Saturday, April 12, 2003

Their family tree didn't fork!
I have previously made light of Saddam's tendency to keep the government of Iraq in the family, but this report on Saddam's love shack has:
Saddam's wife, Sajida Khairallah Telfah, is also his cousin. Together they had three daughters and two sons, Odai and Qusai.
I'd be tempted to ask how many generations that has been going on, but Saddam is reputed to be a bastard, among other things. But maybe it explains the kids.

Lots of other "intimate" details by following the links. Continuing from the first:
One of the airbrushed paintings depicted a topless blonde woman, with a green demon behind her, pointing a finger at a mythic hero. From the tip of her finger came a giant serpent, which had wrapped itself around the warrior.

Another showed a buxom woman chained to a barren desert mountain ledge, with a huge dragon diving down to kill her with sharpened talons.

The home's 1960s look - parodied in the series of "Austin Powers" spy spoofs - inspired a round of imitations from soldiers slogging door to door.

"Yeah, baaabeee," said Carter, doing his best imitation of actor Mike Myers' character.

"Shagadelic," another soldier shouted.

Indeed, the carpet was navy blue shag.
I also like him eating off china stolen from the Kuwaiti royal family.
Grease spots on the highway of life
Con Coughlin has an interesting assessment in the Telegraph - This was the 'tip' moment that coalition commanders had been waiting for:
Even if Saddam did manage to escape the blast, the attack nevertheless accomplished the aims of the CentCom planners. Within 24 hours of the attack being carried out, what remained of Saddam's Ba'athist infrastructure in Baghdad had simply disappeared. Not even Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, Saddam's indefatigable information minister, bothered to show up to make his Alice in Wonderland proclamations that no such bombing raid had ever taken place, and even if it had, none of the Ba'athist leadership, and certainly not Saddam, would have come to any grief.

This was the "tip" moment that coalition commanders had been waiting for, the moment when a monolithic dictatorship suddenly implodes. The same had happened the previous week in Basra where a carefully targeted bombing raid on the residence of Ali Hassan al-Majid, or "Chemical Ali", Saddam's first cousin and the man responsible for administering the Ba'athist infrastructure in Iraq's second city, had resulted in Ba'athists renouncing control of the city.

In Basra the Ba'athist collapse was predicated by the fact that Chemical Ali had almost certainly died in the SAS-sponsored airstrikes (the devastation of his home was such that it may be some weeks before forensic experts have sufficient material upon which to conduct conclusive DNA tests).

The Ba'athist collapse in Baghdad followed the same pattern. Apart from Saddam and his immediate circle, an estimated 50 senior Ba'athist officials are believed to have been inside the al-Mansour complex, including Sahhaf and Tariq Aziz, Saddam's long-serving deputy prime minister. As nothing has been heard of either man since the bombs hit their target, intelligence officials are now coming to the conclusion that their remains lie buried beneath the tons of concrete rubble that now mark the site.
That's the biz, sweethearts.
Today's Hoot!
Mohammed's Book of Cheerfulness from Oliver Pritchett in the Telegraph:
This column is immensely proud to announce that, after a fierce struggle, it has acquired the world serial rights to The Little Book of Cheerfulness, written by the Iraqi information minister, Mohammed Saeed al Sahhaf, who has demonstrated over the past couple of weeks the amazing power of positive thinking.

As the following extracts show, this book will help you deal with the stress of everyday living and to conquer the little problems which may beset you:

It is a base falsehood that your girlfriend has dumped you. It is my feeling that the tongues of the rapscallions who have suggested this will explode and their socks will billow forth smoke. I am able to inform you categorically that when she told you she did not want to see you any more this was a pathetic ruse to lead you on. In any case, you are surrounded by a thousand thousand girlfriends who are more comely than the one who has not dumped you. Those who claim they have seen her in the arms of another are deluded.

History will prove that dandruff does not exist and never has existed. Rumours of dandruff are spread to undermine your morale and I am in a position to state that they will fail miserably.
By the way, I get as big a laugh out of "Baghdad Bob" as anyone, but it is worthwhile to remember that he's a nasty little thug:
He was studying to be an English teacher when he got his start in politics in 1963 by joining a violent group led by Mr. Saddam that targeted opponents of the Baath party. After a 1963 coup, he revealed the whereabouts of his brother-in-law, an army general and the country's military prosecutor, who was then killed by Baath Party militias. By handing over his relative, Mr. al-Sahhaf proved his loyalty to the Baath party.

