super hanc petram -- deep background
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
To The East Side

Please update your links.

Friday, March 12, 2004
In Detroit or in Baghdad
Wherever BushCo. goes, it hampers prosecutors who are driven by a desire to actually convict criminals rather than get headlines. Is Salem Chalabi a reliable source? I don't know, but his connection to his uncle Ahmad makes him very suspect. However, the facts of Salem Chalabi's complaint don't seem to be in dispute.
"The U.S. military just releases detainees without consulting with us. They are releasing people with valuable information on Saddam. They are undermining the process of putting him on trial," Salem Chalabi told Reuters.

"Why should we bother?"

Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of operations for the U.S. Army in Iraq, said the release of detainees from American custody did not preclude the Iraqi authorities from taking action against them.

Chalabi said frustrations over the releases were growing in the U.S.-appointed Governing Council, with some members discussing putting on hold the special tribunal expected to try Saddam and his top aides if they were not consulted.

"There is a feeling that it is a pointless exercise. Important figures are being released and we are not even consulted. These people are leaving the country."
While it's technically true that the Governing Council can act against these people, it has no powers of enforcement with which to detain them. The military doesn't dispute that it's releasing people or that they may indeed be criminals that deserve prosecution; it just doesn't want to hold on to them anymore.
"The Americans have released 15 detainees who would have been valuable to us. They are doing this because they arrested too many people and now they are compensating," he said.

One important example, he said, was Saadoun Hammadi, a longtime Saddam ally who served as prime minister in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War.

"At one point he was a senior member of the Baath party. He knows a lot of information," Chalabi said.

U.S. officials say they have detained about 8,000 Iraqis suspected of being security risks.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003
Starting Up Again
Time to get all fired up again. There's enough going on that I'm starting to get into a hyper-lather. A renewed sense of vigor concering our country has me frothing at the mouth. Stay tuned.
Monday, October 14, 2002
Everybody Must Get Elevated
So I had it wrong with the elevated/high issue. The government is stalwart in its opinion that we remain elevated and not get high. Still, with al Qaeda striking around the world, it seems odd that we're no more concerned about our own homeland, but hey, what do I know. I put my faith in the WOPR. Is it 4:20 WOPR?
Thursday, October 10, 2002
Elevated about being High
Let me get this straight. The WOPR puts us on elevated alert (color: chartreuse) in the run-up to the 9/11 anniversary. We then are let back down to high alert (color: fuscia) after nothing happens. Now we have al-Zawahiri and bin Laden BOTH apparently making threats along with the killing of a marine in Kuwait and the WOPR doesn't stir. I realize that my terrorist reading equipment (CNN) isn't as sophisticated as the WOPR's but Holy Hosannah, this certainly seems a lot more concrete than "chatter" in the system. I also know that I can change my alert level to "elevated" without the WOPR, but it would be nice to have some guidance here. Am I to be elevated or just high? Don't answer that. Since I'm feeling cynical today, hands up if you think the administration isn't touching actual terrorism in order that it not distract from the Ba'ath drum beat they've set. After all, it's more important that we focus on the easy democratization of Iraq. What's the scheme again?
Wednesday, October 02, 2002
Mooooooon Riverrr
While I still think invading Iraq is a needless drain on our resources in the war against terror, I do think that we should cajole the UN into action. As we are doing. Unfortunately, it seems we've dropped the ball a bit as the first compromise with Iraq for inspectors to return has laid an egg. The US and UK are right to oppose any agreement that places any inch of the country off limits to inspectors. Moreover, I agree with TNR that when the inspectors go back in, they should be armed. If they can't talk their way in, they should be able to blast their way in. Continued defiance of resolutions should carry the penalty of UN action again Iraq. One might ask why it is necessary to guarantee that all of the country be open to inspection. The Brits' dossier on Iraq outlines this nicely by superimposing the area of Buckingham Palace over the area of one of Saddam's "palaces." (see p. 38)
Monday, September 30, 2002
Look maybe your method of massage differs from mine...
A story from CNN tonight says that when users type in "go to hell" on Google, they come up with the MSFT home page. I tried it out of curiosity. My number one result is I then tried the search phrase with it in quotations. Again, no MSFT. Not sure about the story or how they're searching, but I can't seem to get MSFT to come up using hell as a search term on google.
  1. Attempt One: go to hell
  2. Attempt Two: "go to hell"
It would be nice if CNN would provide links such as these in their stories so we don't have to take their word on it, or do it ourselves and come up with an empirical result that would seem to debunk the entire story.
Thursday, September 26, 2002
Pizza Delivery
Once Saddam is gone, what's our plan? We fly in, oust him (presumably in 2 months or less) and then what? Paul Wolfowitz, a/k/a the reason we're about to invade, feels this way:
'''You hear people mock it by saying that Iraq isn't ready for Jeffersonian democracy ... [w]ell, Japan isn't Jeffersonian democracy, either. I think the more we are committed to influencing the outcome, the more chance there could be that it would be something quite significant for Iraq. And I think if it's significant for Iraq, it's going to cast a very large shadow, starting with Syria and Iran, but across the whole Arab world, I think.''
-NY Times Magazine

