Approximately 30 Journalists Walk Out of Powell's "Suprise Visit"
19 March 2004

Anniversary Pictures

bill maher's mock uncle sam

From a Military Mindset of the current NSC Doctrine

Dictatorships are good for Democracies to get their dirty work done. Case: Pakistan ("non-Nato ally" in the war against terror) Case: Iraq (do you really want me to get into it?) Case: Uzbekistan ...there's a few. Congratulations for your help to make the world a safer place for Americans only.

Thanks for visiting General/Secretary of State Powell. What are you going to say? I wonder.

Peace brother,


Earhole Action

Check out the radio stations I've listed. Enjoy the music. I will put up alternate quality/type(.ram VS .mp3) of streaming when I get the chance.

Internet Archive TOO.

Coast to Coast
Lim. give you most


Context change. (SH...)IT happens. A War of CHOICE CAN BE AVOIDED.

(SH...)IT happens all the time.

I love and honor all women. That's why I removed the previous FIRST picture. Not just because it offended one reader. And yes, I conceed, it changed the context.

It happens.
Rich Fake Turkeys Job?

Thanks for the cool NEW stamps on the left! Wow...so much progress. I tell ya...
Chalabi & Saddam, a match made in prison? Perhaps they're exchanging advice? harhar

Just so you don't get any ideas. I wouldn't mind doing the above to the symbolic sob while enjoying relieving myself on Chalabi and his nephew especially since he treated my sister so badly and wrote a completely inept interim constitution. Go back to London and stay there. Please?

A slide show wouldn't be complete without a bombed home in the atypical Baghdad sandstorm...ahm, what a mesmerizing light. yea...ok. shut up lim.
And finally, a plea...or at least go away.

1 Story I was afraid to tell: My Cousin >THANK GOD< Missed Being A Casualty of the UN bombing by minutes BECAUSE Women have lost their RIGHTS in IRAQ

She needed an escort each day to work for Mr. de Mello. Ergo, with emphasis, she had to leave work a bit early each day with an escort because it was too dangerous for her without a male relative or friend to drive her home. So she was saved because she lost her rights. Does that blow your mind? It still blows my mind. The year anniversary is approaching...and so are many problems that many wish to ignore in these dynamic times. U tell me something good that is happening in Iraq and I can tell you 5-10 things bad that are happening as a direct result of this war without an end. Now, what we do is crucial to how the situation in Iraq and the world at-large either improves or deteriorates. God bless those in Spain that have suffered...God bless their families and friends too. Why? Did it have to be this way? And why do ridiculous and avoidable mistakes continue to be made? Do I have the right as an American and a deeply concerned Iraqi to ask these questions? We must speak out. We must tell our stories. Or else we are nothing...we fade away into history similar, in a way, like the Japanese at the Internment Camps. But they never had the chance to so quickly state their case and tell their stories. We are marginal and meaningless when divided. When united, our voice may be a beacon of light to empower Iraqis to actively seek a brighter future one day at a time...for security, for peace. So, to accomplish this we must be efficient and willing to sacrifice some time, some peice of mind, and take care of our loved ones at all costs necessary.

I was speaking with my dear brother today and he asked me what was the percentage of the population of Spain that were on the street protesting. We came up with a rough number of 15-25 percent, between 6-12 million people out of just over 40 million people. We both said we want and wish the same percentage of people to go out on to the streets in a non-violent manner and protest this war without an end, here, in the US. That would be roughly 40-75 million people. We laugh at each other in frustration. But then part each other with words of encouragement. And encouragement is all I shall ever offer anybody that will tell THEIR story. Make no mistake, my dear friends. Tell YOUR story. Furor scribendi!!! LOVE PEOPLE not places. DO NOT just love what you can GET OUT of people or places.

>>> Here's Robert Fisk's latest news report from Baghdad <<<

Focus: One year on - war without end
Saddam may be gone but peace has not come. Robert Fisk was in Baghdad when the tyrant was in his pomp and when the first bombs fell on 19 March 2003. His acclaimed reports revealed the suffering of the Iraqi people. Now, as the anniversary of the war approaches, he returns to a land riven by chaos, where liberation is a myth
14 March 2004

The surviving Iraqi employees of the United Nations fearfully changed the plates on their white, unmarked vehicles last week. From now on, there will be no "UN" next to the registration number. When I visited the headquarters of the Muslim Red Crescent society to talk to the lone representative of the Red Cross, the man at the desk fingered my business card and looked into my eyes with palpable fear - as if an Englishman was a potential suicide bomber.

