The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'iraq war'


The history of the invasion of Iraq told as a game of Mario Brothers:

And here is what Mario would look like as a real human being, er, homunculus.

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Not that long after the Rolling Stones sort of discovered their inner Radiohead and recorded a song (sort of) criticising the neoconservatives, another veteran musician is stepping up to the podium. Veteran composer Burt Bacharach has written and recorded songs critical of the war in Iraq, which will be appearing on his new album. Bacharach, 77, famous for songs like Walk On By and Say A Little Prayer, is not known for his political lyrics, or indeed for his lyrics at all, having in the past left those to songwriting partners. The new album will also include drum loops by rap producer Dr. Dre. (I wonder whether Bacharach's record company made him do that; wasn't he dead against any sort of electronic music?)

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American students traveling abroad confirm the findings of a study indicating that Washington's unilateral approach to foreign policy has seriously undermined Americans' chances of getting laid:

"I'm in Amsterdam--Amsterdam, for Christ's sake--and I'm in the middle of the longest dry spell I can remember," Higgs said. "Last week, I was making out with this Italian girl at a concert. It was all going great until the music ended and she heard my American accent. I swear to God, I went from the cusp of a hand job to, 'Why won't your country sign the Kyoto Treaty?'"
"I voted for Kerry and I marched against the Iraq war," Biehn said. "But when I got to Europe, I might as well have been wearing a Bush bumper sticker on my forehead and star-spangled cowboy boots. As soon as the French guys hear I am from the U.S., all they want to do is argue politics."

And some advice for young Americans attempting to pull in Europe:

"First, pretend you're Canadian whenever you can," Hapbrook said. "But make sure you're not around actual Canadians, because they'll know you're lying and cock-block you. Second, if there are any anti-American protests going on, take care to avoid women carrying signs. Third, focus your itinerary on countries like Ireland and Japan that are still relatively friendly to Americans. You may want to write off France altogether," Hapbrook added.

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Rallies across Australia call for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, with up to 2,000 people in Sydney marching for the cause. I am somewhat skeptical of the rationale of this; I was as much against invading Iraq as any right-on Green-voting inner-city non-Herald-Sun-reader, but at this stage, pulling troops out, and essentially handing what's left of the country over to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi or whichever other thug manages to bloodily scramble to the top of the pile, would be screwing Iraq over twice. (Unless, of course, one is one of those anything's-better-than-western-liberal-capitalism Trotskyists or Islamofascists or what have you, but if one is of such a persuasion, then they would be beyond reason anyway.)

Now, if the rallies were calling for the US occupation authority to be replaced by a transparent multinational peacekeeping administration less likely to strip-mine the country for the benefit of Halliburton stock whilst humiliating and brutalising the locals and ensuring enough animosity to poison generations to come, that would make more sense than "Troops Out Now".

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Some speculations about what America would be like if it were in Iraq's place:

What if, from time to time, the US Army besieged Virginia Beach, killing hundreds of armed members of the Christian Soldiers? What if entire platoons of the Christian Soldiers militia holed up in Arlington National Cemetery, and were bombarded by US Air Force warplanes daily, destroying thousands of graves and even pulverizing the Vietnam Memorial over on the Mall? What if the National Council of Churches had to call for a popular march of thousands of believers to converge on the National Cathedral to stop the US Army from demolishing it to get at a rogue band of the Timothy McVeigh Memorial Brigades?

(via tyrsalvia)

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Out of work? Got a Top Secret clearance and a sadistic streak? US military contractors are looking for an Interrogator/Intel Analyst Team Lead in Baghdad, to assist in interrogating recalcitrant Iraqis, under minimal supervision. Since the applicant will not be a US military officer, military codes of conduct do not apply.

Meanwhile, how much do you want to bet that Arab-torturing good-ol'-girl Lynndie England will be getting lots of marriage proposals from Little Green Footballs readers and the like? Step aside Lara Croft and Sigourney Weaver; there's a butt-kicking heroine for the Bush Era.

"To the country boys here, if you're a different nationality, a different race, you're sub-human. That's the way girls like Lynndie are raised. Tormenting Iraqis, in her mind, would be no different from shooting a turkey. Every season here you're hunting something. Over there, they're hunting Iraqis."

