Saddam Execution Update; Raw, Uncensored Video Footage ...
Someone has just sent us this.
It's raw, uncensored video footage showing Saddam's actual execution.
We've nothing else to add.
Well, I say old, but not THAT old. Everything's relative isn't it? I mean .. in Methuzala's league .. I'm definitely NOT!
At least eight children have died and seven women have had miscarriages in the town of al-Sinya which invading U.S. troops have put under siege for more than 50 days.Not very nice, eh?
The town's nearly 50,000 inhabitants are now without running water and food supplies are running dangerously low.Read the report for yourself right here.
But the occupiers seem to be determined to proceed with their mass punishment and are turning away aid convoys.
Pregnant women are denied access to the maternity hospital in Baiji and many others now risk miscarriage.
Consider it done.
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Dollar dropped in Iran asset move
The move could have implications for the oil market
Iran is to shift its foreign currency reserves from dollars to euros and use the euro for oil deals in response to US-led pressure on its economy.
In a widely expected move, Tehran said it would use the euro for all future commercial transactions overseas.
US deficit heading towards recordFind the full piece here.
High oil costs have been boosting the cost of products such as petrol
The US current account deficit has kept widening, signalling that the world's largest economy is still having to foot a massive bill for energy imports.
The deficit was $225.6bn in the three months to the end of September, up from a revised $217.1bn in the previous quarter, the Commerce Department said.
That pushed the total for the first nine months of the year to $655.9bn, well on course for an annual record.
The deficit's size has raised concerns about the state of the US economy.
Mint bans melting coins - now worth more as liquid than loot.Read the rest of this remarkable report right here.
WASHINGTON - Given rising metal prices, the pennies and nickels in your pocket are worth more melted down than their face value, and that has the government worried.
U.S. Mint officials said Wednesday they were putting into place rules prohibiting the melting down of 1-cent and 5-cent coins, with a penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for people convicted of violating the rule.
Because of the prevailing prices of metals, the cost of producing pennies and nickels exceeds the coins' face value.
I watch that video, Richard, and I just want to cry.You nailed it, M.
We've invaded a country, and destroyed a civil society, for no good goddamn reason.
Which is not to say anyone here "supports Saddam" -- of course the Iraqi people deserved better leadership than Saddam gave them; the video makes that clear.
But what we've given them instead is chaos, and indiscriminate punishment.
It strikes me that video like that is what the Bush regime most fears will be shown to mainstream America.Damn right, D.
All it takes is a few minutes of that to make even the simplest Redneck Dittohead think "Hey, they're just like us/me! That is clear in the video, no matter what language they're speaking.
That is what Cheney is really worried about.
A major criminal investigation into alleged corruption by the arms company BAE Systems and its executives was stopped in its tracks yesterday when the prime minister claimed it would endanger Britain's security if the inquiry was allowed to continue.For any who aren't aware, Lord Goldsmith as the United Kingdom's Attorney General virtually IS the law of our land.
The remarkable intervention was announced by the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, who took the decision to end the Serious Fraud Office inquiry into alleged bribes paid by the company to Saudi officials, after consulting cabinet colleagues.
In recent weeks, BAE and the Saudi embassy had frantically lobbied the government for the long-running investigation to be discontinued, with the company insisting it was poised to lose another lucrative Saudi contract if it was allowed to go on. This came at a time when the SFO appeared to have made a significant breakthrough, with investigators on the brink of accessing key Swiss bank accounts.
However, Lord Goldsmith consulted the prime minister, the defence secretary, foreign secretary, and the intelligence services, and they decided that "the wider public interest" "outweighed the need to maintain the rule of law".
Mr Blair said it would be bad for Britain's security if the SFO was allowed to go ahead, according to the statement made in the Lords by Lord Goldsmith.
The statement did not elaborate on the nature of the threat.
At this point we think it's time we took a breather, as we're already too angry to attempt to type much more on this shocking if not absolutely scandalous matter.
Since almost anyone and/or everyone who is honest with themselves already knows the answer -- that the greatest sedition is silence; our own silence -- for far too long.
