This is the voice of democracy

Let's see what news is coming out of Iraq and Baghdad specifically… Some quotes to try and give you a feel of what it's like to live there right now. And again, remember, Baghdad looked like Miami before the US started dropping giant bombs on it. This is not a primitive place — it's a modern Western liberal city.

"This is a crime. Yes, I know they say they are targeting the military. But can you see soldiers here? Can you see missiles?"

(more)

"We had a great day! We killed a lot of people! We dropped a few civilians... but what do you do? [describing shooting into a civilian crowd to hit a suspected soldier] I'm sorry, but the chick was in the way."

- Sgt. Eric Schrumpf, US military
(more)

Jalil Ali, 25, a well-educated and polite trainee scientist at the Ministry for Higher Education, threw a bottle of water on to the ground. "Take it back! Why are they giving water and food when they are bombing us as well?"

(more)

"I don't remember so many injured people, so much blood everywhere, in this hospital before... Even doctors and nurses were shocked. People were so badly injured that they were dying in our hands."

- Dr. Haqqi Razouki

"I don't believe America is doing it by accident. Every day, they kill civilian people. Every day, injured civilians are brought to our hospital. It is not a war. It is slaughter."

- Dr. Abbas Ali Abbas
(more)

"It was mad chaos like you cannot imagine. You couldn't see anything except all those hues of red and the sound of fire from all sides. It was not earthly. I'll have nightmares about it."

- "Cobra 6" (US tank commander)
(more)

[In Basra] the young man's eyes smoulder with hatred. "Enemy," is all he can say in English. "It's a living hell in there," I am told by one military official. "People are too afraid to come out of their homes. They don't know who is friend, who is foe. Water and food is scarce, there is no electricity."

(more)

"Our floors are covered with blood of our people, the walls are splashed with blood. Why, why, why? Why all this blood? I'm a doctor, but I can't understand such things. They say [they] come to free us? Is this freedom?"

- Dr Ahmed Sufian
(more)

I hope that brings home a little of the feeling of what's going on there. Everyone knows the US will win (or at least should be able to win) this war through sheer size. Sure, there are US and British casualties, but to be perfectly honest, the majority so far (80-90% for the British) are “friendly fire” (more). Let's face it; the forces so far are so mismatched that it's not an honorable fight in any way. As Charlie Reese (more) points out,

There will be no honor in this victory. We have attacked and will defeat a small country that doesn't stand a chance. As you can see, as of this writing, so far the main dangers to our people have been accidents and friendly fire. Our tanks shoot at 5,000 meters; the Iraqis' old Soviet tanks shoot at 2,000 meters. Our field intelligence is out of the space age. We have satellites and predators and U-2s and all-seeing radar. The Iraqis have binoculars. We have more than 1,000 of the world's most sophisticated aircraft. The Iraqis have a few dilapidated MIGs that they haven't even bothered to try to get off the ground.

And you wonder why Saddam is using “dirty” tricks? It's because he has no choice — the US escalated the arms race, not him. That's why he's trying to force an attack on Baghdad, and with morons and cowards like Rumsfield (more, more) in charge, America is getting played. First, because it'll mean massive civilian deaths, resulting in political support from civilians around the world. Second, because it'll mean massive troop losses for the Allies — the British are expecting to lose at least a thousand of their young men in Baghdad alone, with allied troops being slaughtered at a rate at least triple that of the Vietnam War (more).

Finally, Saddam wants to the main battles to happen in these urban areas because it's one of the few places he can stack the odds in his favors (short of the US nuking the city or total genocide, an option that Bush said he has not yet ruled out). In a “conventional” invading ground war, one “needs” a force that outnumbers the native troops by at least 3:1, with entrenched forces needing as much as a 10:1 ratio, according to Lawrence J. Korb, the director of National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (more, more, more).