And Charlie Stross has weighed in on the Iraqi torture controversy. (Sorry, did I say torture? I meant abuse. Torture, like terrorism, is something only the bad guys can do.) Apparently the British did similar things in Northern Ireland in the 1970s, and the results weren't pretty.

Which is to say: I think the torture is symptomatic of a much deeper malaise at the heart of the neoconservative program to restructure the Middle East. It's the same disease that enabled another cultured, well-educated western society two thirds of a century ago to efficiently and systematically brutalize half a continent: the conviction that the Other is backward, ill-educated, unworthy of tolerance, brutish, must needs be governed for their own good and punished for rebellion against the self-evidently correct policies of the superpower ... you can't justify the invasion and occupation of other nations these days without espousing a belief that their citizens are morally, intellectually, or ideologically inferior. To view someone as inferior in one of these ways is to dehumanize them. And, once dehumanized, they become fair game for the most odious of practices: collective punishment, suspension of civil rights, torture, and finally mass murder of civilians -- whether by gas chamber or cluster bomb makes no difference.
This is a wake-up call. We aren't just on the slippery slope, we're two-thirds of the way down it and trying on the jackboots for fit.

Gee, it's a lucky thing that the US isn't bound by the Geneva convention; otherwise they may be guilty of war crimes.

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Kidnappers threaten to kill Italian hostages unless Italians protest against their government. I wonder what effect this will have on May Day anti-war rallies in Italy; when a rally becomes, literally, a pro-terrorist demonstration, I imagine it would lose a lot of its moral clout, and a lot of people would keep away or get behind their government.

(Which leads to a somewhat far-out, and paranoid, theory about Bush's possible October Surprise: what if, say, a Republican/PNAC dirty-tricks unit had some "terrorist" stooges kidnap some Americans and send a videotape to al-Jazeera threatening to kill them unless Americans rally against Bush. I imagine such a scenario would take the wind out of the Democrats' sails and get Bush reelected with a sweeping landslide without even needing to use trick voting machines. Of course, the Republicans respect democracy and wouldn't do anything like that any more than allowing 9/11 to take place.)

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Various leftist troublemakers are claiming that the invasion of Iraq has accelerated the spread of Osama bin Laden's anti-US ideology among once-local Islamic movements, increasing the danger to the US and its allies. Um, hang on, it's not leftists making the claim, it's the CIA and the U.S. State Department.

Islamic militant organisations in places such as North Africa and South-East Asia, previously focused on changing their local country leadership, "have been caught by bin Laden's vision, and poisoned by it... they will now look at the US, Israel and the Saudis as targets", a senior intelligence official said last week. "That is one manifestation of how bin Laden's views are expanding well beyond Iraq," he said.
Since attacks in East Africa, on the USS Cole, and on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on September 11, al-Qaeda has lost its sanctuary in Afghanistan. Its once top-down control of terrorist operations now is in the hands of less-experienced people.

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It has emerged that Tony Blair committed Britain to war in Iraq 9 days after 9/11, in a secret pact with George Bush. Blair is said to have required no convincing to do the deal. Which is consistent with my impressions of Blair as one who positively bends over backwards to be of service to superior powers, be they the US Government (of either stripe; witness the deep personal philosophical kinship Blair had with both Clinton and Bush) or multinational corporations (for which, according to Greg Palast, Blair has personally intervened to bend foreign-ownership rules).

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The US Government is drawing up plans to conscript linguists and computer experts into the military. While the official line is that conscription is undesirable, the mechanisms for reinstituting the draft are slowly, quietly being put into place. I suspect that, sometime after Bush wins the next election, we'll see a sudden, "spontaneous" reappraisal of the feasibility of an all-volunteer military "in the light of changing geopolitical conditions" or something like that, and the draft machinery which has so conveniently been assembled will spin to life.

(Speaking of media management: you've probably heard the rumours that Osama bin Laden has been captured, and is being held somewhere to be publicly "captured" some time closer to Election Day.)