In other words, it's our collective serial apathy that has finally led us all into this sickening and seemingly now irreversible, shambles of a sensationally sordid, sewer-level-situation.
The British prime minister has been questioned by police investigating the so-called cash-for-peerages affair.
That is such an extraordinary statement in its own right it hardly needs stressing just how serious it is for the government and the Labour party.
It may have long been expected - and there were even those who believed Mr Blair would be interviewed under caution, as a suspect.
That worst scenario may have been avoided, but Mr Blair will be hugely embarrassed by the timing of the interview which came immediately before he left London to fly to an EU summit in Brussels.
Pictures of the prime minister being swept out of Downing Street in his official car for the airport after being interviewed by police are not what he wanted on the front pages at any time.
Then there's this.
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates has pursued it vigorously and signalled the seriousness of his inquiry when he revealed in a letter dated 13 November, that "significant and valuable material" had been gathered.
The fact it has been taken so seriously by the police has already seen the government facing allegations it is just as sleazy, or worse, as the Tories were in their darkest days under John Major.
And there's more.
After three pretty 'heavy' consecutive editions we thought it apt - as well as seasonable - to try to take some 'time-out' from such serious stuff.
And when we spotted the pic we've posted above we were so tickled pink, and had such a good old fashioned belly-laugh that we felt sure we should share it.
But while the original caption is quite comical as it stands, we felt sure some of you could come up with something snappier, sillier, snarky-er, stupider or whatever.
Like to try to prove us right?
Then take it away.
Have at it.
As the pretzel said to the president -- the floor is all yours.
Israel, Palestine, peace and apartheidHere's a quick clip from it's middle.
Americans need to know the facts about the abominable oppression of the Palestinians
Tuesday December 12, 2006
The many controversial issues concerning Palestine and the path to peace for Israel are intensely debated among Israelis and throughout other nations - but not in the United States.
For the past 30 years, I have witnessed and experienced the severe restraints on any free and balanced discussion of the facts.
This reluctance to criticise policies of the Israeli government is due to the extraordinary lobbying efforts of the American-Israel Political Action Committee and the absence of any significant contrary voices.
What is even more difficult to comprehend is why the editorial pages of the major newspapers and magazines in the US exercise similar self-restraint, quite contrary to private assessments expressed forcefully by their correspondents in the Holy Land.And here's an excerpt from it's ending.
Another hope is that Jews and other Americans who share this goal might be motivated to express their views, even publicly, and perhaps in concert. I would be glad to help with that effort.Access all of the article here.
David Ehrenstein is an acclaimed author, celebrity critic, show-biz columnist and a bloomin' good blogger, to boot.
So, he was one of the the last people on the planet we'd have expected to find something like the following coming from.
Nonetheless, it did. And what's more, David's happy for This Old Brit to publish it here in full.
Like our previous post, it's a message from a U.S. military man. This time, it's an American army officer, and we recommend reading every word.
This just in from my (David Ehrenstein's) friend Lucian K. Truscott IV (Thomas Jefferson's great-great-grandson):
The Pentagon's big plan to "win" the war is to train about 1,000 Captains, Majors and Lt. Col's so they can do this guy's job the way he describes it in his letter below. The chances of that happening are about the same as George W. Bush waking up tomorrow morning, changing his mind, and admitting his mistakes. I'm pretty sure I regognize the Iraqi military base he describes in his letter. It was the 101st Airborne Division 2nd Bde headquarters base in downtown Mosul, right on the Tigris River, back in 2003 when I was there.
[Note from ****y ******n: A *** buddy forwarded this article. It is a must read. It is consistent with what I saw on the ground in Iraq when I was there in June. I discovered that the our focus on counter terrorism--i.e. kicking in doors and killing suspected terrorists--was counterproductive and not diminishing the violence in Iraq. Sometimes we were right but sometimes we were wrong. When we were wrong we ended up creating new enemies. John McCain's mantra about more troops is off base. We don't just need more troops, we need more of the right kind of troops. We need more special forces troops like Bill Edmonds. Unfortunately, we call them "Special Forces" for a reason. Not everyone can do the job and it takes years to train these men and women. Without the right kind of forces we are just digging a deeper hole.]