The Baathist regime was overthrown in another coup the same year, but the party came back five years later. Mr. al-Sahhaf was put in charge of securing the radio and television stations and then put at the helm of both. He was known for his temper, even kicking TV and radio employees who displeased him.
He'd be even funnier with an M16 barrel up his butt.
Look what was under the rock!
David Harrison in the Telegraph reports Revealed: Russia spied on Blair for Saddam. And that's just for starters.
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 documents detailing the extent of the links between Russia and Saddam were obtained from the heavily bombed headquarters of the Iraqi intelligence service in Baghdad yesterday.
Ole Pooty Poot has some 'splaining to do.
Pick a card, any card
From Yahoo and times past:

Bye byeVietnam Death Card
The Usual Idiots
Moonbat Nancy Peolosi was delivered of a high pitched whine summarized by Chris Muir:

Baghdad Nancy

but it wasn't enough for her wackier constituents like uber leftist Medea Benjamin. It must suck to be a San Francisco Stalinist, er Democrat. Remember Nan, when you're part of the proletarian revolution, it's always time for a purge!

Friday, April 11, 2003

Mark your social calendars!
The money changers are having a soiree at the temple! Russia, France, Germany Open Iraq Talks. It promises to be a festive occasion!

The Three Stooges of Europe

(Graphic from Registered)
Today's Hoot!
It's early yet, but I'm rooting for William Grim at the Iconoclast who provides Saddam at the Bat:
The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Baghdad nine that day,
The score stood ninety-five to one, with but one inning more to play.

And then when Basra died at first, and Kirkuk did the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of Hussein.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair.
The rest clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast.
They thought, "if only Saddam could but get a whack at that.
We'd put up even money now, with Saddam at the bat."

But Blix preceded Saddam, as did also Villepin;
and the former was a hoodoo, while the latter not quite a man.

So upon that stricken multitude, grim melancholy sat;
for there seemed but little chance of Saddam getting to the bat.

But Blix let drive a single, to the wonderment of all.
And Villepin, the much despised, did all he could to stall.

And when the dust had lifted,
and men saw what had occurred,
there was Blix safe in Stockholm and Villepin giving us the bird.

Then from five thousand diplomats and more rose a yell of enormous heft;
it rumbled through the UN, it rattled on the Left;

it pounded through on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat;
for Saddam, mighty Saddam, was advancing to the bat.
Get the whole rendition by following the link.
So much pond scum, so little time
While we've been focusing one brutal thug, another one close to home has been up to his old tricks as the AP reported earlier this week in Cuban dissidents ordered to prison:
HAVANA -- Fidel Castro's government dealt a crippling blow to Cuba's opposition movement Monday, sentencing peaceful activists, journalists and an economist to up to 27 years in prison for allegedly collaborating with U.S. diplomats to undermine the socialist state.

Prosecutors sought life sentences for the dissidents, who were among 80 facing closed trials that began Thursday.

... journalists were being punished for having such books as Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, and others written by Groucho Marx and Stephen King.
And surprise, surprise, surprise - the useful idiots are forming up into a cloud around Castro's ass as Mickey Kaus reveals in La Fiesta de la Gulag:
Why are a group of high-powered "New York-based VIPs" -- as reported in A.L. Bardach's Newsweek International "Global Buzz" column -- joining Yoko Ono in traveling to Cuba to meet with Fidel Castro in the middle of Castro's repressive campaign to throw scores of dissidents in prison? ... It's one thing to go to visit Cuba. It's another to go now, when Castro will use the publicity as cover for his anti-democracy drive. It's especially ironic that press and publishing executives are paying an apparent premium to meet with a man who is busy jailing journalists and writers for being journalists and writers. (The trip's cost, -- a reported $6,500 per person -- is inexplicable, unless you consider that Ono's presence guarantees an audience with Fidel.)
On the other hand, time spent in proximity with Yoko is likely to make one contemplate suicide.
Sorry, but I don't get it
Recently we were all treated to a journalism ethics whine because a reporter, who was also a surgeon, volunteered to perform emergency brain surgery on a child in Iraq. Now we have Eason Jordan, the chief news executive at CNN, telling us in the NY Times about The News We Kept to Ourselves:
Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to lobby the government to keep CNN's Baghdad bureau open and to arrange interviews with Iraqi leaders. Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard ? awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff.

For example, in the mid-1990's one of our Iraqi cameramen was abducted. For weeks he was beaten and subjected to electroshock torture in the basement of a secret police headquarters because he refused to confirm the government's ludicrous suspicion that I was the Central Intelligence Agency's Iraq station chief. CNN had been in Baghdad long enough to know that telling the world about the torture of one of its employees would almost certainly have gotten him killed and put his family and co-workers at grave risk.
Lots more in a similar vein. And the closer:
I felt awful having these stories bottled up inside me. Now that Saddam Hussein's regime is gone, I suspect we will hear many, many more gut-wrenching tales from Iraqis about the decades of torment. At last, these stories can be told freely.
So why didn't they just shut the damn Baghdad bureau?

