micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links

Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.

Please send him email at micahth@chartermi.net.

Holmquist's full archives are listed here.

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Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)

Aljazeera.Net English
AlterNet (War on Iraq)
Alternative Press Review
Always Low Prices -- Always
Another Irani online
antiwar.com (blog)
Asia Times Online
Axis of Logic
Baghdad Burning (riverbend)
BBC News
blogdex.net ("track this weblog")
The Christian Science Monitor (Daily Update)
Common Dreams
Daily Rotten
Democracy Now
The Drudge Report
Eat the Press (Harry Shearer, The Huffington Post)
Empire Notes (Rahul Mahajan)
frontpagemag.com (HorowitzWatch)
Guardian Unlimited
The Independent
Information Clearing House
Informed Comment (Juan Cole)
Iranians for Peace

Iraq Dispatches (Dahr Jamail)
Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation
Iraq Occupation and Resistance Report (Psychoanalysts for Peace and Justice)
Mr. Show and Other Comedy
The Narco News Bulletin (blog)
The New York Times
Occupation Watch
Political Theory Daily Review
Press Action
Project Syndicate
Raed in the Middle (Raed Jarrar)
The Simpsons Archive
Simpsons Collector Sector
Technorati ("search for mth.blogspot.com")
United States Central Command
U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq
War Report (Project on Defense Alternatives)
The Washington Post
Wildfire (Jo Wilding)
wood s lot
www.mnftiu.cc (David Rees)

Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)

Thivai Abhor
As'ad AbuKhalil
Ken Adrian
Christopher Allbritton
Douglas Anders
Mark W. Anderson
Aziz Ansari
Atomic Archive
James Benjamin
Elton Beard
Charlie Bertsch
alister black
Blame India Watch
Blog Left: Critical Interventions Warblog / war blog
Igor Boog
Martin Butler
Chris Campbell
James M. Capozzola
Avedon Carol
Elaine Cassel
cats blog
Jeff Chang
Margaret Cho
Citizens Of Upright Moral Character
Louis CK
Les Dabney
Natalie Davis
Scoobie Davis
The Day Job
Jodi Dean
Dominic Duval
Steve Earle
Daniel Ellsberg
Tom Engelhardt
Lisa English
Barbara Flaska
Brian Flemming
Joe Foster
Yoshie Furuhashi
Al Giordano
Rob Goodspeed
Grand Puba
Guardian Unlimited Weblog
Pete Guither
The Hairy Eyeball
Ray Hanania
Mark Hand
Hector Rottweiller Jr's Web Log Jim Henley Arvin Hill Hit & Run (Reason) Hugo Clark Humphrey Indri The Iraqi Agora Dru Oja Jay Jeff Lynne d Johnson Dallas Jones Julia Kane Blues Benjamin Kepple Ken Layne Phil Leggiere Brian Linse Adam Magazine Majority Report Radio Marc Maron Josh Marshall Jeralyn Merritt J.R. Mooneyham Michael Scott Moore Bob Morris Bob Mould Mr. Show and Tell Muslims For Nader/Camejo David Neiwert NewPages Weblog Aimee Nezhukumatathil Sean O'Brien Patton Oswalt The Panda's Thumb Randy Paul Rodger A. Payne Ian Penman politx Neal Pollack Greg Proops Pro-War.com Pure Polemics Seyed Razavi Rayne Simon Reynolds richardpryor.com Clay Richards Mike Rogers Yuval Rubinstein
Steven Rubio
Saragon Noah Shachtman Court Schuett The Simpsons Archive Amardeep Singh Sam Smith Soundbitten Jack Sparks Ian Spiers Morgan Spurlock Stand Down: The Left-Right Blog Opposing an Invasion of Iraq Aaron Stark Morgaine Swann Tapped (The American Prospect) tex Matthew Tobey Annie Tomlin Tom Tomorrow The University Without Condition Jesse Walker Warblogger Watch Diane Warth The Watchful Babbler The Weblog we have brains Matt Welch
Alex Whalen
Jon Wiener
Lizz Winstead
James Wolcott
Wooster Collective
Mickey Z

Tuesday, December 09, 2003
Stream of consciousness ranting

Having been away from the net over the weekend, I missed out on the excitement generated by Sunday's Telegraph piece by Con Coughlin on the 45 minute claim. (Thanks to Matthew Barganier of antiwar.com for the link.)

