, just basically carrying on like the giant penis he's always been.

Having failed the old attitude test ...
You'll have to follow the link for the juicy details.
Why the surprise?
But a Marine Corps general says he was:
"What has surprised me most, quite honestly, is that in nearly six days of ground fighting that the forces that are loyal to Saddam Hussein have already committed so many war crimes," said Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace this week on CNN.
Just a couple of yesterday's lowlights:

Iraqi militia targets fleeing families
The crowd was halfway across the concrete and steel bridge when the mortar rounds started falling on the Basra side. Men, women and children screamed as they ran to escape Iraqi machine-gun fire.

A thousand people, maybe more, ran for their lives. A young woman fell, hit by shrapnel as a pick-up truck broke cover and charged forward, the machine-gun mounted on its roof spewing bullets at the crowd.

Signs of U.S. POWs found at hospital
U.S. Marines who secured a hospital that had been used by Iraqi forces later found several bloodied U.S. uniforms worn by female soldiers, NBC’s Kerry Sanders reported Friday from the hospital. The find suggested that Iraq had held several POWs at the hospital, which is in An Nasiriyah, a town where at least five Americans were taken prisoner in an attack that killed two other soldiers and left eight missing.

Sanders was shown where the uniforms were found - inside the bathroom of a larger room that had been padlocked. It was the same room where 3,000 nuclear, biological and chemical suits were found when the Marines moved in.

The uniforms, which had had their American flag patches and names ripped off, were found inside a bag.

In another room, Marines found a large battery next to a bed - leading them to suspect it was used as a torture device, Sanders reported.
By the way, here's a screen capture of the battery (via MikeWUSAF at Free Republic):

Susie loses a well paying gig
By now you may have seen the reports that the United Way of Tampa Bay canceled an appearance by Susan Sarandon arranged by her brother who works for a local paper. The United Way decided they didn't need the controversy, but naturally Susie is whining:
"Once again, the shortsightedness of the powerful will end up hurting those in need."
But digging a little deeper, we find courtesy of Steve Miller in the Washington Times:
Admission was to be $200 for the entire day or $75 to attend a lunch at which Miss Sarandon was to speak. Her speaking fee of $20,000 was to be paid by the St. Petersburg Times Fund with the proceeds going to the local United Way.
I guess Susie's in need. Who knew? I thought she had all that urinal cake revenue.

Pond scum

Friday, March 28, 2003

Beats the heck out of an X10
Paul Boutin in Slate reveals It's Easy Seein' Green - Night-vision scopes make your closet the color of Baghdad:
Of all the military gadgets on parade on television, there's one you can bring home without spooking the neighbors into thinking you've gone postal. Night-vision scopes, once available only at defense contractor prices, can be found nowadays at Wal-Mart for less than $100. The new consumer models are less powerful than the military versions, but they're more portable, too. They're also more stylish, so you won't look like that creep from Silence of the Lambs.

Technology has made huge leaps since the first Gulf War, but the grunts in the field still wear the same AN/PVS-7 headsets manufactured for Desert Storm by Northrop Grumman. U.S. civilians can buy the PVS-7 for themselves, but prices start at around $2,500 and can run to more than four grand for the model used in the gulf. A much more attractive option - literally - is the Night Owl Aero, a sleek, lightweight, sub-$200 unit designed to be held in one hand rather than strapped to your head cyborg-style.
(We won't tell Paul why strapping 'em to your head is damned convenient if you have to use 'em.)
First-time users inevitably gasp when they take the Aero into a darkened closet and press its illuminator button, which causes a small red bulb on the front of the unit to glow dimmer than a lighted cigarette. Looking into the eyepiece the first time is an oh-my-God moment. The illuminator emits infrared light (invisible to humans), and the Aero's circuits crank it up to a brilliant green, making the room bright enough to read the New York Times without squinting. Look away from the lens, and the room is pitch black. Brain to eyeballs: Does not compute.
But standing around in a closet isn't where it's at.
In urban tests, the Aero let me read the license plates of cars parked overnight on my block and watch local winos fumble with the contents of their brown paper bags at 4 a.m. Its super-sensitive vision could sometimes see through a slinky dress to reveal the outlines of underwear. But the more shocking discovery was that I wasn't alone in the dark. Through the Aero's eyepiece, normally invisible light sources shone as brightly as regular bulb. Motion detectors gleamed from doorways. Some downtown buildings sported infrared security cameras (why they don't just use a 1,000-watt floodlight, I don't know). Most surprising of all, other night-vision users were out and about. The insides of their scopes shone back at me like glowing green eyes whenever our gazes crossed paths. At an all-night outdoor rave, I spotted the local cops looking through second-generation police goggles from the darkened cab of their truck. Crime-spotting, or just girl watching?
Ruh Oh! I thought the boys were just buying 'em for deer hunting!
Trouble down at the local Al Qaeda franchise
Jim Muir at the BBC - Islamic HQ falls to Iraqi Kurds:
Thousands of Peshmerga Kurdish guerrillas have overrun the main headquarters of a group of Islamic radicals in the mountains of north-eastern Iraq.