Can someone please parse for me the logic of the journalistic ethics involved here? Bad: neurosurgeon reporter uses medical training to try to save the life of a 2 year old child. Good: news organization allows itself to be terrorized and thereby "guided" in the stories it reports by a bunch of brutal thugs.

Then there are the flies who have made careers out of hovering around the asses of Saddam and his ilk. How long do we have to wait to hear the "gut-wrenching tales" about Peter Arnett and Robert Fisk?

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Today's Hoot!
From Juan Gato:
Iraqi looters carted off bottles of wine and whisky, guns and paintings of half-naked women on Thursday from the luxury home of Uday
We must have had the same decorator.

Even Saddam complains about blogspot!
From Saddam's Cyber Palace:
The fool infidels at (aka continue to vex me. They can not or will not fix their systems. They have had longstanding problems with the formatting of their archives, problems that they are taking their time to fix. I even paid them money (US dollars, no less) to upgrade the site because I believed in their promise that the additional money would fix the problem. Those promises turned out to be empty falsehoods.The only solution, which is an unsatisfactory one, is to reset my blog's timezone to PST.

Well, that's stupid. I'm not in the blasted PST; I am in Baghdad.... Um, I mean, I'm somewhere within a 200 mile radius of Baghdad where evil bloodsucking villianous invaders can not find me. And let us face the unpleasant truth together: If I, a world renown mass-murdering bloodthirsty homicidal maniac of a despot can not get satisfaction from these people, what chance do YOU, a meaningless speck in this vast universe of ours, have? None, I dare say.

On the other hand, my hero Micheal Moore is in the PST, so perhaps this isn't all bad after all.

Nonetheless, I have reset my site to fix this unholy satanic problem. Hopefully this half-a*s solution is only a temporary one.

If you, dear reader, want to start a blog of your own, I suggest you find someone OTHER than to host it. They have no scruples about lying to you, ignoring your inquiries, and deceiving you, hiding their weapons of mass confusion, and ramming hot iron rods up your orifices.

Hmmm.... Now that I think about it, we have a lot in common.
Damn, I just checked MY archives and they're scrod too! (It's the pluperfect subjunctive.)
And speaking of "Ruh Oh!"
I neglected to mention this from an item I posted yesterday:
Across town, however, a Marines tank division had other priorities. At 3.10pm four Abrams tanks passed The Times car heading for the dead centre of town, fanning out across highway junctions as Humvees screamed to a halt and scanned the streets ahead as they waited for the main column to catch up.

"Two guys in front, see, see," shouted Corporal Kenneth Hicks, 21, from Eufaula, Alabama, staring through his binoculars at a red estate car.

"Got it," came the gunner’s reply. "Light car. Red car. Red Shaggy wagon."

"Shaggy wagon?"

"Scooby Doos, man. You never seen Scooby Doo?"
Stuff like this makes me feel rather old.
Ruh Oh!
AFP reports German embassy, French cultural centre in Baghdad sacked by looters:
The German embassy and the French cultural centre in Baghdad were sacked by looters Thursday, an AFP photographer witnessed.

The embassy in Karada Street and the cultural centre in Abu Nawwas Street, both in central Baghdad, were entered by dozens of people who set about seizing everything they could find.

The looters, including whole families, poured into the central courtyard of the embassy shortly after midday (0800 GMT), coming in cars and even on horseback.

They took away furniture, refrigerators, video machines and even the strip lighting.
Don't worry, I'm sure the Euroweenies will tack it on the bottom of the tab for armaments.
Christopher Hitchens sends up the Saddamites in Slate
So I'm glad to extend the hand of friendship to my former antagonists and to begin the long healing process. Perhaps one might start by meeting another of their demands and lifting the sanctions? Now the inspectors are well and truly in, there's no further need for an embargo. I noticed that Kofi Annan this week announced that the Iraqi people should be the ones to decide their own government and future. I don't mind that he never said this before: It's enough that he says it now.
But these are mere quibbles. We should celebrate our common ground as well as the gorgeous mosaic of our diversity. The next mass mobilization called by International ANSWER and the stop-the-war coalition is only a few days away. I already have my calendar ringed for the date. This time, I am really going to be there. It is not a time to keep silent. Let our voices be heard. All of this has been done in my name, and I feel like bearing witness.
Some interesting items from the Telegraph
Propaganda machine flees US marines:
The manager of the Palestine hotel put on his best suit and a broad smile and crossed his parking lot to meet the Americans. "Happy to see you," he said to an approaching group of soldiers.