Coughlin's reports that Lieutenant-Colonel in the Iraqi army al-Dabbagh was a spy for the U.S. and Britain for "for more than seven years" and says he was the source of the claim by Team Blair -an experimental unit of Team Bush in matters such as these- that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction could "be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them". [sic] This part was particularly interesting:

Saddam was well aware that Iraq could not possibly win a conventional military conflict against a US-led coalition, and in early 2002 he gave orders for large quantities of weapons to be hidden at strategic locations throughout the country. "The battle with America is inevitable," the document states. "What is of paramount importance is how to sustain the continuation of war after occupation."

To that end Saddam ordered that 30 per cent of the country's weaponry be hidden at secret locations which were to be marked by Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) co-ordinates. These were to include guns, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank weapons and Strella surface-to-air missiles (such as the one fired at the DHL cargo plane last month).

The only people who knew the precise location of all the arms caches were Saddam, his son Qusay and Abid Hamid Mahmud, his private secretary, since captured by coalition forces...

According to Lt Col al-Dabbagh, it was at about this time that he and other senior commanders were informed that Saddam intended to deploy his WMD arsenal to defend the country against an American-led attack. At a meeting that took place six months before the war, one of Saddam's senior officials told a group of Iraqi air defence commanders that they had many weapons that could be used to attack the US and UK.

"They told us that they [coalition troops] cannot pass across Iraq because we will use everything, from the knife to nuclear weapons, to defend ourselves," said Lt Col al-Dabbagh...

Convinced that the weapons are still hidden in Iraq, Lt Col al-Dabbagh doesn't believe any of them will be found until Saddam is caught or killed. "All the people who worked on these weapons have either escaped or disappeared. Only when Saddam is captured will these people talk openly about these weapons. Then they will reveal where they are."

So, according to this guy, those targeting the occupation forces may have nukes. And these efforts are part of an effort to restore Saddam Hussein's rule. If true, all those warm fuzzies about "the threat" of Saddam using weapons of mass destruction having been eliminated are off the mark.

Now admittedly, it is bit much to think these fighters are just waiting for the right moment to use the nukes and other weapons of mass destruction but no more of a stretch than believing that Saddam desperately wanted to attack the U.S. and had the ability to do so but after over 11 years just hadn't bothered to get around to it. One has to wonder if al-Dabbagh told his employers about these nukes and, if so, what they thought of the claim.

It is perhaps reasonable think that hawks like Glenn Reynolds and Andrew Sullivan who have promoted this story would be worried about this. But they're not, largely I suspect because, I suspect, a "threat" doesn't exist for many, perhaps even most, of them until they are told it does.

Then there's this:

[al-Dabbagh] believes that the only reason these weapons were not used during Operation Iraqi Freedom last spring is that the bulk of the Iraqi army refused to fight for Saddam.

"The West should thank God that the Iraqi army decided not to fight," he said. "If the army had fought for Saddam, and used these weapons, there would have been terrible consequences."

Lt Col al-Dabbagh has no idea what became of the weapons because shortly before hostilities commenced he was recalled to Iraq's air defence headquarters in Baghdad, although he believes that most of them were taken away by Saddam's Fedayeen and hidden away.

He did, however, see a group of Fedayeen attempt to use one of the warheads against an American position on the outskirts of Baghdad on April 6. "They were going to use this weapon, but then they realised that they would kill lots of Iraqis who did not have masks, so they put them in their cars and drove off."

And I thought "the terrorists" didn't mind killing Iraqis.

I'm glad that this story was published and that the details are out but if false, it tells nothing. If true, it says Iraq wasn't a threat in any manner.

Jim Henley has more as does Phil Reeves in yesterday's Independent:

Officials within the Iraqi occupation authorities are puzzling over a British newspaper's interview with a man purporting to be an Iraqi colonel who said he believed he was the source of the Government's claim that Saddam Hussein could launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes...

...last night, question-marks were gathering around the story, not least over the man's claims that the Iraqi-made WMD warheads were to be fired on the battlefield by hand-held rocket-propelled grenade launchers, a weapon of very limited range.

The interviewee was identified only as Lt-Col al-Dabbagh, 40, who was the "head of an Iraqi air defence unit in the western desert". He was also interviewed by the American network channel, NBC. The channel reported that the colonel said Iraqi troops were under orders from Saddam to use "primitive short-range biological and chemical warheads fired from rocket-propelled grenade launchers, tactical weapons of mass destruction transported at the dead of night and handled only by Saddam's secret service." In the end, these orders were ignored because they chose not to fight.

However, sections of the transcript of the NBC interview that the network did not broadcast were aired on the ITV News Channel, which has a partnership with NBC. In one, the colonel was asked by NBC's Baghdad correspondent why he was so sure that these were chemical or biological weapons...