The Ansar al-Islam base at Biara fell several hours after the Peshmerga forces launched an offensive at dawn on Friday.

A senior official of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the Peshmerga guerrilla group which carried out the operation in conjunction with US special forces, said that around 70 Ansar al-Islam adherents had been killed and that all their main centres had been overrun.

He said the survivors had fled into the mountains towards the border with Iran and he predicted that the area would be completely clear of them within 24 hours.

The operation also included American air support called in by the special forces who have been co-ordinating on the ground.
Bye bye.
Nobody WANTS to see it, but they NEED to see it
Jed Babbin at NRO, yesterday at 2:21 PM:
Evidence of the abuse--torture and murder--of American POWs in Iraq may exist on videotape. There are apparently two versions of the tape shown by Al Jazeera. The second, shown over and over on Egyptian TV, shows both the murder of American POWs and the desecration of their bodies. Though the tape has been shown over and over in the Middle East, congressional requests for access to it have so far been denied. One source told me that some of what he saw reminded him of the murder of Danny Pearl. The public doesn't need to see all these tapes. But more people in government do, and they need to tell the press. The lack of public reaction to these horrors troubles me greatly. Maybe it's because there's so little knowledge of any of the details.
And at 11:35 PM:
I have confirmed that the Al-Jazeera tape, all twelve minutes of it, is merely an excerpt of the hour-long version being shown regularly in Egypt and elsewhere. The short version shows the interrogation of some U.S. soldiers and the defamed dead bodies of others. The longer version includes all that, plus the murders and later abuse and mutilation of the bodies. Apparently, the whole thing is out there on the internet. I don't want to watch it tonight. Maybe tomorrow morning, when the mind is fresher, more able to withstand it.
Sophie Cannon Alert!
Annan: US Bogarting Saddam's Torture Victims:
"I am getting increasingly concerned by humanitarian casualties in this conflict," said Annan. "Those civilians are reserved for the exploitation and torture of the Baghdad government and should not be endangered in any way."
"At least two of the people killed in that bombing were on this week's rape list," shouted Barzan Al-Tikriti, head of the secret police. "You tell that George Bush to stop bogarting all of our victims!"
It's the Skeptician.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

More on the media
Embedded Patsies by George Neumayr in the American Prowler:
In the last Gulf war, liberals complained about a lack of media access to the front lines. In this Gulf war, they are complaining about too much access to it.

The "embedded" reporters are "patsies," says Neal Gabler of Salon. "The White House certainly knew that reporters would bond with their units and identify with them."

This is obviously a troubling development. We wouldn't want American journalists bonding with the American military who protect them. Back in their cubicles with Gabler, these reporters could return to the leisurely anti-military, anti-American coverage of Vietnam yore.
I think I spotted Neal floating on the surface of a local pond.
The Fifth Column
It really takes a strong stomach to watch the behavior of the "journalists" at the Centcom press briefings. This morning was no exception. Aside from the propagandists from enemy nations, the usual talking hairdos are positively revolting. Which reminds me of the recent Chuck Asay cartoon.