Cradling their M16s and casting wary glances around them, the marines had just emerged from their armoured vehicles in front of the hotel in the middle of Baghdad. They looked taken aback by the strange welcoming committee.
Yesterday morning, the Iraqi press office in the hotel's former souvenir shop was empty. The large tables from which the official guides would oversee the journalists were empty. The last translators seemed unsettled by the absence of orders, like all the hotel staff. The minister's cashier, whose job was to take $225 a day from the journalists, had disappeared with a large sports bag over his shoulder.
$225 per day per journalist? There's a tidy little racket. Hmm, looks like the cashier has a well funded retirement plan.

'Bush nice, Saddam not':
On the top floor of the Transport and Communications Ministry the blaze spat glowing flames over a smiling portrait of Saddam Hussein.

Indifferent to the burning debris that fell from the top of the building, a queue of joyous looters took away everything they could carry. Children passed with neon lights. Shi'ite women, cloaked in black veils, piled furniture, chairs and air conditioning units on wheelbarrows and in their arms. Men carried away computer screens, giving thumbs-up signs. "Television, good. Bush, good." they grinned, without dropping their booty.
"Before I start telling you about life under Saddam, I'm going to wait for proof that he's dead," said Jassem, an engineer. "And even if I get it, I'm going to wait a little longer."
The UN sponsored "end" of the 1991 war has bred careful people - can't blame 'em.

And finally from the editors - Who got it right and who got it wrong? Don't worry, those who got it wrong won't be ashamed. But I wonder whether "Siege of Baghdad" Bobby Fisk used up his 25 rolls of Charmin? The arrival of the marines outside his hotel must have been good for a couple of them at least.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

About the flag on the statue's head
Stephen Farrell in the UK Times has the following in his Victory in the 21-day war:
"YANKEE bastard," yelled the young British peacenik at the first American tank to roll up to the Palestine Hotel. "Go home."

She picked a man who had waited for 576 days to give his answer. Marine First Lieutenant Tim McLaughlin leant from the turret of his Abrams tank - nickamed "Satan’s Right Hand" - and screamed back: "I was at the Pentagon September 11. My co-workers died. I don’t give a f***."

Lieutenant McLaughlin had with him a Stars and Stripes that he had been given at the Pentagon that fateful day. In Baghdad’s Paradise Square, he handed the flag to Corporal Edward Chin, who climbed a giant statue of Saddam and draped it over the deposed dictator’s head.

It was there only briefly; the gesture raised hardly a cheer from the gathering crowd and a black, white and red Iraqi flag quickly replaced it as a scarf around the statue’s neck. That, too, was removed to make way for the winch that would bring down the hated figure.
More on the Lieutenant and the situation in Baghdad by following the link.

And I would give the same answer as Lieutenant McLaughlin to the media whiners who have been carping about it all day.

UPDATE: Info on Corporal Edward Chin in N.Y. Family Watched As Marine Hung Flag.
Unhappy Campers Alert!
Donna Abu-Nasr at the AP provides Arabs Shocked, Relieved at Baghdad's Fall. It's basically "man in the Arab Street" stuff, but it includes:
"We discovered that all what the (Iraqi) information minister was saying was all lies," said Ali Hassan, a government employee in Cairo, Egypt. "Now no one believes Al-Jazeera anymore."
Speaking of Al-Jihad, Fox News reported this evening that Iraqis chased two of their reporters out of Basra. Looks like hard times in the propaganda biz.

Baghdad Bob needs a new gig
Paging the Axis of Weasels
From Jeff Jarvis:
Bluff calling
Sen. John McCain said on FoxNews that if the French and Germans care about Iraq's future, he suggests they forgive Iraq's debts to them -- especially since most of the debt was run up buying weapons.
I 'm sure they're rushing to the phone on that one. Just like Kofi is dying to hand over the billions the UN has banked under the Iraqi "Oil for Food" Program.
Rats Leaving the Ship Alert!
The AP reports Iraqi Embassy in Brazil Burns Documents:
BRASILIA, Brazil - Iraqi Embassy employees in Brasilia started burning documents Wednesday after TV stations broadcast images of a Saddam Hussein statue being toppled in Baghdad, police said.

Police said they could see men outside the embassy burning boxes and large quantities of paper.

"There were some workers who took papers from the offices to the garden to burn them," said police Col. Abinor Deilvane, whose unit protects embassies in the Brazilian capital.
An embassy official who said he was the secretary of Iraqi Ambassador Jarallah Alobaidy denied documents were being destroyed.