At night, in my grubby hotel, I listen for gunfire and fear the attack which so many of the guests have been predicting for weeks. Will the bombers arrive at dinner-time when the South African and British mercenaries come clanking back from their "security duties", all Heckler and Koch automatics, silver pistols and black flak jackets, ready for their beers and cheap French vin rouge? Or at 6am, just after the fajr dawn prayers, their Islamic souls cleansed for self-immolation amid the infidels and crusaders? I count the minutes between 6am and 8am, the hours when they most often strike. I've lost count of the number of times my bedroom windows have rattled at breakfast-time.

When Haidar and Mohamed arrive to take me off to Mosul or Basra or Najaf, I feel relief. On the road south, we all wear kuffiah scarves round our heads now, two Iraqis and an Englishmen pretending to be tribal toughs to avoid the killers on Highway 8. We were driving down there at first light last week - ah, the relief to be away from my hotel at that hour of the morning - when the US presidential envoy to Iraq, Paul Bremer, came on the car radio. We were just approaching the spot where two American civilians working for the occupation authorities had been shot dead by men in Iraqi police uniform. The car radio crackled away. Things are improving in Iraq, Bremer told us. Haidar and Mohamed and I exchanged glances, eyes crinkling beneath our scarves. Then our car was filled with hollow laughter.

A year ago, there were no problems on Highway 8. The monstrous old tyrant Saddam had seen to that. If robbers had been looting and raping north of Basra since the 1991 Gulf War, Baghdad was law-and-order land. There the looting and raping was done by the government, not the people. Now it's the other way round. I still have a souvenir of my last pre-war flight into Baghdad, my baggage tag on the last Royal Jordanian aircraft into pre-invasion Iraq, the very final airliner to touch down in the dictatorship. "Saddam Hussein International Airport," it says. We passengers were fleeced as usual at the terminal. Ten dollars to immigration, $20 to the man who checked my computer, $40 to the guy who accepted the paper from the man who had taken the $20, and another $20 to the soldiers at the gate.

It was raining outside and our tyres hissed on the highway, but Baghdad was illuminated like a Christmas tree. The mosques were floodlit, the Iraqi police cars dozing beneath the palm trees, the foliage rich and sweet-smelling under the street lamps. Didn't they know, I kept asking myself? Didn't they realise what was coming?

I remember the last night before war. I had gone to buy toilet rolls and bandages, observing a soldier in uniform carrying his young son on his shoulders. Last leave, I thought. Did Iraqi soldiers write poems like Sassoon and Owen? Or was it just Saddam's infantile novels that they read on their way to the front? In the pharmacy, I joked with the chemist that he was kind to sell me bandages when the RAF might be bombing him within hours.

"Yes," he said. "I rather think they will."

We all had our "minders" then, Saddam's lads from the corrupt old ministry of information whose job was to steer us away from the paths of political unrighteousness and towards the sclerotic anti-American street demonstrations and the interminable press conferences of junior ministers. But after a while, once their own bosses had been paid off, we paid the minders too, bought them from their government allegiance until they were taking us where we wanted to go, even into the firestorm of America's armour, the Iraqi army dead bouncing in the back of the pick-ups in front of us.

The first bombs struck 20 miles from Baghdad, orange glows that wallowed along the horizon. They came for Baghdad next day, and the Cruise missiles swished over our heads to explode around the presidential palace compound, the very pile where Paul Bremer, America's supposed expert on terrorism, now works and hides as occupation proconsul over the Anglo-American Raj.

The illusions with which the Americans and British went to war seem more awesome now than they did at the time. Saddam, the man the British and Americans loved when he invaded Iran and hated when he invaded Kuwait (pet dictators have got to learn that only our enemies can be attacked), had already degenerated into senility, writing epic novels in his many palaces while his crippled son Uday drank and whored and tortured his way around Baghdad; a classic Middle East tale from the city of a thousand and one nights but hardly the target for the world's only superpower.

