Iraq war and occupationAl-Majid, who was also reported dead after the "decapitation attack" on Baghdad in March, is said to have been the architect of Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons program, and may have been the one to authorize the use of cyanide gas in the village of Halabja in 1988. "We believe that the reign of terror of Chemical Ali has come to an end," says Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. However, even though US officials claim that his body was actually found, in reality, al-Majid is not killed in the raid. In late August, he will be taken into custody by US forces. In 1992, Democratic congressman Henry Waxman detailed the deep connections between al-Majid and various American right-wing corporations, organizations, and politicians. (WorldNetDaily, NewsMax, CNNMSNBC, Buzzflash)
Iraq war and occupation(The Pentagon initially claims that an Iraqi, not a US, tank shelled the hotel; French journalist Caroline Sinz is able to verify that the attack was indeed carried out by US armor. The Pentagon later claims that the tank was fired on from snipers posted on the roof; the unit's tank commander never mentions any fire coming from the hotel.) 3 journalists die in the attack. Sinz also confirms that no snipers or Iraqi soldiers were on the roof of the hotel, as US military officials allege, and no shots were fired from the hotel, as the Americans also claim. (Sky News correspondant David Chater observes that the Palestine Hotel was home to the "black sheep" of the journalistic crowd: "...that's where we were, that's where we were penned, the Palestine Hotel -- everyone knew that the media were based in that one hotel, high-rise hotel, very prominent on the east bank of the Tigris. No missing it, no missing a target like that. And the Pentagon knew, everyone knew apart from the grunts on the ground. Of course, they hadn't been told, we weren't on their maps, but there you go....") Sinz's cameraman manages to actually film the American tank shelling; he told Sinz, "I have everything, it's an American shooting. The Abrams tank shoot against us."
Iraq war and occupationSinz says, "[T]hey ask me, where are the French army, the Russian army, where are they? Not in Baghdad? ...[T]hey believe that the world was in Iraq to fight with them against the regime of Saddam Hussein, against the Americans. For three months, they had no news from their families. The Army chiefs kept them in the dark, and they thought they were fighting against [I believe Sinz means 'alongside'] the whole world. It is us that informed them that the Americans were alone, with the English, and a few Australians. There is nobody else. And they discovered after three months of silence and of isolation from the outside world, they discovered the truth, another reality of the war! They told us how they came all the way from Kuwait at full speed in the desert shooting at everything and at anything that moved. ...They were young people that were just starting the military service. ...They just wanted to go back home and every day that was not the case, they stayed in Baghdad. The journalists were very anxious, the people in Baghdad were anxious and these young soldiers were very, very anxious." (CBC)
Iraq war and occupationCPJ found that Pentagon officials as well as ground commanders in Baghdad knew that the hotel was filled with journalists and were intent on not hitting it, but those concerns were apparently not communicated to the tank commander who fired on the hotel. CPJ's Michael Massing says, "[T]he US government continues to maintain that US troops were fired on from the hotel. Nobody can corroborate that -- and none of the journalists saw any evidence of that." (Bill Katovsky and Timothy Carlson)
Iraq war and occupationToday one of the two mobile exploitation (MET) units, the units designated to perform intensive inspections on suspected WMD sites, rolls into a site located in a small town just south of Baghdad. Instead of chemical weapons, they find drums of gasoline. Then, operating on a tip from an Iraqi man who claims to have been a scientist working on WMD programs, they hustle to a suspected site in Karbala, 60 miles southwest of Baghdad. They find nothing, and spend 24 hours finding the man who passed the information. XTF commander Colonel Richard McPhee isn't sure whether to keep visiting the sites on the so-called "master list," or depend more on intelligence garnered from people like the Iraqi who claims to be a scientist. McPhee's boss, General James Marks, tells McPhee to do what he needs to do, and not to worry about flying to Kuwait to ask permission to do his job from the senior military commanders. A disgruntled Marks writes in his diary, "WMD testing -- keep expectations low." (Bob Woodward)
Iraq war and occupationThe new envoy will be more like a super-administrator, or perhaps a viceroy. Rumsfeld knows that he doesn't want Garner to take the slot. The original list, created by Rumsfeld's deputy Ryan Henry, contains over 100 names. The list includes former GOP senator and Reagan chief of staff Howard Baker, former defense secretaries James Schlesinger and Harold Brown, former California governor Pete Wilson, former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating, and former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker. A few Britishers are on the list, including former foreign secretary Lord Carrington, and a couple of Democrats, including former Clinton treasury secretaries Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, though neither the Brits nor the Democrats are serious options. Absent from the list is anyone who has any experience in postwar stabilization operations, such as former UN ambassador Richard Holbrooke, because they worked under the Clinton administration. After conferring with Rumsfeld, Herbits whittles the list down to ten. Herbits likes former secretary of state George Shultz, the former head of the Bechtel Corporation. Though he is 83 years old, he is still mentally nimble, and has a tremendous amount of gravitas and a strong international reputation. On the downside, Shultz may have too much sympathy for the State Department, and that isn't what Rumsfeld, obsessed with his feud with State, wants. But Herbits has a dark horse candidate: Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.