"It's all lies," said the official, Abdu Saif. "We are only burning garbage and recently cut grass."
I wonder if Abdu is related to "Baghdad Bob"?
News you can lose
Gainful employment prevented much blogging today, but I did get to see the statue fall, and there was no shortage of blogging of the events from the good folks listed over on the side bar. But, as always, some events get overlooked:

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

"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.

"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.
Still hitting the magic mushrooms, eh Janie?

April 9, 1812 GMT (and also 2011 GMT), Stratfor breathlessly reports:
Stratfor has received an unconfirmed report, citing sources in Damascus, that Russian President Vladimir Putin has brokered a deal with U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice, whereby Saddam Hussein will surrender Baghdad without resistance. Others allegedly involved in the deal include Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri Hadithi, Russian ambassadors in Damascus and Baghdad, and Iraqi ambassadors in Moscow and Damascus. French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder also reportedly know of the deal. We emphasize that we have no confirmation of this, and will pursue the matter with other sources.
Close, but no cigar fellers! Actually they all dropped by the Country Store and we settled it while passing around a jar of corn squeezings.

By the way, I usually don't mention Stratfor, since their stuff is often more DEBKAesque than DEBKA (just like the above), but I see that there has been quite a flurry over the Agonist's plagiarism of their subscription service material. And all along I thought he was just pulling it out of his hindquarters and putting a leftwing spin on it!

Arab Nations Formally Request General Assembly Meeting on Iraq:
Arab nations on Tuesday requested a U.N. General Assembly meeting on the war in Iraq, hoping to win approval for a resolution calling for a cease-fire.

The assembly's General Committee will meet Friday morning to consider the request, assembly spokesman Richard Sydenham said.
The party will still be over on Friday.

Today's Hoot!
From today's Iraq thread on Free Republic, SaucyCranberry observes:
I have CNN Int'l which is showing the Statue feed--they just panned into a group holding a banner that they *thought* said "Go Home USA", but when the feed showed the banner said "GO HOME HUMAN SHIELDS USA WANKERS" the anchors shut up and the camera panned back out to the crowd and that was quickly shut up.
I'm looking at the banner now on the NTV feed.

UPDATE: Wait! It gets better - from poster Howlin:
Greg Kelly: Supplies from UNICEF found at Uday's house

OMG.......he took the Halloween money??????
UPDATE 2: Donald Sensing has a screen capture of the "wanker banner". I heard that the Iraqis had liberated it from some "human shields" and "improved" it, but I don't have a link. There certainly were some human shields quartered at the hotel and they showed up briefly to castigate the Marines.
They received a warm welcome -- except from one European woman, who had come to Baghdad as a human shield.

"Children killers!" she yelled at a U.S. tank commander.
Hmm, their visit to Iraq hasn't improved their IQ's.
Bagcam Alert!
US tanks on the roundabout in front of the Palestine Hotel. Here's a link for NTV (Real format) - there are other choices.
And speaking of the Bagcam
Somethings's changed but I can't figure out what!

Baghdad beforeBaghdad after

(Hat tip: debg on Free Republic)
Dang, the party has already started!
The long oppressed citizens of Baghdad are having a hoedown:
They paused only to show off their booty to the cameras and shout "Thank you Mr. Bush."

Then they rushed back to strip the abandoned ministries of President Saddam Hussein of anything of value. And there wasn't much.

One looter staggered under the weight of an ornamental vase half his height. Another emerged from the Ministry of Irrigation with a huge bouquet of plastic flowers.
Well, yeehaw!
"If you only knew what this guy did to Iraq! He killed our youth, killed millions of people," said one looter.

"No to Saddam. Thank you Mr. Bush," said an old man.

Younger men piled office chairs, tables and boxes into the back of pick-up trucks. Others emerged from a depot rolling yellow tyres.

Crowds later looted government food stores used to dole out state rations and buildings belonging to Saddam's Baath Party.

It was not only the symbols of Saddam's iron rule of Iraq that were ransacked. Iraqis stormed a United Nations compound and drove off in U.N. marked vehicles and with office equipment.
Depends on your point of view I guess. I'd say the United Nations was also a symbol of Saddam's iron rule.

So what's the spin? Although "Baghdad Bob and The Minders" didn't show up for duty today at the Palestine Hotel, some of their friends were still about:
The only shooting in the city center was from Iraqi paramilitaries firing sporadically at U.S. forces across the river.

The firing came from around the Palestine Hotel, home to many foreign journalists, but the U.S. military did not return fire.
And Saddam's friends inside the hotel piped up with today's talking points. Newshawk Lindsay Hilsum was spotted on the Bagcam reporting back to London that there was anarchy and a breakdown in law and order. Well, now there's a blooming shock!