As the American 101st Infantry Division approached Baghdad, one of the last editions of the Baathist newspapers carried a telling photograph on its back page. A uniformed, tired, fat Saddam stood in the centre, on his left his smartly dressed son Qusay but on his right Uday, his eyes dilated, shirt out of his trousers, a pistol butt above his belt, the beloved son gone to seed and drugs. Who would ever fight to the death for these triple pillars of the Arab world?

Yet Saddam thought he could win; that destiny - a dangerous ally for all "strongmen" - would somehow lay low the Americans. It was always fascinating to listen to Mohamed al-Sahaf, the information minister, predicting America's doom. It was not just Iraqi patriots who would destroy the great armies invading Iraq; the heat would burn them; the desert would consume them; the snakes and rabid dogs would eat their bodies. Not since the Caliphate had such curses been called down upon an invader. Was it not Tariq Aziz who warned Washington in 1990 that 18 million Iraqis could not be defeated by a computer? And then the computer won. President Bush and Prime Minister Blair had a remarkably parallel set of nightmares and dreams, encouraged by the right-wing, neo-conservative, pro-Israeli American Vulcans, who did so much to bring about this catastrophe and who - now that everything is falling to pieces - are working so hard to minimise their pre-war ideological importance. To them Saddam was the all-powerful, evil state terrorist whose non-existent weapons of mass destruction and equally non-existent connections to the perpetrators of the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington must be laid low.

Liberation, Democracy, a New Middle East. There was no end to the ambitions of the conquerors. I remember how anyone who attempted to debunk this dangerous nonsense would be set upon. Try to explain the crimes against humanity of 11 September 2001, and you were anti-American. Warn readers about the crazed alliance of right-wingers behind President Bush and you were anti-Semites. Report on the savagery visited upon Iraqi civilians during the Anglo-American air bombardment and you were anti-British, pro-Saddam, sleeping with the enemy. When Blair's first "dossier" was published - most of it, anyway, was old material on Saddam's human rights abuses, not weapons of mass destruction - the beast's weapons capability was already hedged around with "mights" and "coulds" and "possiblys". When a day after Baghdad's "liberation" I wrote in The Independent that the "war of resistance" was about to begin, I could have papered my bathroom wall with the letters of abuse I received. Letters like those no longer arrive.

But such venom usually accompanies broken dreams. Saddam thought he was fighting the Crusaders. Bush and Blair played equally childish games, dressing themselves up as Churchill, abusing their domestic enemies as Chamberlain and fitting Saddam into Hitler's uniform. I remember the sense of shock when I was watching Iraq's literally fading television screen and heard the first news of an Iraqi suicide bomber attacking US troops - during the invasion. It was a young soldier, a married man, who had driven his car bomb at the Americans near Nasiriyah. Never before had an Iraqi committed suicide in battle like this - not even in the Somme-like mud of the eight-year Iran-Iraq war. Then two women drove their car into the Americans in southern Iraq. This was astonishing.

The Americans dismissed it all. They were cowardly attacks which only showed the desperation of the regime, journalists were told. But those three Iraqis were not working for the regime. Even the Baathists were forced to admit that these attacks were unique and solely instigated by the soldier and the two women themselves.

What did this mean? Of course, we did not pause to ask. Then a new myth was created. The Iraqi army had melted away, abandoned Baghdad, changed into jeans and T-shirts and slunk off in cowardly disgrace. Baghdad was no Stalingrad. Yet that was to alter, dangerously, the narrative of Baghdad's last days. There was a fearful battle along Highway 1 on the western bank of the Tigris where Saddam's guerrillas fought off an American tank column for 36 hours, the US tanks spraying shellfire down a motorway until every vehicle - military and civilian - was a smouldering wreck. I walked the highway as the last shots were still being fired by snipers, peering into cars packed with the blackened corpses of men, women, children. Carpets and blankets had been thrown over several piles of the dead. In the back of one car lay a young, naked woman, her perfect features blackened by fire, her husband or father still sitting at the steering wheel, his legs severed below the knees. Sure, the Iraqi military had mixed themselves up amid the civilians; so in the end the Americans had fired at all of them. It was a massacre. Did we think the Iraqis would forget it?