Top Ten Myths About the War in Iraq
James Dunnigan at StrategyPage debunks the blather. My fave:
4. The United States armed Saddam. This one grew over time, but when Iraq was on it's weapons spending spree from 1972 (when its oil revenue quadrupled) to 1990, the purchases were quite public and listed over $40 billion worth of arms sales. Russia was the largest supplier, with $25 billion. The US was the smallest, with $200,000. A similar myth, that the U.S. provided Iraq with chemical and biological weapons is equally off base. Iraq requested Anthrax samples from the US government, as do nations the world over, for the purpose of developing animal and human vaccines for local versions of Anthrax. Nerve gas doesn't require technical help, it's a variant of common insecticides. European nations sold Iraq the equipment to make poison gas.
Hit the link to read them all.
Al-Jihad Snooze
And speaking of the dung beetles at Al-Jazeera, those of you testing your network connections by pinging and undoubtedly noticed yesterday that they were wholly off the air. The domain names were listed as reserved, but no IP addresses were attached. Well, today they have IP addresses but are back to being hosed. It must suck to be an Jihad apologist. Poor Joanne Tucker - she gets to the big leagues in propaganda and it turns into fertilizer.
Saddam's thugs continue their Nazi impersonation
Reminiscent of the death throes of the Nazis in WW II:

GI's Killed with Hands in the Air:
Officials said yesterday that some of the dead Americans had tried to surrender with their hands in the air at one point.

Al Jazeera TV later aired film of the dead soldiers sprawled in a pool of blood.

At least four had been shot in the head - three in the forehead, apparently between the eyes, execution-style.
Saddam executes Our Boys:
SICKENING TV film showing two executed British soldiers lying in a dusty Iraqi street triggered outrage and tears last night.

The Arab station Al Jazeera broadcast pictures taken by Saddam Hussein’s Fedayeen militiamen minutes after they killed the pair, both Desert Rats.
Civilians Leave Basra:
US-led forces destroyed much of a column of Iraqi tanks and armoured personnel carriers trying to leave Basra on Wednesday night.
The Iraqi convoy, which was estimated at between 70 and 120 vehicles, came under fierce attack by US and British warplanes.
One television reporter with British marines south of Basra said there had been initial confusion over whether the Wednesday night convoy was a counter-offensive or a retreat.
He said that the pullout of the column seemed "suicidal".

The Commander of British forces in the Gulf, Air Marshal Brian Burridge, said Iraqi soldiers in Basra are being forced by Saddam's security forces to get into their tanks and attack British forces surrounding the city.

The troops involved, he said, appeared to have been coerced by Ba'ath party militias in the city to fight.

He said that there was evidence of "exemplar executions" being carried out. "They go to their houses and hold a gun to the heads of their families.

"These militias - probably the Ba'ath party militias - go through a neighbourhood, round up the existing soldiery, put them in their tanks and say 'go that way'.
Iraqi Soldiers Say It Was Fight or Die:
But the Iraqi private with a bullet wound in the back of his head suggested something unusually grim. Up and down the 200-mile stretch of desert where the American and British forces have advanced, one Iraqi prisoner after another has told captors a similar tale: that many Iraqi soldiers were fighting at gunpoint, threatened with death by tough loyalists of President Saddam Hussein.
Top U.S. official: Iraq has executed some POWs:
The Marine general said that what has surprised him most about the first week of fighting is the extent of war crimes carried out by the Iraqi regime. In addition to the execution of POWs, he said, Iraqis have used civilians as human shields, stored weapons in schools, set up command posts in hospitals and pretended to surrender only to open fire.

In one case, an Iraqi woman was hanged after she waved to coalition forces, Pace said.

"I've never seen anything like this," he said. "To do it so blatantly so early, not only is it a surprise, but to me it's disgusting."
I certainly hope we don't waste time with any UN sanctioned "war crimes" tribunal.
And speaking of the gilded crowd
Yesterday, things were looking up:

Actor Martin Sheen during a prayer vigil for peace at the Federal building in Los Angeles, Wednesday, March 26, 2003. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Do you think it will last?
Haute Couture Alert!
Over at Gweilo Diaries, Conrad keeps us au courant:
Hong Kong is in the grips of a mystery pneumonia bug, and the local populace has clearly become worried by the epidemic. Walking around the sidewalks and travelling on the subway in this frenetic city, one can now see a large proportion of the local populace wearing protective surgical masks to cover their faces. But some inhabitants of this city - which in the 1990s became internationally synonymous with conspicuous consumption, infamously outdoing even Manhattan and Beverly Hills in sheer showiness - have grasped the situation in their own hands and taken it as an excuse to go shopping.
Back at Louis Vuitton, a tai-tai who had bought two of the limited edition masks - presumably one for herself and one for her husband - wandered back into the store yesterday to say how much she loved her new mask and how jealous the other members of her lunch group were. Before speaking she of course had to unclasp the Louis Vuitton Connolly leather mask that she was wearing... and then reached down to unclasp the second Louis Vuitton Connolly leather mask that her pet poodle Benzie was wearing.
Kewl! Just think of what an improvement Barbra Streisand in a mask would be.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