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A heartwarming look at the reconstruction of Iraq's shattered schools, being carried out by military contractor Bechtel, as a PR humanitarian exercise:

Most of the cheap plastic cisterns are already broken. Even a broken banister that resulted in one child falling one floor down - was not considered to be part of Bechtel's renovation plan. So the director ordered to weld it again, paying the work out of his own pocket. The work on the school, according to Abdel-Razzaq, was completed without a single person from the Bechtel corporation appraising the work. "Why do we need Bechtel? They have done absolutely nothing," he said.
"The first time they came here, they went from classroom to classroom with guns dangling over their shoulders, asking the terrified children whom they loved more, Saddam Hussein or George Bush."

(via MeFi)

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A gonzo rant about critique of where the Forces Of Good's Iraq strategy falls down, and why attempts at recruiting idealistic young peacekeepers is exactly the wrong way to go about it:

The last kind of person we need in Iraq is a young, idealistic intellectual. These people make lousy conquerors, as was proven repeatedly in Vietnam. In colonial wars, what you really need to get the job done are efficient professional killers, like the French Foreign Legion or the Korean mercenaries we used in Indochina. People like this, when they go into a "problem" village, they dont spend a lot of time with the Inspector Closeau search for the hidden insurgents among them. They just chop everyones heads off and move on.
If you want to recruit killers for foreign conquest, you need to be able to offer them the three basics: treasure, murder and pussy. This is why Iraq is a dead end. There is no pussy in Iraq, absolutely none. No "me so horny" scenes will be shot in the inevitable Iraq movies. There is treasure, but the soldiers dont get any; you cant steal a sack full of oil. Impotent white guys in Texas get all the treasure, which must really piss off the soldiers. That leaves murder as the prize. And as is made clear in the Klein column, we are not making murder part of our sales pitch.

Mind you, actually conquering Iraq may be the wrong way to Win The War(tm):

A much simpler and significantly more profitable strategy would be to invade France and Germany and leave Afghani and Chechen sentries there to keep the peace. No more worries about Airbus contracts or the euro in that scenario. And with Shamil Basayev sitting in Jacques Chirac's office, it is hard to imagine domestic unrest being a serious problem. Beyond that, we wouldnt need to pay a ransom for our new mercenary security force: The women of France would be sufficient compensation for at least the first few years.

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Is the US military moving quietly to bring back the draft, to supplement overstretched troop numbers in Iraq?

"The experts are all saying we're going to have to beef up our presence in Iraq," says U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, the New York Democrat. "We've failed to convince our allies to send troops, we've extended deployments so morale is sinking, and the president is saying we can't cut and run. So what's left? The draft is a very sensitive subject, but at some point, we're going to need more troops, and at that point the only way to get them will be a return to the draft."

If the US brings back the draft, I wonder how quickly Australia will follow and attempt to reinstitute conscription. If the US sets a precedent, I can't see John Howard choosing not to follow the lead. Though presumably they'd need to get it through the Senate, and thus to get Labor onside, which may be harder.

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Iraqis' advice to Americans on coping with blackouts, from simple things like sleeping on the roof and buying blocks of ice to checking power stations for saboteurs loyal to the old regime, and taking to the streets to protest.

3: CALL IN THE IRAQIS. Some suggested the Americans ask the Iraqis how to get the power going again. ``Let them take experts from Iraq,'' said Alaa Hussein, 32, waiting in a long line for gas because there was no electricity for the pumps. ``Our experts have a lot of experience in these matters.''

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The Spanish troops sent to patrol Iraq are wearing the symbol of an anti-Moorish crusader. Spain's 2,000-strong contribution to Truth, Justice and Cheap SUV Fuel wear on their shoulders the Cross of St. James of Compostella, popularly known as "Matamoros" or "the Moor killer" for his role in the Christian reconquest of Moorish spain. The troops will patrol the sacred Shia city of Najaf.