What do we remember most now about those few terrible weeks a year ago? In war, all day you try to stay alive and all night you lie awake because the roar and explosion of aircraft and bombs are too loud for sleep. And then you have to stay awake and alive all next day. Is it any surprise that there comes a moment - when a man holds out to you what you think is half a loaf of bread and which turns out to be half a baby - that anger is the only integrity left? Cluster bombs are our creation. And I recall with a kind of raw amazement how, as American gunfire was swishing across the Tigris, I somehow reached the emergency room of Baghdad's biggest hospital and had to slosh through lakes of blood amid beds of screaming men, one of whom was on fire, another shrieking for his mother. Upstairs was a man on a soaked hospital trolley with a head wound that was almost indescribable. From his right eye socket hung a handkerchief that was streaming blood on to the floor.

For days, we in the city had seen the news tapes of Basra and Nasiriyah after "liberation". We had seen the looting and pillage there, benignly watched over by the British and Americans. We knew what would happen when the fighting stopped in Baghdad. And sure enough, a medieval army of looters followed the Americans into the city, burning offices, banks, archives, museums, Koranic libraries, destroying not just the structure of government but the identity of Iraq. The looters were disorganised but thorough, venal but poor. The arsonists came in buses with obvious pre-arranged targets, did not touch the contents of that which they destroyed. They were paid.

By whom? If by Saddam, then why - once the Americans were in Baghdad - did they not just pocket the money and go home? If they were paid post-burning, who paid them?

Of course, we found the mass graves, the hecatombs of Saddam's years of internal viciousness - for many of which the Western powers were his allies - and we photographed the tens of thousands of corpses, most of whom had been buried in the desert sand after the West failed to support the Kurdish and Shia uprisings. The "liberation" had come, as their grieving relatives never stopped telling us, a little late. About 20 years late, to be precise. Into this chaos and lawlessness, we arrived. Dissent was not to be tolerated among the victors. When I pointed out in The Independent that the "liberators" were "a new and alien and all-powerful occupying force with neither culture nor language nor race nor religion to unite them with Iraq", I was denounced by one of the BBC's commentators. See how the people love us, the Westerners cried - much as Saddam used to say when he took his fawning acolytes on visits to the people of Baghdad. There would be elections, constitutions, governing councils, money ... there was no end to the promises made to this tribal society called Iraq. Then in came the big American contractors and the conglomerates and the thousands of mercenaries, British, American, South African, Chilean - many of the last were soldiers under Pinochet - Nepalese and Filipino.

And when the inevitable war against the occupiers began, we - the occupying powers and, alas, most of the journalists - invented a new narrative to escape punishment for our invasion. Our enemies were Saddam's "diehards", Baathist "remnants", regime "dead-enders". Then the occupation forces killed Uday and Qusay and pulled Saddam from his hole in the ground and the resistance grew fiercer. So our enemies were now both "remnants" and "foreign fighters" - al-Qa'ida - since ordinary Iraqis could not be in the resistance. We had to believe this. For had Iraqis joined the guerrillas, how could we explain that they didn't love their "liberators"?

At first, journalists were encouraged to explain that the insurgents came only from a few Sunni cities, "previously loyal to Saddam". Then the resistance was supposedly confined to Iraq's "Sunni triangle", but as the attacks leached north and south to Nasiriyah, Karbala, Mosul and Kirkuk, it turned into an octagon. Again, journalists were told about "foreign fighters" - a failure to grasp the fact that 120,000 of the foreign fighters in Iraq were wearing American uniform.

Still there was no end to the mendacity of the occupation's "success". True, schools were rebuilt - and, shame upon the Iraqis involved, often looted a second time - and hospitals restored and students returned to college. But oil output figures were massaged and exaggerated and attacks on the Americans falsified. At first, the occupying power only reported guerrilla attacks in which soldiers were killed or wounded. Then, when no one could hide the 60 or so assaults every night, the troops themselves were ordered not to make formal reports on bombings or attacks which caused no casualties. But by the war's first anniversary, every foreigner was a target.

In the meantime, the suicide bomber came into his own. The Turkish embassy, the Jordanian embassy, the United Nations, police stations across the land - 600 new Iraqi cops slaughtered in less than four months - and then the great shrines of Najaf and Karbala. The Americans and British warned of the dangers of civil war - so did the journalists, of course - although no Iraqi had ever been heard to utter any demand for conflict with their fellow citizens. Who actually wanted this "civil war"? Why would the Sunnis - a minority in the country - allow al-Qa'ida to bring this about when they could not defeat the occupying power without at least passive Shia support?