War, Peace & Cable TV
From Ron Marr over at Right Wing News:
I'm certain those who fought in World War II, Korea or Vietnam, are perplexed by such ludicrous invective. What intelligent person expects a major military action, conducted in a large country known for extremely harsh conditions, against a murderous dictator who has been ensconced for decades, to be completed in hours or days? What could lead people to consider such a possibility?

Another simple answer....TV.
More by following the link.
Hoedown Alert!
The Curmudgeon has a snap of the Dixie Chicks in a casual moment.
Saddam has a weblog!
Who knew? An excerpt from Monday:
Once I emerge triumphant from the current brouhaha, I'm going to need a new cabinet. Most of the members of the old one are still buried in the rubble of my command bunker. And since it's obvious that it was a highly placed spy that gave away my location last Thursday morning, I'll have to execute not only the surviving cabinet members, but everyone else I know. Then I'll execute everyone they know, and then I'll execute everyone THEY know. According to my consultant Kevin Bacon, I should cover at least three degrees of separation.

Consequently, I remain on the lookout for new, potential cabinet ministers. Prior experience is not necessary, since I'll be making all the decisions myself. What is required, however, is a shared hatred of the United States, its system of government, and all that its flag represents. That's why I tuned in to the Academy Awards show last night. Where else can one find a greater concentration of America bashers than in Hollywood? Outside of Paris, I mean.

And I was not disappointed! The man who most caught my attention was Michael Moore when he won for best documentary. Okay, that's a stupid category, but I found his acceptance speech both moving and inspirational. He referred to Bush as a "fictional President" and called the current conflict a "fictional war." From where I'm cowering, it doesn't look TOO fictional at the moment, but it's the thought that counts. By the time he finished, I was openly weeping tears of joy. I don't normally show such emotion in front of my closest aids, but they'll soon be dead, so who cares?

When the time comes to rebuild Iraq, I shall name Mr. Moore my Minister of Propaganda. Of course, he will have to shave and get a haircut first.....
Today's Hoot!
It's early yet, but I am going with Jonah Goldberg at
I woke up this morning to hear "Today" host Katie Couric explain to her millions of viewers that Pentagon officials had terribly "miscalculated" in their plan to topple Saddam.

Recall that it was Couric who once declared of a news story, "When I got this assignment, I thought, `Whoa, slow news day!' But the importance of the sports bra to American women can't be overemphasized."
Perky little Katie - what a pip. And POS.
We have a nominee in the news organization category!
Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun - BBC's own man blasts his bosses over 'bias' (scroll down):
THE BBC was last night sensationally condemned for "one-sided" war coverage - by its own front line defence correspondent.

Paul Adams attacks the Beeb for misreporting the Allied advance in a blistering memo leaked to The Sun.

And he warned the BBC’s credibility is at risk for suggesting British troops are paying a "high price for small victories".

On Monday, he wrote from US Central Command in Qatar: "I was gobsmacked to hear, in a set of headlines today, that the coalition was suffering ‘significant casualties’. "

"This is simply NOT TRUE."
But it's a tough category with lots of competition.

Mr. Susan Sarandon Alert!
Regular readers may recall that Suzie's main squeeze, Tim Robbins, thinks he's a tough guy, despite being for "peace". Well Lloyd Grove reports the latest in Night of the Livid Celeb:
Minutes later, actor-activist Tim Robbins threatened us with bodily injury.
As for Robbins, we said hello to him in a crush of partygoers that included his life partner, Susan Sarandon (both of them had displayed their deep commitment to nonviolence by holding up the two-fingered sign of peace at the Academy Awards). Robbins flashed a smile and jovially shook our hand -- Bob Roberts at a campaign stop. But when we mentioned that we'd had the pleasure of talking recently with 79-year-old Lenora Tomalin -- conservative Republican, George W. Bush supporter and wry observer of her daughter Sarandon -- his expression turned cold.