A Soldier's Story -- by MAJOR ***L ******S
For just a minute or two, step into my life. I am an American soldier in the Army Special Forces. I have just returned from a one-year tour of duty in Iraq, where I lived, shared meals, slept and fought beside my Iraqi counterpart as we battled insurgents in the center of a thousand-year-old city. I am a conflicted man, and I want you to read the story of that experience as I lived it. In the interest of security, I have omitted some identifying details, but every word is true.
Routine and Ritual -- I wake in the cold and dark of each morning to the sound of a hundred different muezzins calling Muslim men and women to prayer. These calls reverberate five times per day throughout a city the size of San Francisco. Above this sound I also hear two American helicopters making their steady patrol over the rooftops of the city and the blaring horns of armored vehicles as they swerve through dense city traffic. As a combat adviser and interrogator, I find these contrasts very appropriate for the life that I now lead. This morning, on the Iraqi base in which I live, I walk 100 feet from my bedroom to work and back again. These are the same 100 feet I will travel month after month for one year. During every trip I smile, put a hand to my heart, sometimes a hand to my head, and say to every passing Iraqi the religious and cultural words that are expected from a fellow human being.
In Iraq, one cannot separate Islamic culture from the individual. They are intrinsically woven into the fabric of daily life, but for most Westerners, they seem abnormal. I sit in smoke-filled rooms and drink sugar-laden tea in small crystal glasses. I spray tobacco-scented air freshener, kiss cheeks three times or more, allow the Iraqi on the right to pass through the doorway first. I know never to inquire on the health of a wife or elder daughter. I even hold hands with other men. I proclaim my submission to God and my relationship to reality by saying "God willing" when referring to any future event. I say "God bless you" every time someone takes a seat. I eat with my hands, standing up, taking food from communal bowls. I attend work meetings where socializing is always the first priority. I hear the expressions "upon my mustache" or "by my eyes" or "over my head"--signifying the most binding and heartfelt of oaths. One day, I ask an Iraqi friend how many relatives he has and he answers, "In the city, maybe a thousand."
I have slowly come to realize that in Islam, and in Iraq, every action is worship. Every single thing that a person does--not just prayer or the time spent in a mosque but every action--is in fact an act of veneration. So yes, many things are different here. Yet we all have become friends--good friends--in part because I am here; I honor them and their religion by going out of my way to show them respect. Not all Americans act this way. Many Americans assume that if a person does not speak English, it implies a lack of intelligence or some mental simplicity. We usually speak up only when spoken to. We attend meetings to pass information in the most efficient ways possible; our goal is always to decrease time while not losing content. For most Americans, God is intensely personal and religious utterances are not considered appropriate in a group of strangers. Our society is established on the principle of separating religion from state. In America, tobacco is quickly becoming a social taboo, and most men do not hold hands. If we are the first to arrive at a door, we enter first. We go on dates to meet future spouses--this is a cultural activity that I try again and again to explain. Also, Americans are a pragmatic people. We calculate the merit of an action first by its utility. In Islam, such a philosophy is immoral, and this truth is clearly manifest in the current clash between the Muslim and the postmodern worlds. So yes, we are very different. Yet if I look closely, with eyes wide open, I see that we are in some ways very much alike.
I jogged this morning around the small Iraqi base where I live. It was 6:00 a.m. and mildly warm. I wore very revealing blue Nike running shorts with ankle socks while listening to Limp Bizkit on my iPod. I slowly passed a small group of Iraqis and they all just stared, unsmiling. As I came closer, with a huge smile spread across my face, I put my hand to my heart and said, "Peace be upon you all," (in Arabic of course) while gasping for air. They all, in unison, completely changed and beamed smiles, waved, talked, gave me a thumbs-up and replied, "Peace be upon you."