While I was writing this report, my phone rang and a voice asked me if I would meet a man downstairs, a middle-aged Iraqi and a teacher at Cardiff College who had recently returned to Iraq, only to realise the state of fear and pain in which his country now existed. His mother, he said, had just raised a million Iraqi dinars to pay a ransom for a local woman whose daughter and daughter-in-law were kidnapped by armed men in Baghdad in January. The two girls had just called from Yemen where they had been sold into slavery. Another of his neighbours had just received her 17-year-old son after paying $5,000 to gunmen in the Karada area of Baghdad. Two days ago - it is Friday as I am writing this - kidnappers grabbed another child, this time in Mansour, and are now demanding $200,000 for his life. A close relative of my visitor - and remember this is just one man's experience out of a population of 26 million Iraqis - had also just survived a bloody attack on his car outside Karbala. Driving south after winning a contract to run a garage in the city, he and his 11 companions in their AKEA vehicle were last week overtaken by men firing pistols at the car. One man died - he had 30 bullets in his body - and the relative, swamped in the blood of his friends, was the only man unwounded.

Not surprisingly, the occupation authorities decline to keep statistics on the number of Iraqis who have died since the "liberation" - or during the invasion, for that matter - and prefer to talk about the "handover of sovereignty" from one American-appointed group of Iraqis to another, and to the constitution which is only temporary and may well fall apart before real elections are held - if they are held - next year. If we could have foreseen all this - if we could have been patient and waited for the UN arms inspectors to finish their job rather than go to war and plead for patience later, when our own inspectors couldn't find those oh so terrible weapons - would we have gone so blithely to war a year ago?

For that war has not ended. There has been no "end of major combat operations", just an invasion and an occupation that merged seamlessly into a long and ferocious war for liberation from the "liberators". Just as the British invaded Iraq in 1917, proclaiming their determination to bring Iraqis liberation from their tyrants - General Maude used those very words - so we have repeated this grim narrative today. The British who died in the subsequent Iraqi war of resistance lie now in the North Gate Cemetery on the edge of Baghdad, an enduring if largely neglected symbol of the folly of our occupation.


GRRRRR!!!! Prof Cole says it...I'm NOT in the MOOD to recreate, in my own words, the following. Because I've already addressed this on 2other BLOGS.

US Intelligence Follies: Why Haven't Cheney, Feith and Chalabi been Impeached? (click to get Prof Cole's original post)

While everyone is beating up on John Kerry for letting it slip he thinks the Bushies are crooked, we might ponder the sort of thing that might have led him to this impression.

It seems fairly obvious by now that the Bush administration likes being lied to. It is even paying for the privilege of being screwed over. This is sort of reverse crooked. It is to crookedness as sado-masochism is to sex. But there are grounds for suspicion of out and out crookedness, too. Reuters reports (as will all the major newspapers today) that the Defense Intelligence Agency is paying Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress $340,000 per month for "intelligence." The INC is the organization that lied to the US until it was blue in the face, falsely claiming it knew for sure that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction stockpiles and weapons. It supplied single-source reports from defectors that were full of tale tales.

Chalabi, who has gotten the US into a quagmire in Iraq, is completely unrepentant. "We're in Baghdad," he says. That makes all the lies all right. He even went so far, in a 60 Minutes interview, as to blame the US intelligence agencies for actually believing the cock and bull stories his people fed them. 'Don't they have fact checkers?' he seemed to say.

Most recently, Chalabi joined a 5-man Shiite dissident group that tried to derail the signing of the interim constitution. This is a man whose organization is getting $4 million a year from the US, and he was screwing Bremer and Bush over royally! It came out that in the 1970s the CIA had put King Hussein of Jordan on its payroll. But in comparison, he turns out to have been a cheap date, and a rather more reliable one than Chalabi. Although the Defense Intelligence Agency is saying that the Iraqi National Congress supplies it with good intelligence, I find it difficult to believe that you couldn't get even better intelligence in Iraq by having DIA agents on the ground just use the $4 million for local informants. You worry about the disinformation Chalabi may be supplying them with. Have any of his personal enemies been picked up?