This particular whine has been going on for a few days now - I even heard one bozo bemoaning the troops staying in Saddam's palaces as desecration of Iraq's "national treasures." Oh, Lindsay also shared with us that her minder from the Ministry of Disinformation was really a sweet guy. I'd say Stockholm Syndrome, but suspect it is worse than that.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

How wacky is this?
Michael Wilson in the NY Times - Marines Ponder Reports of Iraqis' Premature Surrender:
WITH MARINE TASK FORCE TARAWA, west of Amara, Iraq, April 8 ? If enemy troops decided to give up, but there was no opposing force to surrender to, did it really happen?

A group of Marine battalions from Task Force Tarawa swung east today toward Amara, near the Iranian border, to confront the 10th Armored Division of the Iraqi Army and determine whether it intended to surrender.

But on the initial approach to the city, there was no Iraqi division to be found.

"Apparently the 10th Armored capitulated yesterday, but they didn't have anybody to capitulate to," Lt. Col. Glenn Starnes of a Marine artillery battalion said. "The locals around there are saying they stacked their weapons, parked their vehicles and walked away. Right now, there is no enemy that we know of."
Of course there's this too (hat tip: The Command Post) from Juan Tomayo for Knight-Ridder - Iraqi military commanders unaware of location of U.S. troops:
Maj. Gen. Sufian al Tikriti left Baghdad on Sunday in a white Toyota sedan, in uniform and alone except for a chauffeur.

Just outside the city, the Republican Guard general came upon a Marine Corps roadblock, where he died.

His sudden death, and a great deal of other evidence, suggests how little Iraq's military knows about the whereabouts and movements of the U.S. and British soldiers who invaded their country three weeks ago.

"I think they are basically clueless," said a senior officer of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (IMEF).
But then there are the rabid thugs and terrorists Saddam has been supporting for years. John Keegan provides a fine analysis of the oddities of Saddam's armed forces.
Favorite Moments Alert!
Rick Brookhiser at The Corner:
A favorite moment of mine is the exchange -- although that's not quite the right word -- that occurred when Geoffrey Hoon, explaining the situation in the House of Commons last week, said that 'Umm Qasr is a city similar to Southampton...."

Getting word of this, a British soldier fighting for Umm Qasr felt he had to disagree: "There's no beer, no prostitutes, and people are shooting at us. It's more like Portsmouth."
I Sat on Saddam's Throne!
Not me but the Sun's Terry Richards:
I JOINED British troops yesterday as they stormed Saddam Hussein’s palace in Basra - and sat on the despot’s golden throne.
Wait for it...
The garish loo, painted in gold leaf, was in one of the 18 marble bathroom suites we found in the palace.

Everywhere you looked there was gold. The taps had tags proclaiming they were 24-carat gold. It even had a gold-plated loo brush.

It felt strange to perch there, imagining who may have sat in the same spot in the past.
Geez Terry, you should have called your Mom first before sitting on a strange loo! (See the post immediately below.)

Photos by following the link.
Today's Hoot!
(Via Best of the Web) Josie Loza in the Omaha World-Herald - Son calls mom in Nebraska from Saddam's bathroom
"He told me that he was going to wash his hair and brush his teeth in Saddam's private bathroom," Gloria Presnell said. "The only thing I could say to him was, 'I hope you use your own toothbrush.'"
AFP reports Jailed Iraqi children run free as marines roll into Baghdad suburbs:
BAGHDAD (AFP) - More than 100 children held in a prison celebrated their freedom as US marines rolled into northeast Baghdad amid chaotic scenes which saw civilians loot weapons from an army compound, a US officer said.

Around 150 children spilled out of the jail after the gates were opened as a US military Humvee vehicle approached, Lieutenant Colonel Fred Padilla told an AFP correspondent travelling with the Marines 5th Regiment.

"Hundreds of kids were swarming us and kissing us," Padilla said.

"There were parents running up, so happy to have their kids back."

"The children had been imprisoned because they had not joined the youth branch of the Baath party," he alleged. "Some of these kids had been in there for five years."

The children, who were wearing threadbare clothes and looked under-nourished, walked on the streets crossing their hands as if to mimic handcuffs, before giving the thumbs up sign and shouting their thanks.
Don't worry Saddam, we'll put it on your tab. But payback's a bitch.
Some people don't get it
Several journalists were killed or wounded in the fighting in Baghdad and predictably the press is up in arms. Al-Jazeera claims they are being specifically targeted and at this morning's CENTCOM briefing, a questioner wanted to know how CENTCOM was going to guarantee the safety of the press. I don't quite know how to say this but: you're in a WAR ZONE, morons. There aren't any guarantees. And you shouldn't be hanging around the streets or on the 15th floor of a hotel in a war zone without the expectation that some harm might ensue.

