Friday, March 28, 2003

Quote of the Day from Jonathan V. Last:



Even the French--the French!--were able to hold out for 44 days. If Saddam prolongs the fighting for another 5 weeks, all he will be doing is rising to the level of military competence set by France.


Today is Day 8 of the war. Let's try to keep some perspective.



If you don’t do anything else today, at least read this article.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

The truth shall set you free ... or at least really piss you off:


Nic Robertson, the CNN correspondent ordered out of Baghdad on Friday, reported deep frustration on the part of Iraq information officials, who angrily told him the network was "worse than the American Army" and that it was to get out of Iraq immediately.



Images of allied military divisions advancing through the south of the country seemed to be taking their toll, he said. "The Iraqis had been struggling with the images that they'd been seeing on CNN — images of soldiers surrendering, Bradley fighting vehicles driving up the Iraqi desert," he said in an interview. "They've been trying to tell their own people it's not really happening, this really isn't Iraq."



The team of four CNN journalists in Baghdad left Saturday morning.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Kudos to Nick Penniman and Richard Just:


Millions of people will soon be freed from a yoke of cruelty and dictatorship. One might have expected liberals to use this moment to cheer the prospect that the war's aftermath could lead to a better life for Iraqis, as well as for those Arabs, Israelis, Turks and Kurds who have for more than two decades lived under the threat of attack by Saddam Hussein. One might have expected liberals to begin making the case for a lengthy and serious rebuilding of Iraq -- a process that is hugely complicated and that no one knows whether the Bush administration will commit to wholeheartedly. But neither of these things has happened. Instead, on the brink of the ouster of a dictator who is the very embodiment of illiberal values, too many liberals are on the sidelines throwing beer cans at the proceedings.
I would strongly recommend everyone read Slate during the current Iraqi crisis. Top-rate journalism all-round. William Saletan's war-blog is especially good.

Friday, March 21, 2003

I was really keen to see the new Ned Kelly movie .. that is, until i saw this:



Australian film star Heath Ledger has added his voice to the anti-war movement, calling on Prime Minister John Howard to "grow up" and assert the nation's independence.



In Melbourne to launch the new Ned Kelly movie, in which he stars in the title role, Ledger said yesterday Australia's involvement in the war on Iraq was ridiculous.




A bit of pre-emption of my own ... this is a BOYCOTT, not a blacklist ... no 'McCarthyite' accusations please ...
Just a preliminary head-count: after the current action in Iraq, how many people would be willing to buy a T-shirt with the following written on it:



So, you were anti-war, huh?



Do you feel kinda stupid for

being SO F*CKING WRONG?

From the Sydney Morning Herald’s Letters Page:


Moments ago I heard that war had begun. I cry now for the children of Iraq. I cry for our own children: how can I explain this unjust war to them?


How can we explain that we have created a world in which our only answer to injustice being committed by one dictator is to engage in more terrifying injustice, killing innocent children. It's a sad day when you wait for your children to come home from school to report this news.


Barbara Livesey doing her best Helen Lovejoy impersonation: Won’t somebody please think of the children!



The blood of those who will die as the new US doctrines of unilateralism and pre-emptive strike are applied by the US and by other countries.



David Cameron has trouble with the concept of unilateralism. (A hint: ‘uni’ = ‘one’; ’35 countries who have so far signed onto the coalition of the willing’ does not equal ‘unilateralism’)



Miranda, we do remember Vietnam. And the protesters were right ...

Trevor Finch, I remember Afghanistan. And the protesters were wrong ….


Thursday, March 20, 2003

... it was clear the United States would operate with dozens of allies, some large like Australia and Italy, some small such as Latvia and El Salvador.


I think Fred Barnes is trying to sweet-talk us Aussies by playing to our egos ...
Psych-out, continued ....


Mass desertions from the Iraqi army, and the defection of very senior figures from within Saddam Hussein's ruling family circle, are under way as the countdown to a British and US invasion of Iraq reaches its final hours.


