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29.3.04

Stryke one

Iraq, as a weapons testing laboratory? Maybe the wheeled vehicle craze isn't such a good idea after all. I think that it is an interesting insertion point for the stryker. Note that this model has an ugly looking improvised protective screen around it - that was designed to further protect it from RPGs after people realized the stock model wasnt going to do the job. It still doesnt do the trick - this stryker was hit with one RPG. The attack occured in or around Mosul, no word on casualties as of yet. The choice of Iraq as the testbed for these vehicles will be a real trial by fire, but that fits in with the Iraq as a testing laboratory idea, doesn't it?

Of course, I also should point out that we told you so. Anyway, its not that we have any particular foresight on these military matters, we just apply basic intelligence. And the real failing of the US current military minds is not these little strategic gaffes that we point out, it is not that the US needs a lighter faster force or a tougher, more armored force, its not a question of strykers vs. bradleys, or this vehicle or weapons system vs that other one. The US fails on a much larger scale, in the belief that the military can carry out a task that no military has EVER been able to successfullly complete -- pacification. All this focus on "urban warfare" is a joke, and its not something the military can do, it serves only as a poor euphemism for military occupation and failure.


20.3.04

More on Friedman (moron Friedman)

I just returned from Spain, and was there through the Madrid bombings and the electoral aftermath. Let me say in no uncertain terms that the idiot pundits who are accusing Spain's voters of caving to al-Qaeda should go and fuck themselves until they're raw and bloody. Public sentiment in the country is palpable. Every shop in every city has black ribbons on its windows. As a public show of grief and resoluteness, it feels exactly like the American Flags that went up all over New York right after 9/11. (And, yes, I was in Manhattan then, too.) More importantly, though, every square in every city that I visited is filled with candle memorials to the dead. These memorials are plastered with printouts with messages like: "no to terror, no to war;" "no to al-Qaeda, no to ETA;" and my personal favorite "Aznar, it was your war, but they're our dead."

Immediately after the bombings, there were spontaneous anti-ETA protests. Two days later, when the al-Qaeda connection became known, that anti-ETA sentiment was redirected at Aznar's government for their continued efforts to pin the blame on the wrong group. In this sense, it was a perfect reflection of the Bush administration's bait-and-switch by connecting Iraq with 9/11. Unlike the American public, however, the Spanish didn't take the bait.

So, rather than caving to the terrorists, Spaniards are actually steeled to fight terrorism--and are under no illusions that Iraq had anything to do with that fight. Anyone who says otherwise is dead wrong.


18.3.04

Polish rationale for the Iraq war

Then: BBC NEWS | Europe | Poland seeks Iraqi oil stake: "Polish Foreign Minister, Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, said his country had never disguised the fact that it sought direct access to the oilfields" ... and Now: BBC NEWS | Europe | Poland was 'misled' over Iraq WMD.

This is what sour grapes sound like. Perhaps, for some reason, Poland isn't getting its cut?


17.3.04

Friedman and the case of the vanishing American intelligence

Can someone please convince the management of the New York Times to fire Thomas Friedman? Friedman has had some really stupid columns over the years, but this one has to rank right up there near the top, perhaps just one step behind his "France-is-the-enemy-of-the-US" crapfest a while back.

Can we please drop the "appeasement" bullshit act? We're not in the 1930s and the "terrorists" aren't coming from Nazi Germany. Pulling a few Churchill quotes out of your ass doesn't make you look intelligent - it makes you look like a jackass for having such a silly view of history.

No one in Spain wanted their soldiers to go and fight in Iraq in the first place and no one ever got around to liking it. So-called lovers of democracy should, in fact, be applauding the Socialist party's victory in Spain: Spanish voters got rid of an autocrat who ignored overwhelming and strong popular opinion against this war and whose party still has not a few Franco-era fascists. This is a victory for democracy.

But when people like Friedman have a point to make, what use is something like history - either a few months ago or a few decades?


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