Iraq war and occupation"proving" how grateful and welcoming the Iraqi people are to their American "liberators;" later photos prove that the entire event was staged, with a very small number of Iraqis, numbering in the dozens, actually present and the entire courtyard containing the statue ringed with US tanks and troops. The American media, of course, proclaims it a spontaneous act of joy and defiance by happy, liberated Iraqis. INC leader and US military doyen Ahmad Chalabi is one of the select few to take part in the ceremony, as are a number of his aides. Australian peace activist Reverend Neville Watson, an eyewitness to the event, calls it a "rent-a-crowd," and the Independent's Robert Fisk, another eyewitness, describes it as "the most staged photo opportunity since Iwo Jima."
Conservative media slantIn their book Embedded, authors Bill Katovsky and Timothy Carlson say that, while many media critics blast Fox for its "jingoistic bias" and going "overboard" in promoting the war with its viewers, many military personnel prefer Fox's coverage to the other networks: "They embraced the network as their very own. They loved Fox. Their families and friends back home loved the cable channel. By tapping into the heartland's muscular nationalism, Fox's ratings increased dramatically." The editors note that most of Fox's coverage was provided by two reporters, Greg Kelly and Rick Leventhal, who were both cited by USA Today for their exemplary efforts in the field. Theirs is an excellent example of straightforward and relatively uncolored reporting from the field that would be "whipped up" into much slicker, more packaged coverage, often heavily edited by Fox editors and producers into a product that not only reported the news, but slanted the reporting in a way that favored the war and the administration that sponsored it. (Bill Katovsky and Timothy Carlson)
Iraq war and occupationThe Iraqi people were given this picture of them as superheroes. They'd show them on television jumping out of planes and shooting people as they're falling to the earth on parachutes and eating live animals -- just these intensely violent superfighters. They were all black, with this ninja look, and they were deadly, and they never missed. They were ruthless and they were there to protect the nation of Iraq. An image was built up around them that they were terrifying and Iraqis needed to be afraid of them, but their training actuallywasn't nearly as intense. This guy [a former fedayeen] told me that they didn't serve all day, every day. They were called in occasionally to serve by a patriotic song that would be played on the airwaves, and when this song played, that was the call for the fedayeen to report, but he said there was no superhuman training going on. He wasn't a fearsome-looking guy at all. He looked very afraid; he had the look of fear in his eyes. He wasn't the sort of man who, if you ran into him in the street, you'd be frightened for your life. He had been a theater major at Baghdad University. Every family had to give a son over to serve in the military. He was chosen because they thought he probably looked the part -- he doesn't know for what reason he was chosen for fedayeen. He says he never actively sought to be in the fedayeen; he was just drafted. ...In college, he played Othello. The role, when I met him, was Gilligan playing Othello. ...He's a man afraid to leave his home." (Bill Katovsky and Timothy Carlson)
Iraq war and occupationThe military's position is best expressed by Brigadier General Vincent Brooks, who said, "It just is not worth trying to characterize by numbers" the casualties suffered by the Iraqi people: "[W]e are not out there to count up bodies." Ruzicka counters, "We have to see what happens to victims. That is what CENTCOM needs to do. Now there is no reason why the Pentagon can't do that. They know where the bombs are dropped. They have intelligence on the ground. It's an absolute no-brainer from a strategic point of view. From an American patriotic point of view, Americans do not want innocent people to suffer. I feel like what I'm doing is the most patriotic thing in the world." Ruzicka will die, the victim of a car bombing, in April 2005. (Bill Katovsky and Timothy Carlson)
"Bush uses a volunteer army, filled -- in part -- with many young men and women who couldn't find decent paying jobs because of the shambles our Bush economy is in, to destroy a nation's infrastructure. The Bush Cartel conducts a secret contracting process, including a large no-bid contract for Dick Cheney's Halliburton, that dispenses million and billion dollar fees to Bush/GOP campaign contributors. The more of Iraq that is destroyed, the larger the contracts dispensed to corporate sponsors of the Bush royal dynasty. The larger the fees paid, the more that returns in the form of contributions to Bush and the GOP. It's a grand scam, ain't it? It's too bad our young men and women -- and thousands of Iraqis -- have to die in the process." -- Buzzflash, "A Perfect War"