Insurgents -- On this small plot of land where I live, next to the Tigris River, in the very center of an Islamic metropolis, I help find and then interrogate terrorists alongside the Iraqi officer whom I advise and with whom I also live. We interrogate hundreds of suspected terrorists over many, many months. One of my responsibilities is to insure that prisoners are not abused. This I have done. But for a year I have also been an observer of an immensely complicated situation. I am a soldier who fights alongside Iraqis, and I interact daily with and hear the words of Iraqi soldiers, civilians and insurgents alike. Through their eyes I see the strengths, foibles and faults of my military and culture. Sometimes I wish for the return of my ignorance. If no one else can understand my distress, I hope other Americans who fought shoulder to shoulder with other cultures--the French, Filipino, the Nungs and Yards and tribesmen of Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia--will understand.
From my seat in a dark basement room I understand that many of those who terrorize have always hated the Americans. But being Muslim is definitely not a predisposition for violence; quite the opposite for most Iraqis. Why is it that many have slowly transformed over three years from happily liberated American supporters, to passive supporters of the insurgency, to active fighters of the American "occupation"? "I love Americans but hate your military," says a college professor turned insurgent. "Americans have come here because you want our oil and because of your support of Israel. You bring democracy, but the Iraqi pays the price." These were the first words I heard from a man I will call Ibrahim. The Iraqi Army had captured him. He was angry, and for the first time he was sitting face to face with the American soldier whom he hates beyond reason.
That was two weeks ago. Yesterday, I put two red plastic chairs outside in the sun and spoke with him again. This time, I believe I am not the American soldier he has come to hate. This time I am "Mr. Bill," and it is now hard for him to hate me. I can see and sense his inner turmoil. For Ibrahim and for me, it is hard to hold on to the hate when the once-indistinct face becomes a real person. Later, he admits to having been deceived about the evil that is the American soldier. For two weeks I have spoken Arabic with him, started and ended every interaction with the required cultural and religious sayings, and demonstrated knowledge of his religion. For two weeks I have shown Ibrahim that I respect him as both an Iraqi and as a Muslim. "It is how you act," he says, "and how we are treated that makes me fight. For many Iraqis this anger at you is just an excuse to kill for money or greed. But for most others, they truly feel they are doing what is right. But you give them this excuse; the American military gives them the excuse." So now terrorist leaders pretending to be pious Iraqis target this very common base anger, Iraqis fight and civilians raise their fists to salute the Holy Fighter.
"Two years ago I saw Abu Ghraib and what Americans did to women. I became an insurgent," whispers a man I call Kareem, another civilian turned insurgent. "You come into our homes without separating the women and children, or asking the men politely if you may enter. Almost every hour of my life I hear some noise or see some sight of the American military. Soldiers talk with Iraqis only from behind a gun, from a position of power and not respect. Last week American soldiers got on a school bus and talked with all of the teenage girls. You had them take off their hijab so you could see their faces. You do not respect our women. This is the biggest of all problems of yours. You do not respect our women. How can we believe that Americans want to help when you do not even respect us or our faith?" I later tell Kareem that these soldiers thought a person hiding a bomb was on the bus. This was obviously too little and too late. Perceptions are what count and word of American soldiers demanding to see the faces of Muslim women streamed from cellphone to cellphone across an entire city.
Perhaps different from other past insurgencies fighting in different societies, within Iraq and over years, negative perceptions are what transform a citizen into an insurgency supporter and then into an insurgent. Now I drive throughout the crowded city alternating between shooting a machine gun and throwing Beanie-Babies to waving children. I think that at least the children are out in the streets and most are still waving. But even this hopeful sight is disappearing. Last night the Iraqi Army captured Ibrahim's cell leader and brought the two together in the same small room. For Ibrahim, this was a very traumatic moment, for he saw that the pious Muslim man, whom he followed but had not met, was in fact a 27-year-old tattooed common criminal. Ibrahim began to weep when he realized he had been deceived. A greedy and immoral man who killed for money while pretending to be religious had skillfully manipulated Ibrahim's anger at Americans.