This revelation follows testimony by CIA director George Tenet that he has had to run around asking high Bush administration officials like Dick Cheney to please not hype intelligence to make it say things that are not in evidence. It turns out that Cheney has been recommending the highly questionable Feith dossier on supposed pre-war links between Saddam and al-Qaeda to people. (Wanna bet Chalabi and his people supplied all those supposed anecdotes in the first place?).

And, it turns out that Feith's Office of Special Plans, a Neocon Pentagon operation linked to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's similar rogue office, briefed high White House officials without the presence or knowledge of George Tenet. What intelligence did it supply them? Why, red-hot reports directly from . . . the Iraqi National Congress.

It turns out further that Chalabi's nephew Salem works for the same Israel-based law firm as Doug Feith (when Doug is not in office), and has set up a Baghdad branch of it. All parties concerned deny influence-peddling, but if Doug Feith has any authority at all over the payment of $4 million a year to the uncle of the partner of his law firm, this smells bad.

More recently it transpires that Nour USA, run by Chalabi friend A. Huda Farouki, probably low-balled the Pentagon with a bid to provide military equipment to the new Iraqi army, which it won. The company had no experience with such provisioning, and its bid was denounced by competitors as unrealistically low. (In US government bidding, the lowest bid usually wins, but it has to be clear that the bid is realistic.) In this case, the Pentagon appears not to have visited the companies competing with Nour to explore their pricing, which is usually done. Poland and Spain were royally pissed off that their companies lost out to Nour USA, and they suspected cronyism. Finally the Pentagon cancelled the contract.

So, my question is, why isn't Ahmad Chalabi impeached? He was appointed to the Interim Governing Council by the United States government. He presumably serves at its pleasure. He has more or less openly admitted to providing it grossly inaccurate "intelligence." He is still being paid for intelligence provision, nevertheless. His nephew seems to be trading on a personal relationship with the Undersecretary of Defense for Planning, Douglas Feith. His friend seems to be involved in sharp business practices with Pentagon contracts. And, he is still wanted in Jordan, where he was indicted over a decade ago for having embezzled $300 million from a bank he was running in Amman in the 1980s. Would a person around whom there were all these questions get appointed to a high government post in a democratic country that practiced the principle of accountability? If not, why should he be foisted on the poor Iraqi people?

And, why isn't Feith impeached? Why was he allowed to usurp Tenet's role? Why isn't Cheney impeached? Either they lied or they were so gullible that neither should still be in office.

Cheney's own dishonesty comes out in Ron Susskind's book, based on interviews and documents from former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill. The anecdote is that Cheney wanted to go for a second gargantuan tax cut on his billionnaire buddies. Even W. balked, and asked whether it wasn't time to do something for the middle class. Cheney roared back, no! this is our due! we won the mid-term elections. Cheney didn't say, "A second tax cut will benefit the middle class." He doesn't care about the middle class. The "our" in "our due" is people making seven figures and up. Now, of course, the Bush administration keeps saying that its tax cuts on the super-wealthy are making us all rich. But then Alan Greenspan came along and revealed that the way they were going to be paid for was actually to cut social security payments for the middle and working classes. (Before social security, the elderly were the poorest group in America, and we are heading back that way under this administration).

The answer to the question about impeachment, of course, is that the Republicans control all three branches of government. In such a virtual one-party state, accountability goes out the window. One worries that that is the real lesson the new rulers of Iraq will take from their American mentors.
posted by Juan Cole at 3/11/2004 09:19:15 AM

The Brzezinski Factor and Questions of Faith - Agora Crosspost

Zbigniew Brzezinski was the national security advisor for President Carter. That aside, the man wrote a compelling book called "The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives" that I recommend for anybody to check out. There are excerpts of it all over the place online. Google it. It verges upon prophecy at times. But it's intelligently written and ominous. Not to mention it was a book that was put on some sort of "watch-list" to see who would check it out of libraries in the US. A friend and I read this book in 1998...you could imagine, if you've read it, what I'm talking about when I say it is ominous. At the time, though, we photocopied the entire book because we didn't want our precccccious (heehee) US gov. to know we knew what was in it. You see, we were visionary revolutionaries or idealistic youths...either or. harhar matey! Or better yet, casting bad conotations aside, visionary youths. Now Brzezinski has contributed to the NY Times, tomorrow's edition, 8 March 2004 with a peice called, "The Wrong Way to Sell Democracy to the Arab World" It's worth a read...(click!)

