Saturday, July 26, 2003

CNN.com - U.S.: Three killed in grenade attack - Jul. 26, 2003

So despite President showboat's elimination of Saddam's sons the resistance continues. This should not be a surprise to anyone who understands that there can be more than two sides in the real world.

Showboat apparently invaded Iraq in the belief that if Al Qaeda was a US enemy and Saddam was a US enemy then Al Qaeda and Saddam had to be in an alliance. This was the 'axis of evil' theory. Like the domino theory before it, the axis of evil theory can only be believed if you are prepared to ignore some pretty basic facts. For example you have to ignore the fact that Bin Laden is a religious nut who hates any government that does not impose his crackpot theology, in particular Iraq which is the least theocratic country in the region. Believing that Iran and Iraq are allied in an axis of evil means you have to ignore the Iran/Iraq war.

In the real world the enemy of my enemy can also be my enemy. Bin Laden is a sunni, Iran is shite and Saddam an appostate and they all hate each other. Most people understand this fact.

The problem with President Showboat is that because he thinks that way he believes that everyone does the same. There are two sides, the US and Saddam, you can only be on one or the other. The idea does not appear to occur to him that a large number of Iraqis might hate both. Quite a few people inside the US believe that the invasion of Iraq was motivated by oil and rich contracts for companies like Halliburton. I doubt that the Iraqi locals are any less cynical.

If you are an up and comming would be Iraqi dictator the smart thing to do is to allow the US to take out Saddam and then try to take over yourself.

Taking out Saddam is not going to end attacks against US troops, it is going to increase them. There is no point in trying to force a US withdrawal if Saddam is going to return.

Rightwingers can bluster about how the US is the font of all purity and light. It is unlikely that those opinions are widely held in Iraq. The people there have no experience of democracy or a free press. They have spent their lives reading and watching Saddam's propaganda. They may hate Saddam, but that does not mean they will love his enemies. After all they know that the US kept Saddam in power for many years when it suited their interests. It is unlikely that that support is forgotten.

According to the showboat playbook the Iraqi people at this point accept whatever the US dictates, cowed by the 'shock and awe' of US military might. Perhaps they should read some history books. Iraq has seen several empires come and go, first the Ottomans, then the British. The British occupiers only just managed to hang on and killed between 30,000 and 50,000 locals doing so. Exactly how does the right wing think they are going to sell that to the US public?

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Capital Games

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

BBC NEWS | Head 'spent £7,000 on shoes'

The article reports the conviction of a Headmistress (Principal) for embezzling over $800,000.

The fraud was made possible when the school 'opted out' of local authority control. According to the governing ideology 'opting out' would allow schools to be more efficient. As this example shows the result was rather different, there was no effective oversight of the opted out schools.

North Korea Says It Has Made Fuel for Atom Bombs

This development is an entirely logical response to administration policy. First North Korea and Iran were bracketed with Iraq in the infamous 'axis of evil' comment. Then Iraq was invaded.

The logical interpretation of these events is that the Bush administration intends to launch a pre-emptive invasion, particularly since the administration refuses to guarantee that it will not invade. It should suprise no-one therefore that both Iran and North Korea are actively building nuclear weapons, it would be suprising if they were not.

This outcome was widely predicted before the invasion of Iraq. It is now clear that Saddam did not have any 'weapons of mass destruction' in a form that could be used quickly and almost certain that he had none at all. If the object of the invasion was preventing WMDs getting into the wrong hands it has failled.

It is difficult to see any means of preventing this development at this stage. The US has demonstrated that it is unwilling to trust weapons inspection programs and does not consider itself bound by the decisions of the UN Security Council.

Pre-emption is a dangerous doctrine because it leaves potential adversaries with no choice but to plan for conflict.

Good article in the Economist - Economist.com | Weapons of mass destruction

The issue that the media is pussyfooting on is why the administration thought they would get away with an obvious fabrication. This is probably because the answer does the media no credit, the administration expected the media to roll over because they have always rolled over. Why didn't they roll over this time?

The administration is surely responsible for this. There are surely journalists who would like to sell the administration line, but which line? It is not merely a matter of different members of the administration making diverging claims, at this point Tenet is the only member of the administration to offer a self consistent story.

Even though the administration accepts that the '16 words' statement was known to be false at the time it was made, Rice is still claiming the litteral truth of the statement. Another bizare claim being made by Rice is that Wilson's trip to Niger was inconsequential and had not been considered important enough to circulate widely.

The difficulty the administration is now in is that their story must now justify both the original statement and the subsequent attempts to cover up.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Uranium 'Flap'

CNN coverage of the Speach of the Union scandal was notable for two things. First despite the fact it is obviously a scandal CNN insisted on diminishing the importance of the story by calling it a 'flap' rather than a scandal. The second more interesting point was that the segment began with the description 'growing story' and ended with the statement that the issue is not going to die any time soon. So much for administration assertions that the scandal is over.

What is trully mindboggling is the blithe assertion that the fact the statement was untrue does not matter because Bush did not rely on it in his decision to go to war. That is pure sophistry, the statement was made to make the case for a war with Congress and the US people.

The big issue is what will be the next part of the case for war to come under scruitiny. The current favorite seems to be the aluminum tubes which it was asserted could only be for use in a gas centrifuge uranium enrichment process. I think the more significant issue is going to be the 'phantom coalition'. The administration claims to have the active military support of a varying number of countries which it refuses to specify.

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