Before Ibrahim was turned over to the Iraqi authorities, I saw him teaching soldiers to use their new office computer. He was helping them to type up his own written confession. But Ibrahim's transformation is an anomaly. Such a confluence of peaceful events does not often turn an insurgent away from the insurgency. Most insurgents continue to fight the hated American soldier whom they have never met. Their hope is that the American soldier will just go away. Bursting Bubbles I have slowly come to understand that if we are to succeed in Iraq, we must either change the way we perceive and treat those we want to help or we must disengage the great percentage of our military from the population. The Iraqi base where I now live was once a small American base. The anxiety and distress of American soldiers in years past are scratched in the ceiling over my bed. "The mind is a terrible thing...," "keep a sharp look-out during your descent," "happiness is a temporary state of mind," "control is just an illusion" and "nothing is as it seems." Across the room, on another wall, next to another bed, are other words from another soldier. They read, "My score in this War: Arabs=10, cars=10, houses=3." American soldiers are angry and frustrated with Iraqis.
Iraqis are angry and frustrated with Americans. Many Iraqis just want American soldiers to go away, and I struggle within myself not to agree. Day after day I observe the interactions of Americans with Iraqis and am often ashamed. I see that required classes given to all American soldiers on cultural sensitivity do not work; 100,000 or more American soldiers daily interacting, engaging and fighting Iraqis within their own society for more than three years will inevitably create a wellspring of citizen hostility. In this war, none of us can change who we fundamentally are. American military culture interacts with Iraqi Islamic culture like a head-on collision. And massive deployments of American soldiers fighting a counterinsurgency now hurts more than it helps. When we focus on the military solution to resolve a social problem, we inevitably create more insurgents than we can capture or kill.
As a consequence, real "Islamic terrorists" subverting their own tolerant religion will use this popular anger and sense of resentment to their advantage. As much as they hate and fear us, they also say that we cannot just leave the mess that we have made. "I know the American military cannot now leave Iraq," says another captured insurgent whom I will call Muhammad. "If you did, we would all start fighting each other until one person killed enough enemies to come out on top. When I stop seeing your military shooting at civilians on our streets and I stop seeing Iraqi soldiers and policemen as your puppets, then I will stop fighting."
Muhammad may be naïve and living in a bubble of projected motivations and false perceptions. But his bubble burst when he was captured and plucked from an insular society. My own bubble burst when I was taken out of my society and put into Muhammad's. Military leaders tell us to "focus on training the Iraqi soldiers and policemen to fight, and do not fight the insurgency yourself." Yet if the citizen is angry with us, won't this anger just transfer to the very people we train and fight with? What if we are unintentionally assuring that the Iraqi soldiers and policemen will have someone to fight against if we leave? The Iraqi civilian I speak with says that is so. In the eyes of many, there is now no difference between the American on patrol and the Iraqi policeman or soldier who is with the American on patrol. If the citizen believes that the American military is an "occupying power," won't he now perceive the Iraqi policeman or soldier as this occupier's puppet?
American soldiers do live within self-imposed bubbles of isolation. These are called American bases and are where the greatest percentage of soldiers live and never leave. These bubbles are far different from the universe of Muhammad and his colleagues. We know that Muhammad's beliefs about who we are and what motivates us are mostly false. His first perceptions are defined by culture and religion, careful words of terrorist leaders, and a thousand channels of satellite television beamed into the homes of almost every Iraqi. It is then our behavior that contributes to these negative perceptions. Our self-imposed isolation and the citizens' perceptions may be all that the insurgency needs to continue and be successful.
I have come to realize that we isolate our soldiers from the societies in which we operate. We airlift and sealift vacuum-sealed replicas of America to remote corners of the world; once there, we isolate our soldiers from the societies in which we operate. We airlift and sealift vacuum-sealed replicas of America to remote corners of the world; once there, we isolate ourselves from the very people we are trying to protect or win over. An Iraqi once told me, "How you treat us must be like how African-Americans felt." If you're an American soldier in Iraq working as an adviser, ask yourself this: Is the Iraqi I live and fight with not allowed to enter any American facility? If you are a military adviser or training to be an adviser, look around where you eat: Are the Americans on one side of the room and the Iraqis on the other? Do you even eat with Iraqis? Do you go out of your way to avoid eye contact and thus not greet the Iraqis you walk by? Do you try to learn their language or follow their customs? Do you habitually expect Iraqis to share intelligence and then not respond in kind? Do you distrust them?