Torshe, as for who did it?...who knows. confusion seems deliberately rampant. my gut tells me something smells funny, but my heart tells me that worse things may approach yet...and this is but a normal step in an already sick situation. I'm blunt mitil imm'i...what can i say. my brain...well, my brain is just filled with too much information regarding the incident. dissemination underway...brain working like the hourglass on the screen. i hate that.

and just to make this clear. i am a very spiritual person...but particular religion (systems) slow down my ability to render my thoughts discernable to others in a manageable, coherent, and dignified way...and, it's a matter of my age I think. I'm not mature enough to just say, "oh yea, the One God...He is Him...and All..." I say, for instance, why cant He be a She? Why does He have to have long hair and look like that? I must question everything....And so, right now, I'm a philosopher and I will remain one until I get "born-again", God speaks to me, or something like that...seriously. I'm being serious...religion makes things simple and more cumbersome at the same time. I greatly admire those with faith in any monotheistic religion...or any religion for that matter (that believes in good, honor, dignity, and things of this nature). My family are many of these wonderful people. But I'm too curious to resign to any particular religion. I do enjoy the Assyrian Orthodox mass that i grew up with...the remarkable chanting in Aramaic, Latin and Arabic, the traditions are so vivid and beautiful...what fabulous spectacles that send chills down my spine just thinking about! And finally, I do believe in something greater...and this always keeps hope alive in me. And that something greater cannot be articulated as a person living on earth. So, Bush, Cheney, Feith, Perle, Ken Lay, Martha Stewart, Michael Jackson, and even the Pope (pardon me to all the Catholics reading this)...NO, sorry. they are not greater than you or I. In the event God exists...(lets assume this)...He or She or It is everywhere. God touches everything...and He/She/It neither leaves a single soul behind....nor nothing out. I repeat, God is everywhere.

ominscience and omnipotence...is that what God is about or only part of what God is about? Answer me this. Isn't this too simple-minded? or is it just me? I know...big question that must meet many interpretations, but try to answer it as in exercise in your faith. And of course, I'll be most interested to hear your replies. Email me.


small advice: celebrate difference! do not make it a point to divide peoples...brothers should NOT kill brothers as they did in Lebanon. We must avoid this type of situation at all costs.

L to the L

What Makes Me Cringe

the whole chalabi/sistani alliance thing...if that's what you could call it. Honestly, I have NO IDEA what you would call it other than political maneuvering on the part of chalabi to restore some position of influence/leverage in the HOPEFULLY new and UNOCCUPIED FREE IRAQ. Boy, these bastids are frothing at the mouth...tearing peice by peice out of the Iraq we once knew...and the one they never knew. I SAY NO TO the 3 or 5 "presidents" system...and that's all for now.

Who or What could save the day now?

eufff ya eufff....


OKAY OKAY, I'm the OVER-REACTOR...leave me alone.

Salam is fine.

And me...ha! I was writing, "God be with you" (to Salam)....me of all people. But, I was honestly scared...and when you see the terrible events unfold in the ever-over-dramatized manner as they were on Arab and Western media...well, you can't help but fear the worst and get really religious really fast.

Those of you who wrote...thank you. I'm sure Salam appreciates it. (I can't guarantee that tho! lol :) )

Sounds like Kerbala was an amazing experience...and my father tells me so many stories about that place....don't start me.

So all is well...I'll try to cross post this to Bakazay, but for now....Salam is fine. And we are thankful.




SMELL THAT SMELL....oooo IT'S MOM'S COOKING. Yella, I'm hungry...ciao,

This is not a laughing matter or a witty palindrome: Where is Salam?

Many in the Iraqi Blogosphere are extremely concerned about Salam, his family, and their whereabouts and well-being. Email me to pass along well-wishes to his friends in the Iraqi Blogosphere and to others that know him. Frankly, I'm freaked out about what has happened. The consequences of this horrific day have yet to resonate across Iraq and the region. And so, I hope Salam and his kin are safe and in good health. Because many of us knew, River and I...and many many others, according to a post he wrote that he would be making the trip to Karbala with his family. So...email me. I will later post these emails on this blog and the Agora. We want to know where Salam & his family are and how they are doing as soon as possible. Expect a cross-post on the Agora.