"We cannot determine exactly, but the procedures taken show that these were indeed WMD," he said. "It might have been chemical or biological but it was definitely unconventional weapons."

Yeah, I know, this news is terrifying. I'm sure Saddam would have killed every American he could have you just hours after the U.S. invaded if it were not for the invasion.


anti-antiwar.com is an entertaining site. I'm particularly appreciative of this wisdom:

"Moral" opposition?

Let's ignore the fact that innocent people die every day and tackle the absurdity of "moral opposition" to this (and really any) war. For starters, our military had been involved in Iraq for a long time before the first day of Gulf War II. American and British jets had been dropping bombs on Iraqi target on an almost nightly basis. This had been going on for a more than a decade. So why all this opposition now? Is there something about a formal (or informal) state of war that is so much worse than the unofficial version of military engagement? If anything, one could argue that from a purely moral standpoint, what had been going on before was worse. Then there's this argument about "innocent Iraqi children dying". While some innocent Iraqi children may have accidentally died, and may continue to die, let's look at what they're giving up, ok? A meaningless existence under a ruthless dictator. You want to talk morality? One could argue--from a purely moral standpoint--that sitting by while generation after generation of poor Iraqi children suffer physically, economically, psychologically, spiritually, and otherwise at the hands of their dictator is WORSE than risking the deaths of a few of them to ultimately liberate them from said dictator.

By this logic, those people murdered by Saddam's regime got lucky since they didn't have to continue to live their "meaningless existence under a ruthless dictator." That said, I'm confused about why those Iraqis who now die are giving up "[a] meaningless existence under a ruthless dictator." Don't they have "freedom" and all those good things now?

Niko Price of the AP has an interesting story yesterday:

Saddam Hussein's government may have executed 61,000 Baghdad residents, a number significantly higher than previously believed, according to a survey obtained Monday by The Associated Press...

The survey, which the polling firm planned to release on Tuesday, asked 1,178 Baghdad residents in August and September whether a member of their household had been executed by Saddam's regime. According to Gallup, 6.6 percent said yes.

The polling firm took metropolitan Baghdad's population - 6.39 million - and average household size - 6.9 people - to calculate that 61,000 people were executed during Saddam's rule. Most are believed to have been buried in mass graves...

Richard Burkholder, who headed Gallup's Baghdad team, said the numbers in Baghdad could be high for two reasons: People may have understood ``household'' to be broader than just the people living at their address; and some families may have moved to the capital from other areas since the executions occurred.

``Anecdotal accounts start to support it, but they don't get you to 60,000,'' he said in a telephone interview from Princeton, N.J...

The survey, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, was conducted in face-to-face interviews in Baghdad residents' homes from Aug. 28 and Sept. 4.

The people were selected at random from all geographic sectors of the Baghdad metropolitan area, and more than nine in 10 agreed to participate. That's at least double the response rate for many U.S. telephone polls.

No big deal.

In other news, Uncle Sam has apologized for the traditional act of killing nine Afghan children. I'm not sure if their lives were worth living, but I can't believe that people are mourning the deaths of U.S. soldiers. They weren't celebrating freedom so fuck them!

While this theory is unassailable, it is unclear if it is a good thing or a bad thing when someone prematurely dies when their life currently wasn't worth living but could possibly become worth living in the future. Hopefully anti-antiwar.com will soon draw a clear dichotomy between premature violent deaths of civilians that are humanitarian acts and those that should prompt a theoretically never-ending war.

Seriously, opponents of invading Iraq need to recognize that the invasion probably did a lot of good while proponents should admit that most of their fellow travelers couldn't care less about the Iraqis.


In the December 3 edition of The Times, Simon Jenkins writes:

American strategists in Iraq are contemplating what they have always denied, the search for a "strong man with a moustache" to stop the present rot. If the result is not democracy, so be it. If the result is the dismemberment of Iraq, so be it. Iraq has become a mess. There is only one priority, to "get out with dignity".

This strategy is now being rammed down the throat of the Pentagon proconsul in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, by George Bush's new "realist" Deputy National Security Adviser, Bob Blackwill. He answers to Condoleezza Rice, not Donald Rumsfeld, and is the new boss of Iraq. The Pentagon, Mr Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, architects of the old "idealist" strategy, are in retreat. The Iraqi Governing Council, which Mr Bremer reluctantly created, will be disbanded. Washington must find someone with whom it can do business, someone who can deliver order in return for power.