Baghdad contains about 30,000 high-end Iraqi troops, plus about 100,000 trained police and militia, plus guerrilla forces with at least a quarter million people. The US and Britain can mobilize between 20,000 and 50,000 troops inside the city… You can do the math for yourself. There is no way for America to win this war without bombing Iraq and killing multitudes of citizens. Let me give you one more quote so you understand what is being done in the name of America.

Inside a small, bare livingroom with two old wooden benches, a pine box lay covered by a blanket. The 12-year-old boy stared blankly [from the coffin], his arm folded awkwardly under him. His mother Tisar reached into the coffin, grabbing hold of [her son] and began calling him back from the dead. 'My baby, you are my only son,' she said as relatives pull her off the corpse. 'My baby, my son, my son.' When they closed the coffin, Tisar beat the coffin with her fists and wailed, pulling her hair.

(more)

Does it make you proud?

Why does the America flag bring salutes at home and tears abroad? How can one set of people look at the stars and stripes and be brought to patriotic vigor, while another group just cries as they hold the bloody corpses of their children and ask why?

Does the end justify this means?

Are you sure the end will come?

What else… The US just seized $1.62 billion in assets from Iraqi firms controlled by the Iraqi government (more), more countries in the “co-alition” are stepping forward to say they are not involved and the US is just making it up (more), oil prices have jumped to $30.16 a barrel (more), and the US has committed another $100 billion (which the US people have not yet been told about officially) to “rebuilding” Iraq (more). Here's a hint — you wouldn't have to rebuild it if you didn't bomb it. But of course then there wouldn't be major money to hand to the private corporations who put Bush et al in power (since as you know, the UN has been totally cut out of these decisions; these contracts will go to cronies).

How did Bush achieve this? Did he just make a clever bet? (more/mp3*)

I've seen a lot of people both here and in the media make the callous and ignorant claim that Saddam has been starving his own people. I'd like to quote from Matthew Rothschild (more) who responds to Tony Blair's claim made at the Bush-conference last week that under Saddam, “400,000 Iraqi children have died preventively because of the regime.”

All those children died, in large part, because the United Nations — at the behest of Britain and the United States — insisted upon maintaining economic sanctions on Iraq. These sanctions prevented basic items from getting to Iraq, items like chlorine to purify the water supply there. For years, human rights activists urged a lifting of these economic sanctions because of the terrible toll they exacted, a toll that only now Tony Blair seems concerned about, only now when he can use that toll as an excuse for war. Madeleine Albright notoriously told Lesley Stahl of Sixty Minutes that this civilian death toll was "worth it." Albright understood and acknowledged U.S. complicity in those deaths, but accepted them anyway.

Finally, in the “perpetual war for perpetual suffering” department, Iran and Syria are pissed that Rummy continues to threaten them even though they've stayed remarkably neutral (more)… Continued threats which can only draw more countries into the war against the Bush regime, and increase hatred of America in “friendly” countries like Turkey, where US troops are getting stoned by villagers as they try and retrieve missiles that crash in the wrong country. Then of course there's North Korea, who has issued the following statements (more):

"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea would have already met the same miserable fate as Iraq's had it compromised its revolutionary principle and accepted the demand raised by the imperialists and its followers for 'nuclear inspection' and disarmament. The DPRK will increase its self-defensive capability and fully demonstrate its might under the uplifted banner of the army-based policy."

Aint the world a grand place? What a fine vision Bush has for us all…


* This file is a quote of Bush explaining to friends about how he's managed to shift unstated budget money to private corporations who sponsored him: “Someone asked me, 'is there ever any time the budget might have to go into defict?' I said to him, 'only if we were at war, or had a national emergency, or were in a recession.” (crowd laughs). “Little did I realize we'd get the trifecta.” (more laughs). For those that don't know, a TRIFECTA is a type of bet where you pick the first three winners in order. That is, Bush was in effect saying, “How can I pass the people's money to my companies? I will bet on war, terror, and recession.” You decide if that reveals truth or idiocy. Stupid or evil… Those continue to be the options.

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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