Wolfowitz is obviously aware that nation building (that damn phrase) is a messy business filled with uncertainties. He is, nonetheless, optimistic that a democratic Iraq (whenever it shows up) will be influential throughout the region. Condi Rice assures us that the, "US will be 'completely devoted' to the reconstruction of Iraq as a unified, democratic state." (quoting Financial Times story) Continuing, for a moment, with Wolfowitz:
"I don't think it's unreasonable to think that Iraq, properly managed -- and it's going to take a lot of attention, and the stakes are enormous, much higher than Afghanistan -- that it really could turn out to be, I hesitate to say it, the first Arab democracy, or at least the first one except for Lebanon's brief history ... [a]nd even if it makes it only Romanian style, that's still such an advance over anywhere else in the Arab world."
While there are no specifics, we now know what the endgame in Iraq is. At the minimum, Romanian-style democracy. Does Iraq resemble Romania? Or does it more resemble Yugoslavia (a/k/a Croatia Serbia Bosnia -erzegovina Macedonia Kosovo Montenegro Albania Yugoslavia)? How many troops and how many years and how many dollars will it take to accomplish this task? I realize that Lindsey has esitmated that the invasion would cost $200 billion, but that's not my question. I think we need to address these issues especially given our conduct in the aforementioned Afghanistan. While there wasn't a lot of time to plot out the aftermath of Afghanistan, there is with Iraq. But let's set that aside for the moment and imagine that everything has gone to plan and we now have a thriving democracy in Iraq. Will it cast a "shadow" over the rest of the arab world? Will its neighbors rise up in democracies? Do we want a wave of revolutions in the middle east? The shadow idea reminds me of the domino theory concerning Vietnam. I don't give the "shadow" concept much creedence. Why hasn't Cuba thrown off Communism under the shadow of the US? Why hasn't Iran abandoned fundamentalism under the shadow of Turkey? Why hasn't Syria? Egypt? Why hasn't Pakistan converted itself on the model of its former province Bangladesh? Countries aren't football teams. They don't copy each other from week to week.

Staying in the hypothetical for a minute. Iraq has created its democracy and has had successful elections. What will be the reaction of the totalitarian regimes in Iran, Saudi and Egypt? Will they sit idly by? Or will they move to strengthen their regimes both within and outside their borders? In the upheaval after WWII, Russia pushed itself forward and created the Soviet Union in order to secure its safety in Europe. What will Iran and Turkey do with their Kurdish populations while the newly independent Iraqi Kurds secure some seats in the Iraqi parliament?

Will the new Iraq make peace with Israel?

Will the Arab Street consider Iraq simply a pawn of the totalitarian US? These are the questions of an amateur spitballing at his keyboard. All of them and more are variables that must be considered as we take steps in the middle east.
Hard A-lee!
Now we're getting somewhere. Evidence of this sort is what needs to be compiled. Of course, Ms. Rice also told us that there was no way anyone could know that terrorists would use airplanes as weapons. Notice also that in 72 hours we've gone from no mention of al-Qaeda in Iraq (the Brits) to al-Qaeda in northern Iraq (which isn't controlled by Saddam) to Saddam training al-Qaeda to use chemical weapons and hiding them in Baghdad. Proof positive that you can't separate Iraq and al-Qaeda in the war on terror. Here's a question. If Saddam is an imminent (and eminent) threat to the region and the world, why hasn't he at least taken back the northern part of his country? It's just a bunch of Kurds up there. Toss some chemical weapons, roll the troops in and take back the north. Note to self, work on a dunno-list for the Invasion of Iraq.
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
Ready About?
It seems, in direct refutation to my posts, that Rumsfeld has and has shared evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda have links. Permit me to remain dubious of this statement as it has not been elaborated upon.
"Presumably, within this classified briefing, there was some evidence offered," said CNN Correspondent Jamie McIntyre, who is traveling with Rumsfeld. "But if it was very compelling evidence that really made a link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, you can bet we would have heard more about it by now."
And here's an interesting statement from the Dubba, "Both of them need to be dealt with. You can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror." Right! Wrong! Almost went two-for-two there. It is vitally important that we keep the two separate when we talk about the war on terror until the in fact join forces. Even at that point, dealing with the two entails very different things. A solid attempt to bring the premise of linking al Qaeda and Iraq to bear on our "need" to invade Iraq, but the Dubba was called for a foot fault.

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