Last week I read an article in an American newspaper that described a very common scene. Getting ready to go on a mission with an Iraqi policeman, a young American soldier snaps at an Iraqi officer and says, "Get off the cellphone." Then this same soldier turns to another American soldier and says, "He is probably warning a terrorist that we are coming." It may not be racism, only ignorance combined with frustration and paranoia, but to the Iraqi, it sure does feel like racism.
To play the role of a combat adviser--something American military personnel are increasingly asked to do--is to live within a foreign culture and to train and fight with a foreign military. Many American soldiers are not capable of such an important role or mission. The job is long, very difficult, and set within a very austere, hostile and unfamiliar environment. The adviser becomes culturally isolated and so requires a unique personality combined with extensive training; but most lack this expertise and inclination. It's a sink-or-swim job, and most candidates sink after only a few months. They then retreat inside the shells of themselves and soon become combat advisers who do not interact or even advise. They thus form adviser teams that are dysfunctional and counterproductive. They exist until the day arrives when they can return home to a place that is familiar, where they are not hated.
The Tightrope -- American soldiers now patrol the streets with extreme caution and quick reflexes. They have come to think that every Iraqi who runs a red light or does not yield is a terrorist. They shoot at or accidentally kill civilians, which then creates one more insurgent and three more insurgency supporters. I know this cause-and-effect explanation is simplistic for an immensely complicated situation, but you get the picture. I will never fault American soldiers for their actions and reactions; it really is dangerous out there, and no other nation could ever ask for such service and sacrifice from its citizens. Yet I also try not to fault Iraqi civilians, for their truth is just as valid to them as is mine to me. I have seen firsthand why I cannot create stability by force within an Islamic society and why many say democracy cannot be brought by force but must evolve.
To be a moral person in a protracted counterinsurgency is my daily struggle, one in which I am asked to instill social morality on a culture that is not my own. So what is the balance between taking charge in Iraq and/or abandoning the country? Our best response is to pull the American soldiers back and push the Iraqi soldiers/policemen forward as quickly as possible. I feel the urgency of this mandate as I type these very words on this small Iraqi base among Iraqi soldiers. As I told Ibrahim, the captured insurgent, "I want to leave your country. The only reason I stay here is because Iraqis are dying and you insist on fighting. All we want to do is to help." I naturally assumed he understood this. Well, he had not, and most do not. This message is one that is lacking and one that Iraqis surely need. So I find myself balanced on a tightrope bridging a deathly height. As Iraqi intelligence officers once explained to me over hot tea, "It is a race to see which of many possibilities comes first; the competency of an Iraqi Security Force with a stable and competent government, or the formation of a monolithic and deadly insurgency or civil war, both of which would prevent the latter."
In Iraq, I wish to survive and to succeed. Yet as the days pass, my hopes increasingly become mutually exclusive: The insurgency gets more effective; the citizen anger at us and the Iraqi Security Force becomes greater; the fractions in the society grow deeper and more violent; the American public becomes more impatient as the war is perceived as less legitimate and the conditions to form a stable Iraqi government become more elusive. So I run along this rope as if in a race to get away. I run knowing full well that my speed comes only at the sacrifice of my balance.
I long for the tranquility of normalcy, the comfortable, the understandable, and so I want to run from Iraq. So what then can I do besides serve admirably and hope for the best while fearing the worst? The Iraqi officer I advise once said after months of frantically working to capture terrorists, "You need to just relax. You are here, so there will always be another terrorist to capture. Sit and drink some tea with me." I doubt he was intentionally being prophetic. As a soldier who lives with an Iraqi, I do hope to one day just sit and drink some tea with him. To sit and talk of family without a worry in the world. But to do so, I must do more than just train, advise and fight with my Iraqi friend. I must go out of my way every single day to disprove the "Ugly American" label that is attached to me. I must approach every personal interaction as a singular opportunity to battle the insurgency and then realize that my interactions with each and every Iraqi do have very lasting and very strategic consequences.
** This Old Brit & Richard are indebted to David and all other parties involved.
I'm sick and tired of this patriotic, nationalistic and fascist crap. I stood through a memorial service today for a young Marine that was killed in Iraq back in April.