Bush's foreign policiesThe French renounce their opposition to NATO control over the peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan. They go farther than Russia in agreeing to suspend UN sanctions on Iraq. French president Jacques Chirac warns Syria not to harbor Iraqi officials, and breaks the high-level silence between his government and the US by telephoning Bush. France's ambassador to the US speaks of the need to "turn this bitter page and think positively about what we have to do together." The White House response? A blizzard of stories, all leaked by "anonymous administration sources," hits the US media, making all sorts of false or unprovable assertions about the French. According to the stories, France sold nuclear weapons material to Iraq, France provided fake passports to fleeing Iraqi officials, France hid smallpox toxins on behalf of Iraq in secret laboratories. Predictably, the disdain among Americans for all things French, already high, spikes.
"And there is, I am certain, among the Iraqi people a respect for the care and the precision that went into the bombing campaign." -- Donald Rumsfeld, defenselink.mil, April 9, quoted by Brandi Mills
"Bush may be the smartest military president in history. First he gets Iraq to destroy all of their own weapons. Then he declares war." -- Jay Leno (International Herald Tribune)
"God likes the side with the most weapons, I've noticed." -- San Francisco Chronicle reporter Carl Nolte, quoted by Bill Katovsky and Timothy Carlson
"We defeated the Flintstones." -- Thomas Friedman (MSNBC/Newsweek)
Partisan Bush appointeesPryor has supported the display of the Ten Commandments in state courts, has fought for extended rights to pray in public schools, and has called Roe v. Wade "the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history. He has fought against the Voting Rights Act and has worked to undermine environmental laws and affirmative action efforts. Pryor, from his position as attorney general of Alabama, has consistently worked to support the racially troublesome "states' rights" movement, and led efforts to combat the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Violence Against Women Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Clean Water Act; he has said that abolishing a Texas law forbidding homosexual relations would pave the way for "prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest or pedophilia." Many of his most egregrious decisions have been overturned. (Ten months later, GOP senator Rick Santorum will echo Pryor's comments, and compare homosexual relations with "man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.") Pryor also has issues with judicial ethics from his founding of, and his presidency of, the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), a group founded to promote the election of Republican attorneys general; Pryor's group frequently solicits campaign contributions from the same corporations attorneys general are charged with regulating, and Pryor's involvement with the group is a clear violation of Alabama's Rules of Professional Conduct. Republican attorney general Grant Wood calls Pryor "probably the most doctrinaire and the most partisan of any attorney general [I have] dealt with in eight years, so people would be wise to question whether or not [Pryor is] the right person to be nonpartisan on the bench." The Washington Post says of Pryor's nomination, "Mr. Bush cannot at once ask for apolitical consideration of his nominees and put forth nominees who, in word and deed, turn federal courts into political battlegrounds." The Senate, in a contentious nomination battle, will confirm Pryor to the appeals court in June 2005 after his being named to the bench in a recess appointment by Bush. ( Washington Post, Independent Judiciary, Eric Alterman and Mark Green, Mark Crispin Miller)
Attack on civil libertiesMott enters the classroom of teacher Tom Treece and photographs a number of student projects concerning Iraq and other political materials. He subsequently accuses Treece, a social studies teacher and self-described pacifist, of indoctrinating his students with anti-Bush rhetoric. Mott tells the local media, "Having spent 30 years in uniform, I was insulted, I'm just taking a stand on what happens in that classroom as a resident and a voter and a taxpayer of this community." The superintendent defends Treece and criticizes Mott, rightly pointing out that he was not on duty and had no business entering the school, especially under false pretenses. During a heated school board meeting, the incident is thoroughly discussed. Mott turns out to be a representative of a small, radically conservative group called Citizens Advocating Responsible Education (CARE), which advocates defunding public schools in favor of vouchers, and is against most forms of academic freedom of expression. 75 of the school's 78 students sign a petition in favor of Treece. Within days of the incident, the photographs appear on Rush Limbaugh's Web site, and Treece is roundly attacked by conservative talk show hosts around the country. Treece is temporarily barred from teaching the public issues class that sparked the controversy, but remains at the school. (Ron Jacobs, Amy Goodman and David Goodman)
