Archive for May, 2007

Hersh on Lebanon massacre

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

Seymour Hersh wrote about tacit US support through the Lebanon government for al-Qaida-connected Fatha el Islam in a stunning February New Yorker piece

CNN Hersh interview video on the “attempt by the Lebanese government to crack down on a militant Sunni group, Fatah al-Islam, that it formerly supported”

Hersh issued an update today on CNN International giving the context of recent events, reported by Raw Story (w/transcript) HERE.

Internet Explorer difficulties

Friday, May 18th, 2007

I just never use Internet Explorer so I didn’t notice that my CSS mods on the WordPress default theme do not render my header correctly in IE. Sorry. Please use Firefox, everything is perfect there. But I will look into fixing this….

You can't handle the truth

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

How two-thirds million civilians can die in Iraq while hardly anyone in America notices

From a New York Times story on a military hearing concerning a Marine lawyer’s failure to report a now notorious slaughter of Iraqi civilians, the Haditha massacre:

On Friday Major McCann, an experienced Marine lawyer, interjected some unsettling questions about how many civilian deaths it would take to constitute a violation of military regulations.

Alluding to Haditha, he asked, “At what point do we have to scratch our heads that we killed a lot more civilians than enemy?”

Because so many witnesses had testified that civilian deaths from “combat action” need not be investigated, Major McCann said, “I’m trying to figure out what authority they are citing.”

The witness testifying then, Col. Keith R. Anderson, a senior Marine Reserve lawyer now with the Department of the Navy, delivered a succinct and telling answer. “There is no authority,” he said. “I think it’s just a mind-set.”

Of course, the Times frames this as a legitimate dilemma because the real bad guys are “a ruthless insurgency that uses civilians as cover and disregards the laws of conflict taught in the United States.”

It is just so hard for Americans with the big guns who are sent from half-way around the world to sort all this out using the moral goodness we’ve been taught in our deeply ethical rules of conflict.

Republican debate: codpiece contest

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

God bless Ron Paul

Patriotic link to Republican debate story:,2933,272719,00.html

Even John McCain, the Arizona senator and frontrunner in South Carolina, said he was impressed by Giuliani’s performance at the debate. Giuliani won the strongest applause of Tuesday night’s first-in-the-South Republican primary debate at the University of South Carolina when he took exception to Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s suggestion that the United States’ interventionist policy invited the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“I thought Mayor Giuliani’s intercession there was appropriate and frankly very, very excellent. I really appreciated it because we should never believe that we brought on this conflict. This is an evil force that is trying to destroy everything we stand for,” McCain said.

One of the highlights of the debate came when Paul said the United States has been bombing Iraq for 10 years and doesn’t understand how the Middle East operates.

“Right now, we’re building an embassy in Iraq that is bigger than the Vatican. We’re building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting,” Paul said in explaining his opposition to going to war in Iraq.

“They are delighted that we’re over there because Usama bin Laden has said, ‘I’m glad you’re over on our sand because we can target you so much easier.’ They have already now since that time they’ve killed 3,400 of our men and I don’t think it was necessary,” he continued.

Lord almighty, they’re debating what happens on the TV series “24” as if it’s real! Ominous Romney out-Rudies Giuliani here, calling for a “double Guantanamo”:

Nightmarish Vision

The candidates also were asked to respond to a hypothetical scenario — homicide bombings at three shopping centers near major U.S. cities. With hundreds dead and thousands injured, a fourth attack is averted when the attackers are captured off the Florida coast and taken to Guantanamo Bay to be questioned. U.S. intelligence believes another, larger attack is planned and could come at any time. How aggressively should the detainees be interrogated about the where the next attack might be?

First to answer was McCain, a former POW in Vietnam who opposes the use of torture.

“We could never gain as much we would gain from that torture as we lose in world opinion. We do not torture people,” he said. “It’s not about the terrorists, it’s about us. It’s about what kind of country we are. And a fact: The more physical pain you inflict on someone, the more they’re going to tell you what they think you want to know.”

“In the hypothetical that you gave me, which assumes that we know that there’s going to be another attack and these people know about it, I would tell the people who had to do the interrogation to use every method they could think of. Shouldn’t be torture, but every method they can think of,” Giuliani said, adding that that could include waterboarding. “I’ve seen what can happen when you make a mistake about this, and I don’t want to see another 3,000 people dead in New York or anyplace else.”

“You said the person is going to be in Guantanamo. I’m glad they’re at Guantanamo. I don’t want them on our soil. I want them in Guantanamo where they don’t get the access to lawyers they get when they’re on our soil. I don’t want them in our prisons. I want them there. Some people have said we ought to close Guantanamo. My view is, we ought to double Guantanamo,” Romney said.

“Let me just say, this would take a one-minute conversation with the secretary of defense,” Hunter said. “I would call him up or call him in, I would say to SecDef, in terms of getting information that would save American lives even if it involves very high-pressure techniques, one sentence: ‘Get the information.'”

“First of all, let me say that I would go to the U.N., but it would be to state an opinion and to take advantage of our rights under international law, not to go ask for permission,” Gilmore added.

Heaven help America. I think Digby has it just about right:

John McCain is the only adult on that stage and that scares the living hell out of me considering that he’s half nuts too. Wow.

I think Rudy won it. These people don’t care if he’s wearing a teddy under his suit and sleeping with the family schnauzer as long as he promises to spill as much blood as possible.

Friday nature blogging

Friday, May 11th, 2007

Garden/nature feature re-launches today

Baltimore oriole

Patience pays off

Friday garden blogging will be called Friday nature blogging this year. The past week revealed some splendid summer-like weather. It is turning into the best May in three years, the last two being plagued by interminable stretches of rain.

It took over an hour to get the picture–gives me great appreciation for good wildlife photographers.

Indifferent to their fate

Friday, May 11th, 2007

Blair says, “I did what I thought was right”

If he thinks that now, two-thirds million killings and the creation of four million refugees in Iraq during the Bush/Blair war reveals that Mr. Blair’s moral failure is utterly contemptible and he has zero insight into the rot of his own condition.

Patrick Cockburn sums up Blair pretty well today:

For four years he has nailed British colours to a failed US policy over which Britain has no significant influence. He has advertised a humiliating British dependency on Washington without gaining any advantages.

As for Iraqis, despite all his rhetoric about rescuing them from Saddam, he has been surprisingly indifferent to their fate.

Test post

Thursday, May 10th, 2007

The site was down for some period of time for unknown reasons. It’s back now.

Update: Still problems. All plugins deactivated…

Update: Not sure what this was all about, but everything seems to be back in working order now. I really didn’t do anything myself to fix it.