During this memorial a number of people spoke about the guy and about his sacrifice for the country. How do you justify 'sacrificing' your life for a war which is not only illegal, but is being prosecuted to the extent where the only thing keeping us there is one man's power, and his ego.
A recent Marine Corps intelligence report that was leaked said that the war in the al-Anbar province is unwinnable. It said that there was nothing we could do to win the hearts and minds, or the military operations in that area. So I wonder, why are we still there? Democracy is not forced upon people at gunpoint.
( * Here, This Old Brit has snipped substantially, so as to skip straight through to this. * )
The sad fact of the matter is that we are not fighting terrorists in Iraq. We are fighting the Iraqi people who feel like a conquered and occupied people. Personally I have a hard time believing that if I was an Iraqi that I wouldn't be doing everything in my power to kill and maim as many Americans as possible.
I know that the vast majority of Americans would not be happy with the Canadian government, or any other foreign government, liberating us from the clutches of George W. Bush, even though a large number of us would like that, and forcing us to accept their system of government.
Would not millions of Americans rise up and fight back? Would you not rise up to protect and defend your house and your neighborhood if someone invaded your country? But we send thousands of troops to a foreign country to do just that.
How is it moral to fight a people who are just trying to defend their homes and families? I think next time I go to Iraq perhaps I should wear a bright red coat and carry a Brown Bess instead of my digitalized utilities and M16.
Predictably, the Baker report does not come to any radical conclusions about Iraq. But did it serve any of its underlying purposes?
James Baker is a lawyer, a fixer, a Republican, a friend of the Bush family, and a deeply political animal. He is not an independent radical or a man known for original thinking. So the question in the wake of his Iraq Study Group's predictably uncontroversial is: why was it ever set up?
Critics of his disastrous strategy in Iraq could be told that Bush was listening to the American people and understood their concerns. That is why he had set up a blue ribbon panel to evaluate all options. Nothing was taboo.
The tactic did not work, and Bush and his Republican party took a heavy beating. It was not Baker's fault so much as a sign that voters felt they had to send a message to Baker as well as to Bush. A majority of Americans as well as Iraqis want US troops to leave.
The second purpose behind the study group was to co-opt the Democrats behind Bush's war.
But it gets better as it goes along.
The third purpose in appointing Baker's panel is the most extraordinary.
The country's political elite wants to ignore the American people's doubts, and build a new consensus behind a strategy of staying in Iraq on an open-ended basis with no exit in sight.
If you're interested in reading the rest of Steele's super-insightful and surprise-filled piece, grab a quick gander at this final teaser first.
"Success depends on unity of the American people at a time of political polarisation ... Foreign policy is doomed to failure - as is any action in Iraq - if not supported by broad, sustained consensus," say Baker and his Democratic co-chair, Lee Hamilton, in their introduction.
In other words, if things go wrong, it will be the American people's fault for not trusting in the wisdom of their leaders.
Fudging the end-date or hoping it need never be promised will not end the war. Baker is not suggesting anything as radical as this, of course. No one should ever have thought he might.Now go read it all; it's good.
I think they are right in the sense of the average Iraqi's life.As for the walrus faced
If I were an average Iraqi obviously I would make the same comparison, that they had a dictator who was brutal but they had their streets, they could go out, their kids could go to school and come back home without a mother or father worrying, "Am I going to see my child again?"
... Mr Bolton saying that there is "no such thing" as the UN and calling the US the world's "only real power".
Mr Bolton also said that if the 38-storey UN building "lost 10 storeys today, it wouldn't make a bit of difference".
Incidentally, we've always wondered whether or not Bolton wanted the top ten story, regular UN workers evacuating out of harm's way before any demolition - partial or otherwise - began. Since sadly, none of the mainstream media whores ever did have the guts to ask the arsehole.Here's a BBC profile of Bolton.
Now, as a result of documents disclosed in three separate court cases, it is becoming clear that his murder, along with at least 11 further brutal killings, at the Juarez 'House of Death', is part of a gruesome scandal, a web of connivance and cover-up stretching from the wild Texas borderland to top Washington officials close to President Bush.