Stupidity, or a calculated "fuck you" to the Islamic world? Perhaps someone in charge wants to foment anti-Western resentment in the Islamosphere, for some reason or other; like keeping McWorld in a permanent (and profitable) state of siege? (via Anthony)

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If this is true, it is pretty fucked up: US soldiers massacre Iraqi civilians: (via

``Our headlights were on. He (her husband) didn't have time to put his foot on the brake. They kept shooting. He was shot in the forehead. I was still sitting next to him. I got out of the car to get help. I was shouting, 'Help me! Help me!' No one came.''

Meanwhile, some Iraqi tribes (being a savage people with no concept of "acceptable collateral damage") have vowed revenge against the Americans. Chances are al-Qaeda and their ilk will only see their fortunes improve out of this.

``I wish Saddam (Hussein) would return and kill all Americans,'' Anwaar Kawaz said. Under Saddam, ``we used to go out at one in the morning. We went out at 9 now and they killed us.

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U.S. forces release graphic pictures of Saddam Hussein's sons' corpses, killed in a recent attack. The pictures have been described as "grisly". However, refusing to look at them or expressing disgust at the spectacle may cast doubt on your loyalties.

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Some months ago, a poll showed that 50% of Americans believed that the majority of 9/11 terrorists were Iraqis; now a new poll shows that 1/3 of Americans believe that WMDs have been found in Iraq, and 22% believe that Saddam used them (presumably they mean in the recent conflict). This is put down to cognitive dissonance, and people's need to edit their perception to reconcile it with their beliefs; after all, it's easier to believe that you missed that one FOXNews program where the weapons were found (and which is consistent with everything you've heard before or since) than to believe that everything you've seen on TV and read in USA Today is a distortion. And then there is Cialdini's consistency principle; i.e., that if someone has made an investment in believing in a certain point of view, they will defend said belief, often to the point of absurdity, to avoid the shock of having their world-view dragged out from under them (extreme instances of this include religious cultists believing whatever absurdity their gurus tell them and Creationists committing out-and-out fraud to "disprove" evolution). Ah yes, cognitive dissonance; a fascinating phenomenon...

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The statue of Saddam Hussein which was toppled by the newly-liberated Iraqi public a Whitehouse-backed warlord and his militia has now been replaced by a new statue of Ronald McDonald a symbolic Iraqi family holding aloft a crescent moon (representing Islam) and sun (representing the ancient Sumerian civilisation).

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Irony is dead, again: A Norwegian parliamentarian has nominated Bush and Blair for the Nobel Peace Prize, for invading and winning the war in Iraq.

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The next time you're pumping cheap gasoline into your SUV, spare a thought for the at least 2,300 or so civilians in Baghdad, many of them women and children, who nobly (and involuntarily) made the ultimate sacrifice for your right to do so.

The battle for Baghdad cost the lives of at least 1,101 Iraqi civilians, many of them women and children, according to records at the city's 19 largest hospitals.
The hospital records say that another 1,255 dead were "probably" civilians, including many women and children.
Uncounted others who died never made it to hospitals and now are buried in shallow graves that have been dug throughout the city - in cemeteries, back yards, hospital gardens, city parks and mosque grounds.
More than 6,800 civilians were wounded, the hospital records show.

Whichever way you count it, that's a lot of dead people who shouldn't be dead. Let's hope that the survivors like eating Big Macs, watching pay-per-view Disney films and paying Monsanto for their drinking water enough to make it all worthwhile.

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The Onion looks at Appointed by America, the new Fox reality TV show to determine the ruler of Iraq:

"Get ready, America, because you're about to choose the man--or woman--who will lead Iraq into an exciting democratic future," said Fox reality-programming chief Mike Darnell, introducing the show at a press conference. "Will it be Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the exiled Iraqi National Congress? Or General Tommy Franks, commander of the allied forces? Or maybe Roshumba Williams, the Macon, GA, waitress with big dreams and an even bigger voice? Tune in Tuesdays at 9 to see."

And then there's Christopher Hitchens Forcibly Removed From Trailer Park After Drunken Confrontation With Common-Law Wife:

Added Perkins: "So long as Hitch can learn to keep his mouth shut about Christianity being symptomatic of the 'savage and ignorant prehistory of our species' and whatnot, I'm sure he'll cause no trouble that a few cups of black coffee and a night in the drunk tank can't solve."