George W. Bushpresiding over the ruin of US foreign policy. A world united against the war in Iraq is only the start, since US diplomatic failures and neglect extend to virtually every area of foreign policy." (Financial Times/Eric Alterman and Mark Green)
Iraq war and occupationresistance. White House press secretary Ari Fleischer says, "We have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. That is what this war was about and it is about." (Wikipedia, White House)
Iraq war and occupationThe CIA, eager to encourage the emergence of pro-American Muslim leaders in Iraq, had had al-Kho'i, long exiled and living in London, flown into Iraq over the objections of CIA field officers who warned that conditions on the ground were too unstable to ensure the cleric's safety. Many Americans believe that al-Kho'i is murdered on the orders of hardline Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, in order to eliminate any potential challenge to his leadership. (James Risen)
Iraq war and occupation"The next chapter is going to be a conflict between the Iraqi people and the invaders, the pro-American regime in Iraq. Sooner or later, the Americans will face the revolutionary anger and aggressiveness of the Iraqi people." Dr Reben notes that most Iraqis believe the US was behind the Iran-Iraq war and the first Gulf War. "Iraqis also know America supported Saddam Hussein's use of a biological bomb against Kurds in 1988. At that time, George Bush, the father, vetoed against condemnation of Iraq for these actions." Reben also notes that many Iraqis blame the US for the suffering endured over the last 13 years because of UN economic sanctions. "Five thousand children died each month because of lack of medication and lack of sanitation." (Sydney Morning Herald)
Iraq war and occupationDuring the discussion of the benefits that the Iraqis will gain from the US efforts, DiRita slams his hand on the table and snarls, "We don't owe the Iraqis anything! We're giving them their freedom. That's all we should give them. We don't owe them any other benefit." (DiRita claims not to recall the outburst, but says he came to Kuwait to emphasize Rumsfeld's point that if the US comes in with large amounts of cash flowing into the country, the Iraqis will stand back and just pocket the money. Rumsfeld wants them to stand up for themselves.) In a meeting with Garner's senior staffers a few days later, DiRita asserts that the US will be leaving Iraq soon. "We went into the Balkans and Bosnia and Kosovo and we're still in there," he says. "We're probably going to wind up in Afghanistan for a long time because the Department of State can't do its job right. Because they keep screwing up, the Department of Defense winds up being stuck in these places. We're not going to let this happen in Iraq." The reaction from Garner's staffers, many of whom are State Department officials, is one of bemused amazement -- does DiRita even know that he's talking to a roomful of people from State? DiRita then claims, "By the end of August we're going to have 25,000 to 30,000 troops left in Iraq. Garner's people know that DiRita has no idea what he is talking about, and there is no chance that the US will be able to pull out that drastically that soon. One of Garner's senior staffers, Robin Raphael, who will take over the Ministry of Trade, thinks to herself, "What is Larry DiRita smoking? The poor baby. He just doesn't get it." (Bob Woodward)
Iraq war and occupation(See above items for more information.) The White House wants to know why Garner isn't putting Rumsfeld's people in place. They want the list of Rumsfeld's appointees, Garner believes, and believes that once they get that list, they will change it around, so it will take more time to get the team in place. "Fine," Garner says sarcastically to Henry. "Whenever you get them together and go get them trained and ship them over here, we'll welcome them with open arms." Garner doesn't think Rumsfeld and Henry have a clue about what they're trying to do. (Bob Woodward)