"Wait. You're the one who wrote about Susan's mother?"

Robbins narrowed his eyes and pursed his lips -- the secretly murderous neighbor in "Arlington Road."

"You wanted to be divisive and you caused trouble in my family," he went on -- the unjustly imprisoned banker in "The Shawshank Redemption." He added that it was especially low to have quoted Tomalin's speculation that he and Sarandon had politically "brainwashed" her grandson Jack Henry.

"At least you got Jeb Bush to call her -- that was great," Robbins spat -- the bitterly cynical studio executive in "The Player." He moved within inches and said into our ear: "If you ever write about my family again, I will [bleeping] find you and I will [bleeping] hurt you."

Tim Robbins playing Tim Robbins at the Oscars.
C'mon Tim, you going to lock Lenora in a closet so that she can't go to Washington parties? Free Lenora!

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Hey, no SaddaMTV!
It's being reported on the broadcast networks, but the only web link I could find was Bombing hits Iraq TV; Goes off air:
Iraqi state television and another channel run by President Saddam Hussein's son were knocked off the air on Tuesday evening by coalition air raids on Baghdad, TV sources told AFP.
I've seen 15 reasons why it had not been hit previously, none of which I gave a fig for.

UPDATE: CBS is claiming it got hit with an E-Bomb but a somewhat weaker signal returned several hours later.
Welcome to the party, Toots!
Josef Federman in the Wall Street Journal keeps a straight face with Al-Jazeera Launches Site In English:
Al-Jazeera went live early yesterday with its English-language Web site -- and the Qatar-based satellite network immediately assumed a posture likely to provoke Western readers.

The site ( has promised to offer a different perspective than those of Western media and has stuck to its word. Its graphic photos of dead U.S. soldiers, pointed headlines and opinionated articles -- many of them without reporters' bylines -- will provide plenty of fodder for critics of the Middle Eastern news organization. The content is produced separately from its Arabic-language counterpart.
Managing Editor Joanne Tucker, a former BBC journalist who holds dual U.S.-British citizenship and speaks Arabic, has promised Western-style standards of journalism. She said she stands by all the articles but conceded that the site has to do more to clarify what is news and what is opinion.
Seeing as Joanne is from the BBC, don't expect much clarifying. But it is all moot anyhow since the site has been DOS'd into the Stone Age.

Hey, why not play Welcome Wagon and also help 'em check their connections? Open a command prompt and type ping -n 1000 and just let it cook in the background. It won't get you into the haX0r elite, but it feels good to extend an upright middle digit to those that deserve it.
Mommy, Daddy are we there yet?
The National Post:
The weekend news coverage offers a good example. According to analysts at Toronto's Mackenzie Institute, there has been more ground covered by the coalition in the first 100 hours of Operation Iraqi Freedom, with fewer casualties suffered and fewer prisoners of war yielded, than in the 100 hours, total, of the ground portion of Operation Desert Storm. Nearly a full division of coalition forces has already closed within artillery range of the Iraqi capital. Israel has not been drawn into the war. The rockets launched by Saddam Hussein were knocked out of the sky by Patriot missiles. Almost all of southern Iraq's oil wells have been captured intact.

In previous wars, such good news likely would have been the main story. But instead, the tiny tragedies that inevitably punctuate even the most successful operation of this scale became the big news of the day. So while the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division roared north on Sunday night, much of the world watched as U.S. Marines crouched behind a berm in the port city of Umm Qasr observing an Iraqi position 400 metres away. In military terms, the action was mundane: For 90 minutes, the Americans assessed who was in the building, then called in a fighter jet to bomb the stronghold. The engagement followed standard operating procedure, involved no allied casualties and was over in short order. But it was reported live to the world as a "setback." Apparently, that label now covers any operation that spans more than two commercial breaks.
Headed for a fall
Members of the Desert Rats, British Royal Fusiliers, drive their Warrior tank into a picture of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in Basra, Southern Iraq (AFP/Mark Richards)

If he isn't already enjoying a nice dirt nap.
Warranty repairs alert, comrade!
Nicole Winfield of the AP - U.S. Says Six Jamming Devices Destroyed:
Six satellite jamming devices, which Iraq was using to try to thwart American precision guided weapons, were destroyed and have had "no effect" on U.S. military operations, a U.S. general said Tuesday.