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Some have argued that one of the reasons for invading Iraq was to stop Saddam Hussein's spiteful attempt to start selling Iraqi oil for euros rather than dollars, and thus to shore up the dollar's God-given manifest destiny. If so, it may have backfired.

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You've seen the historical images of the newly-liberated people of Iraq toppling the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad? Well, claims have emerged that the whole thing was staged. Apparently the square was sealed off by US Marines, with the newly-liberated Iraqi people kept well away from the scene. The statue was pulled down by a US military vehicle. The celebrating Iraqis seen in the square were members of the militia of Ahmed Chalabi, Washington's favourite for Leader of Free Iraq. The whole thing was staged for the benefit of the media as a propaganda exercise. Mind you, people have said similar things about the moon landing. (via NWD)

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A Canadian journalist comments on the one-sided and gleefully lascivious coverage of the war in the US media:

Every station has its own war logo (Target Iraq, Attack on Iraq, Strike Against Iraq.) A more appropriate logo for CNN might be The Joy of War. With a CNN reporter describing an American tank rushing towards Baghdad Thursday night as the most lethal killing machine on earth, CNN anchor Aaron Brown could hardly conceal his excitement. Are you dazzled by what you see? he asked, turning to CNN in-house general Wesley Clark. Together the two men marveled at the American killing machines visible speeding across the sand.
Then there was Rumsfelds vow that setting oil fields on fire would be punished as a war crime. Those Iraqi barbarians! Clearly, its one thing to drop mega-bombs on people, quite another to do something really evil like destroy a perfectly good oil well. Lets not allow things to get out of control.


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US radio-station empire Clear Channel (best known for homogeneising the US airwaves with centrally-controlled, unmanned radio stations) has been sponsoring pro-war demonstrations. Meanwhile, in the UK, the Daily Mirror slaps its brand on anti-war rallies, handing out conveniently branded signs to demonstrators. (Hey, if the Socialist Worker can do it, why not the Daily Mirror?)

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EFF founder and former Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow on the war. Not surprisingly, he thinks it is completely immoral and the bad consequences will outweigh any gains. (via bOING bOING)

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As the war rolls on, demonstrations are an angrier affair. The middle-class Guardian-reader types who went to the February demos are largely staying away, leaving the protesting to the usual militant nutjobs.

Gone, it seemed, were the ranks of the well-dressed middle-classes, most of whom had been holding a placard for the first time, who swelled the first event to such historic proportions. Instead, the more bizarre groupings and banners (South London Home Educators; Sex Workers of the World Unite - and, yes, you can bet that heads were craning to see who was holding the poster) were almost lost in the sea of CND, SWP and Socialist Alliance posters, and their messages were not the stuff of musical comedy. 'Weep with the Widows of Iraq.' 'Bomb Texas, they have oil too.' The Workers' Revolutionary Party Young Socialists, in particular, built a number of bridges with the rest of the nation by carrying the simple, pithy, 'Victory to Iraq.'

Could it be the realisation that if the Yanqui imperialists did what the protesters demanded and withdrew all troops immediately, Saddam's forces would roll into formerly-conquered cities and exact terrible revenge on anyone suspected of welcoming in the invaders; or that leaving Saddam in power at this late stage would be the worst outcome for all (other than the ANSWER people, to whom he's a Third-World Liberation Leader, just like Che and Lumumba and Mugabe and Idi Amin and such)? Or has the smooth and (apparently) not overly bloody running of the war so far raised the hope that maybe, just maybe, it will be over soon and will have been all for the best?

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Australian cartoonist and philosopher Michael Leunig writes on war, in his usual humanistic vein:

When war is imminent or in motion, some identify emotionally with the power and authority of militarism, even to the desperate extent that they can see the rightness of any war. The drum sounds, they fall into line - hearts quaking and minds saluting. The strong father is in control at last, and he knows what's best.
Relief at last from uncertainty and the loneliness of vulnerable individuality. Salvation from the hell and humiliation of some lost inner cause, because they are marching with the victorious regiment and now it is the enemy who will be humiliated ... "Winners are grinners" is the cry of the lost soul.