Iraq war and occupationAdelman's column gloats over the quick victory in Iraq, and reminds readers that in early 2002 he predicted an easy victory over the Iraqi military. He chastizes those who predicted a tougher fight or problems with the post-war occupation, writing, "Taking first prize among the many frightful forecasters" was Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser in the first Bush administration. Adelman writes that his own confidence came from having worked for Donald Rumsfeld three times and "from knowing Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz for so many years." Later, according to Bob Woodward's April 2004 book Plan of Attack, Cheney phones Adelman to praise his article, and reportedly says to Adelman, "You demolished them." Cheney invites Adelman to join him, his wife, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and Cheney chief of staff Lewis Libby at a celebratory dinner. During the dinner, Adelman says he was worried that the war would never be launched, since support around the country seemed to be waning. Cheney tells Adelman that a war with Iraq was always in the plans, and though after 9/11 Afghanistan was first on the administration's list, Iraq was always a target. The table conversation turns to Colin Powell, the Secretary of State who has always advocated softer measures against Iraq, and Cheney and the others take turns laughing at Powell's "indecisiveness." The participants agree that Powell seems more concerned with his poll standings and popularity than anything else, and Cheney says that even though Powell gave a key speech at the UN in February to bolster the administration's case for war, "Colin always had major reservations about what we were trying to do." Cheney says Bush is "driven" to implement American-style democracy in the Middle East. "Let me ask," Adelman inquires, "before this turns into a love fest. I was just stunned that we have not found weapons of mass destruction." "We'll find them," Wolfowitz says. "It's only been four days, really," Cheney says. "We'll find them." (Washington Post)
Iraq war and occupationBuncombe, who had been at the hospital where Lynch was being kept, says, "A big fuss was made, but the reality was that it was a very benign rescue -- I don't think a shot was fired. There were no Iraqi troops there. In terms of being 'liberated,' a big fuss was made to enable the Delta Force to rush in there. ...My sense is that the doctors at the hospital were geniunely concerned for her as a patient. She was put in the cleanest room in the hospital; she was given the best bed. The conditions in the hospital were appalling. The situation was wretched and they hadn't had any water for some time -- they hadn't had electricity there for several days. The place was pretty wretched and they treated her as best they could." Later, of course, the entire story will unravel and be shown up as a classic instance of US propaganda and duplicity. (Amy Goodman and David Goodman)
Iraq war and occupation"The war started here on September 11, 2001," in another attempt to forge a link between Iraq and the September 11 bombings in the minds of the American people. (Truthout)
Iraq war and occupationa coalition, getting 300,000 troops over there and all their equipment and winning. And it gets easier. I mean, setting up a democracy is hard, but it is not as hard as winning a war." -- neoconservative Fred Barnes, quoted by Dave Zweifel
Iraq war and occupation"When there happens to be a weapon of mass destruction suspect site in an area that we occupy and if people have time, they'll look at it." David Corn writes incredulously, "If people have time? What had happened to his high-priority WMD mission? ...After all, the objective of this war supposedly was to make sure Saddam Hussein could not hand off chemical or biological weapons or nuclear material to terrorists who could use them against the United States. ...[T]he window of opportunity for WMD-craving terrorists had been wide open for weeks. ...Rumsfeld and the administration had apparently not planned seriously for this contingency." (Democratic Underground, David Corn)
Iraq war and occupation"I picked up a newspaper today and I couldn't believe it," he gripes during a Pentagon news conference. "I read eight headlines that talked about chaos, violence, unrest. And it was just Henny Penny -- 'The sky is falling'. I've never seen anything like it! And here is a country that is being liberated, here are people who are going from being repressed and held under the thumb of a vicious dictator, and they're free." Rumsfeld punctuates his remarks to the gathering of reporters with PowerPoint slides of photographs from Iraq, captioned with phrases like "Iraqis share a laugh with a US Army soldier," "Happy Iraqis pose with a US Army soldier," and "Two young Iraqis give the thumbs-up sign to coalition soldiers." It's obvious that this is the kind of coverage Rumsfeld wants to see. "Let me say one other thing," he continues. "The images you are seeing on television you are seeing over, and over, and over, and it's the same picture of some person walking out of some building with a vase, and you see it twenty times, and you think, 'My goodness, were there that many vases?'" Rumsfeld gets a laugh from the reporters. "Is it possible there were that many vases in the whole country?" Two days later Bush echoes Rumsfeld in his own conference, saying, "You know, it's amazing, the statue comes down on Wednesday and the headlines start to read, Oh, there's disorder. Well, no kidding. It is a situation that is chaotic because Saddam Hussein created conditions for chaos." (See the April 12 entry for the devastating effects the endemic looting creates for Iraq.)