In the northern region on the border with Kurdistan, up to three-quarters of some Iraqi regiments have already fled.



In the mainly Shia Muslim south, Kuwaiti border guards are having to turn Iraqi soldiers back, telling them that they must wait until the attack begins before they can surrender.



And in a highly significant development in the capital, Baghdad, a half-brother of Saddam, who is regarded as the dictator's closest adviser, has fled to Syria in the past week. Sab'awi Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, who is regarded as a possible war criminal in the US, has sought refuge in Damascus.


Some might say it is no worse for Iraq or North Korea to have nuclear weapons than it is for Britain, France, the United States and several others to have them. It is. It may go against egalitarian principles to say so, but not all countries are as nice as each other. Sweden is nicer than Saudi Arabia, for example. And while I am certainly no fan of the Bush Administration, it is plain silly to say the US is just as bad as the regime in Iraq.


Pamela Bone confirms that the left is not yet totally devoid of intelligence.
Now, imagine if a bunch of protesters tried to blockade the White House. Some Clint Eastwood wannabe with a magnum under his coat and a wire in his ear would probably have killed someone. Certainly, people would have been brutalised and clapped in irons. In Iraq, there would have been a massacre.


Mike just couldn't help himself. Don't you see? America = Iraq and Iraq = America. Also note the crude American stereotype: Gung-ho nutters just itching to kill someone. Sheesh. I bet Americans all look the same to you as well don't they Mike?

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Michelle Grattan writing in The Age:

Now Australia has made its participation official, it finds itself a minor player in an extraordinarily small club of nations launching a pre-emptive military strike that could send unforeseen reverberations through the international system.



Fareed Zakaria writing in Newsweek:



But in its campaign against Iraq, America is virtually alone.



Simon Crean, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald:



But the Opposition Leader, Simon Crean, said Australia had joined an "immoral minority" of just three countries waging war with Iraq.



Hmmm, time for a reality check:



US Secretary of State Colin Powell said today that 45 nations backed the United States in the coalition that may soon go to war with Iraq. Thirty of those countries - who have offered troops, overflight rights, logistical support and assistance and Iraqi reconstruction projects - were willing to be named publicly while 15 preferred to remain anonymous at the present.



Plus, in addition to Oz, the UK and the US, Denmark, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are providing military units ... why is the left wrong all the time?
Ms Kingston displaying a remarkable knowledge about the 1999 Timor crisis:



Remember East Timor? Howard asked the US for troops - it replied that this was a regional matter, and we should handle it ourselves. The UN managed the crisis - through it we organised our own coalition of the willing, including several neighbours in the region. They could not help us after this - antagonistic public opinion in their countries would make that impossible.


Sure, I remember East Timor Margo. I remember how it was only after a US General rang an Indonesian General (and essentially told him that the game was up) that Indonesia relented and allowed an Australian-led force to land in East Timor. I remember how it was only due to the logistic muscle of the US Defence Forces that Australian troops - let alone Thai and other regional troops - were able to get to Timor in the first place. I also remember how a US Marine combat group (approx 4000 troops) remained stationed off Dili while Indonesia forces remained in East Timor. The message from this was action was clear: "While we may not be there on the ground, f*ck with our friends and we will f*ck with you." God bless our seppo mates.


Face it Margo, without the US, East Timor would never have happened. So don't give us this sanctimonious bullshit about America never 'being there' for us.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Psych ... Psych, Psych Psych!!



But if you doubt the power of psychological warfare, look at what's happening right now in Baghdad and Ankara. Turkish leaders who dragged their heels on U.S. troop deployments are rushing to open their gates. Why? According to the New York Times, Turkish officials believe an "invasion of Iraq now seems inevitable," so the only question left is whether Turkey gets a "say in its aftermath." Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that Baghdad residents have "besieged currency exchange dealers … lugging in satchels of worn Iraqi dinars and leaving with small wads of $100 bills."



A dinar is a promise from the Iraqi government. A dollar bill is a promise from the American government. Saddam's people are betting against him. The psych-out has begun.