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Via our regular correspondent Lisa, Give It Back, a US petition to give the goddamn Statue of Liberty back to the French.

It's probably a good idea; the Statue of Liberty doesn't really represent the core values of Bush's America. Though what would be a good replacement for it? I was thinking of a gigantic constructivist statue of an eagle, or perhaps something like the statue outside the Ministry of Information building in Brazil? They could call it the Statue of Total Information Awareness or something.

And here's another page, who want a statue of Ronald Reagan put in its place. (Does this remind anybody of the Colossus of Yorba Linda Society from Illuminatus!? I wonder if a misanthropic dwarf is behind all this...)

And then there are these nutjobs who object to San Francisco containing 'Franc' in its name. Though why not rename it to Norton City, after its most famous citizen (and a US imperialist to shame all others, to boot)?

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Political post; ignore if not interested: De facto president of Britain, Tony Blair, has suffered a major blow when 122 Labour MPs voted against military intervention in Iraq, defying a three-line whip (i.e., the threat of expulsion from the Labour Party). Blair won the vote, with the near-unanimous backing of the Tories (which is rather telling in itself).

It's a pity for Blair that his Presidential leadership is entirely unofficial. Were he a President, he could switch parties to the Conservatives. He would win a loyal party, and the Tories would gain a leader with some modicum of charisma (a bit of a 'wet', but not really all that left-wing). But since he's the Prime Minister elected by Parliament, his career looks fucked. It's not unlikely that he would lose a leadership challenge within Labour (unless he did a deal with the Tories to establish a "government of national unity", giving Tory frontbenchers cabinet positions in return for their vote of confidence. Which could yet happen.)

Though it's sobering to think that the only opposition to Blair's Labour party is the even more hawkish Tories. (What is the state of third parties in Britain? Where do the Liberal Democrats stand, and how much clout do they have? Is there anything like the Australian Greens there?)

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More on Tony "the Smiler" Blair's plagiarised "smoking gun" report on Iraq. Apparently Nu Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell, the man who gave us "Cool Brittannia", was behind it. Blair's image has suffered since, as it has become blindingly obvious that the man has the integrity of a used-car salesman.

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Saddam == Osama (part 2): A recent poll of 1,200 Americans asked a very simple question: "To the best of your knowledge, how many of the September 11 hijackers were Iraqi citizens?" 44% said that most or some were Iraqis; only 17% knew that none of them were. 65% of Americans also believe that Iraq and al-Qaeda are in very close collaboration; of which there is scant convincing evidence (or at least that has been made public). It looks like the Whitehouse has succeeded in conditioning the American people to associate long-time Bush family foe Saddam Hussein with the 9/11 attacks, all using psychological techniques: (via bOING bOING)

It is not at all unreasonable to conclude that the suspected national identities of the hijackers -- 15 Saudis, one Egyptian, one Lebanese, and two from the United Arab Emirates -- must have been heard or read by everybody on at least several occasions. From there the raw information must have made its way to innumerable lunch rooms, bars and family dinner tables across the country, where it was debated and discussed. Though it was somewhat subversive and unpatriotic to ask why, there was an insatiable national hunger to know who. Even the realpolitik diplomatic strategy of the Bush administration -- to play down the frequency of dots leading to Saudi Arabia -- should not have penetrated sufficiently to impede free access to information that was clearly in the public domain.

So most Americans knew that there weren't any Iraqis involved, but (if the polls are representative) were persuaded into revising this knowledge by emotional conditioning, and repeated association of Iraq with terror by authority figures; a textbook example of the effectiveness of persuasion techniques at editing the public memory; owing equal parts to Noam Chomsky and Robert Cialdini.

To the behavioral psychologist, the truth about the hijacker's nationalities might seem a victim of a chronic state of inattention. Conditioning has rendered Americans hyper-responsive to emotional and sensory dynamics triggered by the news media, and relatively uninterested in intellectual content. Nobody understands this better than Rupert Murdoch, who has created an empire out of punchy anti-intellectualism. And few understand better how to use it to their advantage than the Bush White House. George W. Bush is, after all, the anti-intellectual's president.
It was a case of psychological transference on a national scale. The transformation came not by cognitive argument, but by emotional association -- Iraq was described persistently in the emotionally charged post-9/11 vocabulary and context, most often by an association with fear, anxiety and alarm.