President Bush had called Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday to complain about the alleged sales of high-tech equipment, which could pose a threat to American troops. The Kremlin denied the allegations that Moscow had broken U.N. sanctions to sell such devices to Saddam Hussein's regime.

"We have noticed some attempts by the Iraqis to use a GPS jamming system that they obtained from another nation. We have destroyed all six of those jammers in the last two nights' airstrikes. I'm pleased to say they had no effect on us," said Air Force Maj. Gen. Victor Renuart.
I guess not all whores speak French.
Ping of Death Alert!
Peter Svensson of the AP amuses with Al-Jazeera Site Experiences Hack Attack:
Hackers attacked the Web site of Arab satellite television network Al-Jazeera on Tuesday, rendering it intermittently unavailable, the site's host said.

The newly launched English-language page, which went live Monday, was hardest hit in a bombardment of data packets known as a denial-of-service attack.
Much like Tom Daschle, I am "deeply saddened".
OK by me
New York Stock Exchange Bars Al Jazeera Reporter:
The New York Stock Exchange banned an al Jazeera reporter from its trading floor on Monday, saying it was restricting access to "responsible" networks...
Booting out the Jihadist apologists is just cleaning up the trash. But finding responsible networks may be quite a task. I spotted a CNN "reporter" last night interviewing the brother of one of the captured heliocopter crew and trying to coax him into some sort of antiwar statement. The newsdroid was flummoxed when none was forthcoming. Aside from the palpable bias, any news organization with half a clue knows that you do not publicize personal details of POW's because the Iragi thugs will use that against them.

And speaking of Jihadist apologists:
"We believe in freedom of speech and freedom of the media," Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told Reuters. "It (the ban) would set a bad precedent, merely because of which area of the world they cover."
Still playing the same old tune on their fascist banjos.

You ever notice that the wankers who whine the most about the 1st Amendment always ignore the first 5 words?
"We just work here"
Sandro Contenta reports for the Toronto Star on Special forces in Iraq's north:
When a U.S. Army special forces commando in full battle gear stands next to a skinny Kurdish militia fighter in a military uniform from a local market, there's no mistaking one for the other.

It's that stark contrast between an elite soldier and a substitute for real employment that led to one of the first independent sightings and contact with a U.S. special forces team in northern Iraq yesterday.
The steps of the single-storey building were crowded with the usual ragtag band of Kurdish militia. But two soldiers ? one on the roof, the other next to the militiamen ? had Uncle Sam written all over them.

They stood guard with R-14 compact assault rifles, flak jackets, hip pistols, camouflage uniforms and sunglasses. As two reporters approached, another commando in the team looked out from behind the back of the building, not too pleased at being discovered.

But the guard at the front was the picture of cool. Asked if he could be interviewed, he apologized, said his security duty made it impossible for him to talk, but offered to go find someone who might.

One of the building's front windows was opened, and inside were two U.S. commandos sifting through gear scattered on the floor, including an M-60 machinegun. One had U.S. ARMY stitched over the breast pocket of his uniform. They too refused to talk: "We just work here," said one.

Then, an agitated lieutenant from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) militia, which controls the eastern part of the Kurdish autonomous zone, arrived and asked the Star to leave.

"There are no Americans here," he insisted.
The Australian SAS drops by
SAS causes havoc behind lines
The SAS troops helped capture two crucial Iraqi air bases in the biggest and most daring mission in the regiment's history, it has been revealed.

The Australians joined 100 British SAS soldiers in a raid on two bases on Iraq's western border.

When the dust had cleared the Allies had suffered no casualties.

But defence spokesman Brigadier Mike Hannan confirmed they had killed dozens of Iraqis troops.

The SAS was involved in hand-to-hand fighting at one of the bases' terminals as they removed Iraqi troops guarding missile launchers.

Specifics of the operation were kept secret but officials did confirm they had found electronic equipment used to direct bio-chemical weapons. It is also believed they captured several hundred Iraqis.

The bases, codenamed H2 and H3, are on either side of the desert town of ar-Rutba, near the Jordanian border, 380km west of Baghdad.

They had to be captured for two vital reasons.

First, satellite pictures showed the Iraqis were moving missile launchers to the bases. Military planners feared they would be fired towards Israel in a repeat of Saddam Hussein's Scud attacks in 1991.

Second, the airfields will be essential in the battle for Baghdad.