Republican corruptionCourt documents show that Leung allegedly stole top US secrets while having affairs with two married FBI agents, even as she helped Canada's Nortel Networks sell millions of dollars worth of equipment to Asia. The US government has charged Leung with possession of classified documents with the intent of providing them to Chinese intelligence. Leung is also on the FBI payroll, and has been given over $1.7 million by the bureau over the last twenty years. Leung is said to have passed along details on FBI personnel, phone lists and intelligence on the whereabouts of Chinese fugitives, as well as failed to pay US taxes. In the early 1980s, the FBI was trying to tap Ms. Leung's deep knowledge of China, when it assigned a "handler" to her, 30-year FBI veteran James Smith, now retired. Smith now stands accused of treating classified secrets with gross negligence. Smith is one of the FBI agents alleged to have had an affair with Leung; the other is former Livermore Labs employee William Cleveland, also a retired FBI agent. Aside from being a Nortel employee and a Chinese double agent, Leung has also been a powerful operative for the California Republican Party, giving hefty donations to GOP candidates Richard Riordan and Bill Simon as well as to the national GOP, and recently being appointed a voting member of the state GOP's central committee by US Representative David Dreier. Leung's lawyers claim, "Katrina Leung is a loyal American citizen. For over 20 years she has worked at the direction and behest of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She repeatedly endangered herself in order to make significant contributions to the security and well-being of the United States and her fellow citizens." (Toronto Globe and Mail, Sacramento Bee, ConWebWatch)
Iraq war and occupationMost notably, the Iraqi is pictured as one of a number of Iraqi "war criminals" on a deck of playing cards. The Pentagon's "55 Most Wanted" deck of cards was created by five Army intelligence specialists. They are released by General Vincent Brooks at a news conference in Qatar. Brooks tells the press, "The deck of cards is one example of what we provide to soldiers and Marines out in the field with faces of individuals and their names." Brooks is lying to the press. Originally only 1,900 decks were originally printed, many finding their way to reporters, who eagerly use them in their news reports, but few US soldiers ever see them. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the soldiers "look at the cards as little more than a Pentagon public relations stunt." And that is exactly the purpose they serve. The cards win their way into the imaginations of Americans who support the war effort, and particularly the US journalists who can't get enough of using them in their nightly reports. Card deck cocreator Lieutenant Hans Mumm of the 3404 Military Intelligence Unit says, "As people started to get captured, they wouldn't say who the person was that got captured. They'd say, 'They captured the six of diamonds out of the deck of cards.'" As an intelligence and informational tool, the cards are virtually worthless; as a propaganda tool and a means of popularizing the war among American viewers, they are priceless. (Amy Goodman and David Goodman)
Medicare and Medicaid cuts; health care"carrying out a twenty-year intellectual jihad against Medicare with false claims that it is financially unsustainable and going bankrupt. The administration has been steadily weakening the program from within -- and is frankly trying to make Medicare less attractive by cutting out outreach services and basically demolishing what was generally a good customer service apparatus." (Eric Alterman and Mark Green)
Conservative media slantCrittendon writes of his experiences as "his" unit enters Baghdad, saying, "It was here I went over to the dark side." He serves as "spotter" for the unit, assisting in the targeting and killing of three Iraqi soldiers. Though Crittenden is unrepentant -- he writes, "I'm sure there are some people who will question my ethics, my objectivity, etc. ...Screw them, they weren't there." a reporter for FAIR, F. Marshall Maher, responds, "War correspondents are civilians, afforded specific protection under the Fourth Geneva Convention. By picking up a weapon or assisting in the fighting, they not only strip themselves of that protection, they also put every