Meanwhile, the involvement of that staunch bulwark of Truth, Justice and the American Way, Saudi Arabia, has been deemphasised, to the point where most Americans, aware only that the Saudis are Our Allies, would subconsciously edit out any ecollection of cognitively dissonant facts (such as that 15 of the 19 hijackers hailed from the sternly fundamentalist desert kingdom).

(Oh, and remember that British Intelligence dossier which proved beyond doubt that Iraq is guilty? Well, it turns out that it was plagiarised from academic articles about the 1991 Gulf War.)

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Rifts are emerging in the anti-war movement in the US (yes, there is one), with some activists (from moderates to anarchists) claiming that anti-war umbrella group is a Communist front. ANSWER stand accused of being a front for doctrinaire Marxist groups, supporting the governments of Iraq and North Korea, having backed Slobodan Milosevic and having defended the Chinese government's Tienanmen Square crackdown as recently as 2000.

"Basically, ANSWER is dominated by the IAC, which is largely a front for the Workers World Party, a Marxist-Leninist group that has been around since the 1950s," said Stephen Zunes, chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at the University of San Francisco. "They are very effective at organizing because they are hierarchical. The main problem that I have with them personally is they have been very reluctant to acknowledge the nature of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Sounds much like the S11/No Logo movement, which became little more than a brand name for the Democratic Socialist Party (the "cops of the protest movement") and Socialist Alliance, and indeed the local Indymedia site (which is apparently controlled by Resistance or someone and censors posts inconsistent with Marxist principles, or so some anarchists have claimed). Then again, who would you expect to organise mass movements: the anarchists?

"They are uncritical of anybody that the United States and NATO oppose, from Milosevic to Saddam Hussein," said David Walls, a sociology professor at Sonoma State University. "That's the weakness of their position. They won't acknowledge that there is something despicable about Saddam's regime and violations of human rights; they think it's too much of a concession to the imperialists. But it leaves them without a lot of credibility themselves."

A timely reminder that no one side has a monopoly on stupidity.

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Bush on North Korea: We Must Invade Iraq:

"For years, Kim Jong Il has acted in blatant disregard of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation Of Nuclear Weapons, and last week, he rejected it outright," Bush told reporters after a National Security Council meeting on North Korea. "We cannot allow weapons of mass destruction to remain in the hands of volatile, unpredictable leaders. Which is exactly why we must act quickly and decisively against Saddam Hussein."

Also, Creationist Museum Acquires 5,000-Year-Old T.Rex Skeleton:

Gill called the discovery "a powerfully compelling refutation" of secular scientists' long-held assertion that dinosaurs lived on Earth millions of years before humans. "The fact that no human remains were found anywhere in the vicinity of the site of the skeleton serves as proof of the tyrannosaur's ferocity and huge appetite," Gill said.

And: Free Condom Harsh Reminder Of Sexless Existence.

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"If we cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq. If the markets hurt your Mama, bomb Iraq. If the terrorists are Saudi and the bank takes back your Audi and the TV shows are bawdy, bomb Iraq." (sung to the tune of If You're Happy And You Know It) (via

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Shortly after the CIA has failed to find any link between Iraq and terrorist groups, the UN's chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, has said that there is no evidence of Iraq having or trying to build weapons of mass destruction. Nonetheless, Bush, Blair and Howard are still going on about how there must be terrorist links, and how with international help, Iraq could easily make a nuclear bomb to give to Al-Qaeda. Call it faith-based geopolitics.

Evidence or no evidence, there will almost certainly be an invasion of Iraq. Bush will not be robbed of his statesmanly stature and turned into just another bumbling idiot politician again, and nothing short of Saddam Hussein giving himself up to U.S. authorities (and not those UN/EU pinkos either) will suffice to stop the machinery now in motion. And as soon as Saddam is safely in his supermax cell in Colorado and the insurrections across the Middle East have been put down, they can go after Castro or Gaddafi; the possibilities are endless.

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