The top prize for idiocy, however, goes to a clip running on Reuters' raw video feed (click the Hotel Blast link). After you get past the airplane shots, there is someone holding up their baby to look out the window of a Baghdad high rise (maybe even the hotel) and then propping the kid up in an open window ala Michael Jackson.

UPDATE: The video clip is scrolling down the Reuters list - you have to click the More button on the upper left to get to the "Hotel Blast" link.
It's rerun season already!
Overnight Saddam and his pals were once again targeted with a bunker buster strike as they had a soiree near a Baghdad restaurant. No word on finger bowls. Meanwhile there is still speculation on whether Chemical Ali is toast:
Until they do a DNA, I'm not going to speculate," said an exasperated Col. Larry Brown, operations chief for the Marines in Iraq. "The guy has been like Freddy Krueger -- we've killed him five times already."
and the AP leads with its chin in Purported bin Laden Tape Urges Attacks:
The tape was obtained by The Associated Press from an Algerian national, identified only as Aadil, who said he had slipped across the border from Afghanistan, where the bin Laden tape was apparently recorded.
My accent isn't so good, but maybe I could start selling tapes on eBay.

Monday, April 07, 2003

Good question
Colin Brazier of Sky News in Golden luxury amid the poverty:
As of last night, the airport is once again receiving flights but it remains a risky business to fly here. The first incoming flight, organised by the CIA, was welcomed with desultory bursts of anti-aircraft fire. Half-a-dozen Iraqi artillery shells have hit over the past 24 hours.

But things are changing and, as the days pass, minds are changing too.

A captured Iraqi colonel being held in one of the hangars listened in astonishment as his information minister praised Republican Guard soldiers for recapturing the airport.

He looked at his captors and, as he realised that what he had heard was palpably untrue, his eye filled with tears. Turning to a translator, he asked: "How long have they been lying like this?"

They're back!
Actually, they never left, but I've been giving the Euroweenies a rest lately. However Ananova provides a fish in a barrel - Scientists urge people to stop using English terms:
German scientists are telling the public to stop using words derived from English and use French terms instead.

Armin Burkhardt, who heads the working group on language in politics, calls the project a way of "peaceful linguistic protest".

He is a professor at the German department at Magdeburg University.

In an appeal published by the committee, Burkhardt suggests Germans should buy billets not tickets, go on a rendezvous instead of a date and agree by saying d'accord rather than okay.

He is also calling for "formidable" to replace "cool" and "bonvivant" to replace "playboy".

French expressions have long been part of German, whereas most English expressions only entered the language after World War II.

The group lists about 30 French replacements for English expressions.

Yet, Burkhardt insists the project isn't directed against English-speaking countries.

"But it is meant to show that the political line of the French president and the German chancellor on Iraq have the support of the majority of the public."
D'accord, Armin. That's formidable! But what's the French for "Bite me"?
Who knew?
Iraqi Ambassador to the Arab League, Mohsen Khalil, gives us an update:
"Iraq has now already achieved victory - apart from some technicalities."
Here's a tip, Mohsen. Down at the unemployment office, don't look for a gig in rocket science.
More roaches
AFP reports US marines discover "PLF faction's bomb-making facility" in Iraq:
NEAR BAGHDAD, April 7 (AFP) - US Marines in Iraq have discovered bomb-making facilities at a facility described as a training camp operated by the a faction of the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), a military spokesman said Monday.

Bomb-making facilities, chemicals, mortars, gas masks and AK-47s were found inside the 20-building complex to the east of Baghdad, said Public Affairs Officer Corporal John Hoellwarth.

The complex, which was the size of a battalion headquarters, featured pictures of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, PLF faction leader Abu Abbas and the PLF's flag, Hoellwarth added.

Other photos included pictures of Abu Abbas posing with a brigadier general from Saddam's Republican Guard inside the camp.
In case you don't remember - PLF "1st Lieutenant" Ahmed Walid Raguib al-Baz was killed in Baghdad, "while confronting the treacherous US air bombardment on Iraq". Translation: he got caught in the rubble from the first strike on Saddam's bunker
Followers of Abu Abbas carried the deadly attack in 1985 on the cruise ship Achille Lauro, but renounced terrorism after the 1993 Oslo peace accords between Israel and Palestinians.
Oh yeah, I believe that. Sounds like they were just simple goat botherers.
Look who's checked in at the roach motel
Jane Perlez at the NY Times in U.S. Commanders Say 3 Battalions Will Stay in Iraqi Capital:
At one of the palaces, half a dozen Syrian soldiers were found, one of them hiding in a refrigerator, military officials said. The Republican Guards responsible for the security of the palace had fled.
And Caroline Glick in the Jerusalem Post - Palestinian, Jordanian gunmen fighting in Baghdad:
The US Army's 3rd infantry division, 2-7 Mechanized Infantry Brigade, is involved in a fierce battle with Palestinian and Jordanian gunmen in the industrial area of southern Baghdad.
Military sources are saying that they know from prisoners of war that the Palestinian and Jordanian fighters are attempting to reorganize Iraqi resistance in Baghdad.
Going downtown
Well it was a hot time in the old town last night as Bruce Plante illustrates:

Hi Mom!