These documents, which form a dossier several inches thick, are the main source for the facts in this article. They suggest that while the eyes of the world have been largely averted, America's 'war on drugs' has moved to a new phase of cynicism and amorality, in which the loss of human life has lost all importance - especially if the victims are Hispanic.
The US agencies and officials in this saga - all of which refused to comment, citing pending lawsuits - appear to have thought it more important to get information about drugs trafficking than to stop its perpetrators killing people.And there's more.
The US media have virtually ignored this story. The Observer is the first newspaper to have spoken to Janet Padilla, and this is the first narrative account to appear in print.
The story turns on one extraordinary fact: playing a central role in the House of Death was a US government informant, Guillermo Ramirez Peyro, known as Lalo, who was paid more than $220,000 (£110,000) by US law enforcement bodies to work as a spy inside the Juarez cartel. In August 2003 Lalo bought the quicklime used to dissolve the flesh of the first victim, Mexican lawyer Fernando Reyes, and then helped to kill him; he recorded the murder secretly with a bug supplied by his handlers - agents from the Immigration and Customs Executive (Ice), part of the Department of Homeland Security.
That first killing threw the Ice staff in El Paso into a panic. Their informant had helped to commit first-degree murder, and they feared they would have to end his contract and abort the operations for which he was being used. But the Department of Justice told them to proceed.
When Lalo arrived, two cops were already there. He went out to buy the quicklime and duct tape, and when he returned Santillan turned up with Reyes. The policemen jumped on the lawyer, beating him and trying to put duct tape over his mouth.Next, peruse our penultimate teaser.
Lalo, wearing his hidden wire supplied by Ice, recorded Reyes's desperate pleas for mercy. 'They [the police] asked me to help them get him to the floor,' reads a statement he made later. 'They tried to choke him with an extension cord, but this broke and I gave them a plastic bag and they put it on his head and suffocated him.' Even then, they were not sure Reyes was dead. One of the officers took a shovel 'and hit him many times on the head'.
Bill Conroy, a reporter who works for an investigative website, Narconews.com, was about to publish an article about it. On 24 February, Sandy Gonzalez, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA office in El Paso, one of the most senior and highly decorated Hispanic law enforcement officers in America, wrote to his Ice counterpart, John Gaudioso.Okay, after this one you're on your own.
'I am writing to express to you my frustration and outrage at the mishandling of investigation that has resulted in unnecessary loss of human life,' he began, 'and endangered the lives of special agents of the DEA and their immediate families. There is no excuse for the events that culminated during the evening of 14 January... and I have no choice but to hold you responsible.' Ice, Gonzalez wrote, had gone to 'extreme lengths' to protect an informant who was, in reality, a 'homicidal maniac... this situation is so bizarre that, even as I'm writing to you, it is difficult for me to believe it'.
But Ice and its allies in the DoJ were covering up their actions, helped by the US media - aside from the Dallas Morning News, not one major newspaper or TV network has covered the story.
In October The Observer won clearance to visit him with his lawyer, Jodi Goodwin. On the eve of the interview he was abruptly moved to a different facility where officials said a visit was impossible. Goodwin passed on a message: 'I'm not mad, I'm sad and disillusioned. Every time I did a job and brought them information, I was congratulated. Now they want to deliver me to my death.'
'If Congress and the media start to look at this properly, they will be horrified,' Sandy Gonzalez says. 'It needs a special prosecutor, as with the case of Valerie Plame [the CIA agent whose name was leaked to the media when her diplomat husband criticised Bush over Iraq's missing weapons of mass destruction].
But Valerie is a nice-looking white person and the victims here are brown. Nobody gives a shit.'
Soldiers who guarded the Queen during the State Opening of Parliament later tested positive for cocaine, it has been reported.Appropriate internal action?
The soldiers lined the Mall as the Queen went past on November 15, two days after providing urine samples for a compulsory drugs test at their London barracks, according to The Sun.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "Seven people from Chelsea Barracks provided positive samples following recent testing as part of the Army's drug testing programme. "Appropriate internal action is being taken against all seven soldiers."