That search is Mr Blackwill's job.

While Seymour Hersh has a much different take in this week's New Yorker, it is similar to what Robin Wright and Walter Pincus wrote in the November 30 edition of The Washington Post and if Jenkins' report is correct, it makes plain the lie that this was about "democracy" and that the U.S. is not attempting to control Iraq. Even if the U.S. doesn't go this route, the very fact that it is being considered makes that point.

Perhaps instead of "The only hope now is to divide Iraq into three," Jenkins' piece should have been titled, "Fuck the Iraqis! We'll shoe them democracy, says U.S."

I'm doubtful that the U.S. would give up even the pretense of bringing democracy and teddy bears to Iraq since doing so would mean losing an important geo-political strategy and/or rhetorical justification, but then again...


Whenever I hear about Dr. Laura, I think about "Dear Dr. Laura" and then I think there are some people who are really stupid and some people who have low self-esteem. Dr. Laura's prime demo is people with both qualities. On the other hand, Andrew Sullivan's key audience -i.e. those who give him money- is made up of people of low with moderate intelligence and too much self-esteem.


God Bless America!!!


Hazel Feigenblatt of The Washington Times reports that the War Against Things Uncle Sam Doesn't Like isn't exactly going well in Bolivia.


Richard Schmitt writes in today's Sydney Morning Herald

A new study of terrorism prosecutions in the United States since the September 11, 2001 attacks shows that while 184 people have been convicted of crimes deemed to involve "international terrorism", defendants were sentenced to a median prison term of just 14 days and, in many cases, received no jail sentence at all.

This is among the conclusions of a provocative study by researchers at Syracuse University who examined the US Government's terrorist prosecution data.



I'm all for performers interacting with pre-created media during concerts but it seems more than a bit pitiful to do so for the purpose of replicating a single.


Rosa Parks isn't a public figure?


"The U.S. failure to find weapons of mass destruction after the war in Iraq has dealt a severe blow to the Bush administration in its attempts to take a hard line on Iran at the United Nations," Robert Collier of the San Francisco Chronicle explains in an American Prospect piece.


What the fuck is "In my humble opinion, Janeane Garofalo is Rosie O’Donnell all rolled up into one" supposed to mean? I mean I get the points that newsmax.com idiot Norman Liebmann is touching upon -he dislikes both and O'Donnell isn't thin- but the point seems lost, especially since Garofalo has struggled with weight issues. At least it is better than, "In my humble opinion, it is time to go to the United Nations’ cloakroom, throw all the turbans and fezzes out into the street, and see if those delegates can take a hint. The UN continues to demonstrate an inexhaustible capacity to fail in its mission."

Now why did I bookmark that?


Via georgewbush.com, here's a bit from a December 7 New York Post editorial:

...two years after the Pearl Harbor attack, who would have envisioned a world in which U.S. troops are based in a democratic, pacifist Japan?
Japan has an interesting brand of pacifism.


In the wake of 9/11, the great divide in America is between those who understand how fundamentally the world has changed and those who wish to pretend that nothing has happened.
Talk about a false choice.


I have a theory that it isn't ethical to produce children. There is just too great of a chance that they will live a sad and miserable life. That might not be your fault, but it could be. Children do not react the same way to the actions of parents, of course. Some thrive on discipline. Some do the same when left to do their own thing. Some will respond to terrible and abusive parents by learning to stand on their own while making the world a better place. Some will repeat those patterns. It is impossible to know what exactly will work over the long run. So good parenting means getting lucky. Why would a person subject another person to the difficulties of life, especially when creating and raising this person makes their life more difficult? I mean, what's the loss of not having a child? Oh sure the child that you don't have might have gone on to cure cancer but they might also go on to be the next George W. Bush and using the former logic means that is not ethical to not have as many children as possible. It just doesn't make sense to me.


I am sick of hearing about "the media" only reports the bad things that are going on in Iraq. These reports give lie to their premise since they are by now one of the most common stories about Iraq and the entire call is hypocritical. Was anybody complaining on September 12, 2001 about how "the media" was only covering the terrorist attacks against the U.S. a day earlier? Why wasn't anybody demanding to hear about the 80-year-old man in North Dakota who learned to read for the first time that day? Come on, I needed to hear good news because the idea that the innocent and pure U.S. had been attacked by EVIL wasn't something I could get into or use to feel good about myself.


Was there a point to any of this besides making clear that I have a lot of opinions on things that I can not change?

Probably not.

By the way, I at least sorta believe everything that I said in this entry sans the satiric parts.