other journalist covering the war in jeopardy by blurring the line separating reporters from combatants." Crittenden is not the only journalist to forget that he is not part of the troops. CBS producer Chuck Stevenson, embedded with a Marine unit, writes exultantly, "This project is flat-out cool. It's Band of Brothers in real time. Through my long contact with the Marines (I have been a speaker at their media training seminars for ten years), I have been embedded with that noble service.... I came away with a dim view of many so-called international journalists, who so often report with their convictions rather than their eyes." NPR correspondent John Burnett says, "I couldn't shake the sense that we were cheerleaders on the team bus.... Much of the Marine command that I met saw us not as neutral journalists who had a job to do, but as instruments to reflect the accomplishments and glory of the United States Marine Corps. A press officer leaned back in the chow hall one day and scanned a color spread in Time on Marines preparing for battle. 'Money can't buy this kind of recruitment campaign,' he said." And journalist Chantal Escoto recalls, "I was a noncombatant, but I told them I'd be willing to pick up a gun if I had to. They're pretty easy to use. It's point and shoot." Crittenden was caught in late April bringing into the US a large painting stolen from one of Hussein's palaces; he defends his theft by saying it is "the time-honored tradition of soldiers of bringing home reminders of some of the most intense experiences of their lives." Journalist Amy Goodman responds, "Yes, pillaging certainly is time-honored -- among marauding soldiers, not journalists. But Crittenden had long since forgotten which helmet he was wearing." The painting was eventually returned to Iraq, though no criminal charges were ever filed against Crittenden. (Amy Goodman and David Goodman)
Iraq war and occupationtotaling $2.4 billion. (T. Christian Miller)
Iraq war and occupation
Iraq war and occupationBenson has prepared a "sequel" to his original postinvasion plans. The situation on the ground now appears far more complex and ominous than originally envisioned. Benson's new plan, called "Eclipse II," outlines a "most likely scenario" that includes "continued resistance" from Republican Guard units and other Ba'athist elements, and a wave of sectarian violence between Kurdish, Shi'a and Sunni Iraqis that includes what Benson terms "score settling" and "ethnic cleansing." Benson also predicts that Islamist jihadists will begin streaming into the country. When Webster asks Benson how long he expects "the whole thing" to last, Benson replies, "Boss, I think it's going to last three to five years." (Michael Isikoff and David Corn)
"Well, the hot story of the week is victory. The Tommy Franks-Don Rumsfeld battle plan, war plan, worked brilliantly, a three-week war with mercifully few American deaths or Iraqi civilian deaths. There is a lot of work yet to do, but all the naysayers have been humiliated so far. The final word on this is hooray." -- Morton Kondracke, quoted by Dave Zweifel, April 12
Iraq war and occupationHussein, falls with little resistance. It is realized later that most of the forces loyal to Saddam have melted into the countryside, to organize the insurgency that will appear within weeks. (Wikipedia)
Iraq war and occupation"After [General Jay Garner] finishes his job of restoring basic services, the interim Iraqi authority will be established. And that interim authority will be an authority of Iraqis, chosen by Iraqis. And it will be able to function as an authority in the country immediately after General Garner's job is finished, which should be only a few weeks." (Wikipedia)
George W. Bush"My father had decades of experience in public life. He was president of his union, he campaigned for presidential candidates, he served two terms as governor of California -- and that was not a ceremonial office as it is in Texas. And he had already run for president, against Ford in '76, nearly unseating the sitting president in his own party. He knew where he was coming from, he had spent years thinking and speaking about his views. He didn't have to ask Dick Cheney what he thought. Sure, he wasn't a technocrat like Clinton. But my father was a man -- that's the difference between him and Bush. To paraphrase Jack Palance, my father crapped bigger ones than George Bush."