Ma'ah salaam,

A Black Day

I write this as I hear and see what has happened. What a horrific, terrible, and black day. There is a long list of people that I feel are or could be responsible for this insanity. And included in this list are not just radical Sunnis, Baath "loyalists", Saddam loyalists, Al Qaeda, and Ansaar. In short, it's not just the usual suspects or alliance of suspects. This is completely unacceptable behavior and these acts must stop. And while I can complete that list for people, does it matter? does it matter if I tell people what I really think about this?

I urge you to not just accept what the current appointed leaders tell you. These people work off of logic. They logically assume (and explain to people) that this was done by Baathists loyal to Saddam and/or Al Qaeda. People like logic. I like logic. And it could be this logical: these were attacks done by Saddam loyalists. But these are illogical times. Remind yourselves it is convenient for them to say this over and over like robots with no actual care about Iraqis and the consequences of this day and events to come. Keep your ears peeled and thought pattern piqued. Also, read widely and the clues will build up. Iraqis have every right to be suspicious of the events conspiring. Especially when you consider the following things:

(I will complete this post later. Now, I am sad for all Iraqis. Let's be smart about this, or else we risk more violence.)

Can you sign a de facto interim constitution when you are in national mourning? I say, bad start...both literally and symbolically. (i'll explain, more fully, why i ask
this later.)

Until I finish the post, here are some words from Robert Fisk. He asks several important questions. Click here for the below article.

March 2, 2004

A Convenient Carnage
All This Talk of Civil War, Now This
The Independent

Odd, isn't it? There never has been a civil war in Iraq. I have never heard a single word of animosity between Sunnis and Shias in Iraq.

Al-Qa'ida has never uttered a threat against Shias - even though al-Qa'ida is a Sunni-only organisation. Yet for weeks, the American occupation authorities have been warning us about civil war, have even produced a letter said to have been written by an al-Qa'ida operative, advocating a Sunni-Shia conflict. Normally sane journalists have enthusiastically taken up this theme. Civil war.

Somehow I don't believe it. No, I don't believe the Americans were behind yesterday's carnage despite the screams of accusation by the Iraqi survivors yesterday. But I do worry about the Iraqi exile groups who think that their own actions might produce what the Americans want: a fear of civil war so intense that Iraqis will go along with any plan the United States produces for Mesopotamia.

I think of the French OAS in Algeria in 1962, setting off bombs among France's Muslim Algerian community. I recall the desperate efforts of the French authorities to set Algerian Muslim against Algerian Muslim which led to half a million dead souls.

And I'm afraid I also think of Ireland and the bombings in Dublin and Monaghan in 1974, which, as the years go by, appear to have an ever closer link, via Protestant "loyalist" paramilitaries, to elements of British military security.

But the bombs in Karbala and Baghdad were clearly co-ordinated. The same brain worked behind them. Was it a Sunni brain? When the occupation authorities' spokesman suggested yesterday that it was the work of al-Qa'ida, he must have known what he was saying: that al-Qa'ida is a Sunni movement, that the victims were Shias.

It's not that I believe al-Qa'ida incapable of such a bloodbath. But I ask myself why the Americans are rubbing this Sunni-Shia thing so hard. Let's turn the glass round the other way. If a violent Sunni movement wished to evict the Americans from Iraq - and there is indeed a resistance movement fighting very cruelly to do just that - why would it want to turn the Shia population of Iraq, 60 per cent of Iraqis, against them? The last thing such a resistance would want is to have the majority of Iraqis against it.

So what about al-Qa'ida? Repeatedly, the Americans have told us that the suicide bombers were "foreigners". And so they may be. But can we have some identities, nationalities? The US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, has talked of the hundreds of "foreign" fighters crossing Saudi Arabia's "porous" borders.

The US press have dutifully repeated this. The Iraqi police keep announcing that they have found the bombers' passports, so can we have the numbers?

We are entering a dark and sinister period of Iraqi history. But an occupation authority which should regard civil war as the last prospect it ever wants to contemplate, keeps shouting "civil war" in our ears and I worry about that. Especially when the bombs make it real.