Inveterate Bagcam watchers, waiting for "Bazookas" Lara Logan to provide the latest Saddam Spin, got to see A-10's flying over Baghdad and a impromptu Disinformation Minister press conference on the roof of the Palestine hotel complete with a gargage truck pep rally in the traffic circle outside. Embedded reporter Greg Kelly of Fox News once again had stunning video of the operation.

Down south the British took Basra after playing the damn bagpipes and confirmed that Chemical Ali is now a grease spot on the highway of life. Couldn't have happened to a nicer thug.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

It's the lads again
Nicholas Horrock of UPI has an article - Feature: Odyssey of a human shield - that's filled with predictable blather from a "human shield" doing the Baghdad bugout to Jordan with some of his like-minded chums. But I liked one paragraph:
They were roaring down the highway to Amman when they were stopped by a group long-haired, armed men in desert uniforms. They all sat frightened in the bus until one shield, a woman from Australia, jumped up and ran out to talk to the soldiers. He could hear her say "G'day." She had seen the patches. They were Australian special operations soldiers.
Reuters reporter Nadim Ladki also hit the road to Jordan and provides a travelogue. It has the usual Reuters slant, but I found the following of interest:
About 50 miles farther on, things changed. There was an Iraqi military position at the side of the road but it was now manned by coalition special forces. From that point on, anything that looked like it was Iraqi military, wasn't.

There were two checkpoints, at the town of Rutba, with some 20 vehicles and heavy machine guns set up.

My car was stopped by two Arabs who said they were Iraqi forces. But their accent wasn't Iraqi. They asked me to drive ahead 130 feet where there were coalition forces.

One man was wearing a cap with a British flag on it. He asked me in Arabic if he could look into the car. I asked them where they were from. They didn't say, but I'm almost sure they were American, British or Australian.

I asked them what was happening in Rutba. They said there were remnants of Iraqi forces, but they were chasing them out. We chatted. They seemed very relaxed.
Sounds like the plot for a romance novel!
Olga Craig in the Telegraph - Who the **** are you, asked the man from special forces:
As a greeting, it was neither conventional nor civilised - but then neither were the circumstances. I was in retreat, he was advancing.

It was 4pm one afternoon last week on the bridge into Basra, and Saddam Hussein's elite militia were sending a rain of mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades from the city.

In the smoke and the confusion and the deafening noise, I ran straight into him, my left arm colliding with his assault rifle. "Who the f*** are you?" he asked incredulously, surprised to see a British woman. "Who are you?" was my instinctive response.

Dressed in civvies - cargo trousers and a T-shirt - he didn't look like a soldier. On the other hand, he was obviously British, and he did have an impressive telescopic sight atop his rifle. "You don't need to know," he said ominously. Realisation dawned: he was a member of the special forces.
His message communicated, he stopped talking. His departure was as unconventional as his greeting. He simply stalked off.

A few days later, back temporarily in Kuwait City, I watched the bombing of the bridge continue on a television in the lobby of the hotel where I was staying.

Suddenly, without my being aware of his approach, a man appeared at my shoulder. "The last time we met was on that bridge," he said, pointing up at the TV screen. I took my eyes off him for a moment and he did it again. He just disappeared.
The party is just getting started
Marie Colvin in the (UK) Times - Iraqi exiles fly in to incite anti-Saddam uprisings:
Among their ranks were an Iraqi American who had abandoned his grocery store in Missouri and a former nightclub bouncer from London.

Hundreds of Iraqi exiles, assembled under the banner of the Free Iraqi Force, opened a new front in the battle to oust Saddam Hussein yesterday after flying to the south of the country on a perilous mission to incite rebellion in its cities.

Guided by Colonel Ted Seel, a grizzled American Vietnam veteran and expert in psychological warfare, the force will use tribal contacts and guerrilla attacks to trigger uprisings in southern cities such as Basra.
A pretty good article except for a line about "paid a generous £25 a week". £25 is hardly generous and it seems most of them have other reasons:
For these men it is an intimate war. Everyone I met spoke of a brother or sister imprisoned, threatened, tortured or humiliated.