They are now being used as a base for American Black Hawk and Apache helicopters which will provide close air support to armour closing in on the Iraqi capital.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Where's the remote? It's time for the cheese channel!
Reuters astounds with France considers international TV news channel:
France has asked media groups to draft proposals for a French-language international television news service like CNN, BBC World and al-Jazeera, officials said on Monday.

French authorities have been weighing up such a venture for some time, seeing it as a means of spreading French influence, but want to press ahead even more since U.S. and British troops went to war in Iraq against Paris's wishes.

"What's happening at the moment only proves how useful it would be to have a French-language international channel," said cabinet spokesman Jean-Francois Cope.
Report back when your CARE package of clues arrives, Jean-Francois. Hmm, wait a minute! I wonder who owns the rights to Jerry Lewis' films?
Today's Hoot!
Jonah Goldberg at The Corner got a letter:
Jonah -

On TV here in NYC Saturday, there was this great scene from the protest in the city. This 40-something hippie lady bust through the barricade and the cops tackle her hard to the ground and the cop says "Where you from" she says "Cleveland" With that he slams her head into the street and says "Welcome to New York." Man that scene alone was worth having the war.
Probably raised her IQ to nearly room temperature.
Some great good sense amongst the 24/7 news clamor
Ralph Peters has some calm advice in the NY Post in Winning Big:
In combat, the ideal leader is the man who remains calm and methodical under fire. Today's 24/7 broadcast news demands just the opposite: raised voices, an atmosphere of crisis and a rush to judgment.

After declaring victory on Friday and Saturday, a number of media outlets all but announced our defeat yesterday, treating the routine events of warfare as if they were disasters.


We're winning, the Iraqis are losing, and the American people have executive seats for what may prove to be the most successful military campaign in history.

I do recognize that the majority of our journalists are doing their best to cover this war accurately and fairly. But, with a few admirable exceptions, even seasoned reporters lack the perspective needed to judge the war's progress. Few have read military history. Even fewer have served in the military. They simply don't understand what they are seeing.

Every low-level firefight seems a great battle to them. Each pause in the advance is read as a worrisome delay. While they see friendly casualties up close, they rarely witness the devastation inflicted on our enemies. And when isolated groups of Iraqis do stand and fight, the journalists imply it means the Iraqi people are opposed to our intervention.
Much more rationality by following the link.

I remember when the first US astronauts landed on the moon, there was some initial delay back "at Houston" in pinpointing their exact landing spot. We were all thereupon treated to silly goose Walter Cronkite whipping out his own handy moon map on national TV and trying to tell the people at NASA where the landing had taken place. They were polite enough not to tell Wally to shove it.

It's entertaining for the televised newshawks to be in a constant frenzy, but there's a ton of chaff mixed in with the wheat.

It's Memorex
Iraqi TV has broadcast what was purported to be a "historic speech" by Saddam. The Corner has a good roundup of the various guesses as to whether it shows the Big Boy is still alive. Since he praised an Iraqi commander who has surrendered, opinion is trending toward him taking a nice dirt nap.
Ruh Oh!
'Huge' Suspected Chemical Weapons Plant Found in Iraq
The chemical plant is described as a "100-acre complex," surrounded by an electrical fence. The plant was also apparently camouflaged to avoid aerial photos being taken.

It is not yet known what chemicals were being produced at the plant.
Black Watch find cruise missiles in huge arms cache at heliport
One Al Harith, a long-range sea-skimming missile which could threaten allied warships in the Gulf, was on a stand awaiting the fitting of its rocket motor. Someone had drawn a shark's face on its warhead. Another was still in its crate in another bunker.

Both weapons had Russian Cyrillic characters stencilled on their sides and were dated 2002. A strict UN arms embargo on Iraq has been enforced since 1991.
Unlike the frenzied press, I'm in favor of giving the new crop of inspectors time to do their work. They have more important fish to fry right now.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Can you say skanky?
Tim Blair has a Photoshop challenge. Here's my entry:

Fat, loud, and stupid
Another clueless loser
Gerald Stone in the Age has a clever plan - Make Bush hear your voice: boycott the Oscars. Hmm, I was planning to. Tell me more.
The US, for all its military might, has a political system that makes it very vulnerable to protest campaigns that target any of its major industries. The entertainment industry is certainly among the most influential of those.

The Academy Awards broadcast is traditionally the most widely watched of all US TV shows. If there was clear evidence of a drop in ratings attributable to anti-war sentiment, it would send a symbolic message to the bosses of the big studios, networks and pop music companies.
Bwahahaha! Go Gerry Go!

Is Gerry allowed to play with sharp objects?

UPDATE: Tim Blair already had fun with this fool when the article first appeared earlier in the week.

UPDATE 2: I don't see Gerry in the crowd of protestors!

Hollyweird gets the finger
I hope the troops brought enough rope

U.S. Military Names Suspect in Kuwait Attack
The U.S. soldier suspected of the grenade attack on fellow soldiers in Kuwait this weekend has been identified as Army Sgt. Asan Akbar, a military spokesman said on Sunday.

U.S. Defeats Iraqis Near Southern City
Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks said about 10 Marines were killed in a faked surrender by Iraqi forces outside of An Nasiriyah. The Marines came under fire while preparing to accept what appeared to be surrendering Iraqis.

Al Jazeera Showing Captured US Troops
The fellow, I believe it was Sgt Reilly, was at first laying down, injured, there was blood on his shirt, his pants were unbuttoned, and he was holding his stomach. He didn´t want to speak, but the person from Iraqi news, lifted him up into a speaking position - okay, he basically forced him to speak, putting his hand on the fellows head, and then lifting him into a sitting position. Certainly not the type of journalist behaviour that one would expect, which make me think that this "journalist" might have been military and demanding that the fellow speak.
Fox News says that it appeared they were executed with shots to the head, but to tell you the truth I didn´t catch that. I believe, that´s because I was just so horrified by what I was seeing.

UPDATE: They´re reshowing the morgue scene - it´s totally disgusting, American soldiers laying on the ground, at least 10 that I could count, and indeed with shots to the head!

I hear there's lots of empty lamp posts in Baghdad and Hell isn't even half full.

A target rich environment
(Via Drudge) Dean Goodman of Reuters reports from LA - As Oscars Near, Hollywood Blasts Iraq War:
Hollywood launched a another strike against the Iraqi war on Saturday during a politically charged ceremony that could serve as a prelude for even more fireworks at the Academy Awards the next evening.

In a star-studded luncheon at the Independent Spirit Awards, the arthouse movie industry's version of the Oscars, celebrities blasted President Bush and the American-led war against Iraq.
The inane defending the insane. Zzzzzz.
Most outspoken was documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, the man behind the popular anti-gun expose "Bowling for Columbine," whose title refers to the Colorado high school where two students massacred 13 people in 1999.

"The lesson for the children of Columbine this week is that violence is an accepted means by which to solve a conflict," Moore told the 1,000 attendees gathered under a marquee on Santa Monica Beach ...
I wonder if they had doilies?

And if slug boy was there peddling his bloviations, it wasn't just "target rich", it was the mother lode.
The canonization of St. Rachel continues apace
Local Seattle station KOMO keeps us up to date:
Hundreds gathered in a campus gym to say farewell to peace activist and Evergreen College student, Rachel Corrie.
Yep, that "peace activist".
Hmmm, seems a tad hyper in her committment to "peace".
Corrie (sic) friends remembered her as a bright and compassionate woman who died helping others.
Unfortunately the "others" are murderous thugs.
"Rachel was the kind of person who stepped into your life and left a footprint" said long time friend, Briged Engstrom.
The reporter apparently couldn't spell "grease spot".
The Western Front
It doesn't get any airplay other than the announcement the other day that H2 and H3 had been captured, but some of the boys from Southern Pines have been having a hoedown with their friends from Australia and the UK. Peter Beaumont in the Observer:
The western desert is a flat land of compacted sand, sharp flints and pavements of limestone and basalt. Its occupants are a few Bedouin encampments and the occasional dirty towns that grew up around the pump stations on the now abandoned Baghdad-Haifa oil pipeline.

Now a road follows that pipeline, the main strategic route connecting Baghdad with Jordan to the west. And along this road a very different kind of war is being fought.

Last night these vast inhospitable plains, scoured by the wind and freezing at night, were the scene of the most secretive and least publicised fronts in the battle for Iraq: the war between small groups of US, UK and Australian Special Forces and the Iraqi troops stationed in this desert.