Today I finished "Why Bush doesn't deserve respect
," which sums up my feelings pretty well on the titular subject.
My favorite section? "Welcome to your permanent war! War is life! Life is war!"
I at least try for intensity of Hardt and Negri.
Nicolas Pelham of The Financial Times writes in February 12 story:
A confidential report prepared by the US-led administration in Iraq says that the attacks by insurgents in the country have escalated sharply, prompting fears of what it terms Iraq's "Balkanisation"...
"January has the highest rate of violence since September 2003," the report said. "The violence continues despite the expansion of the Iraqi security services and increased arrests by coalition forces in December and January."
The report, which is based on military data and circulated to foreign organisations by the US aid agency USAid, diverges with public statements by US officials who claim that security in the country is improving.
"The security risks are not as bad as they appear on TV," Tom Foley, the coalition official overseeing Iraq's private-sector development, said at the US Commerce Department headquarters in Washington on Wednesday. "Western civilians are not the targets themselves. These are acceptable risks."
According to the report, "January national review of Iraq", strikes against international and non-governmental organisations increased from 19 to 26 in January. It said that high-intensity attacks involving mortars and explosives grew by 103 per cent from 316 in December to 642 in January; non-life threatening attacks, including drive-by shootings and rock-throwing, soared by 186 per cent from 182 in December. It also recorded an average of eight attacks a day in Baghdad alone, up from four a day in September, and a total of 11 attacks on coalition aircraft...
The report makes clear how dependent Iraq's stability is on investment in the country's economy. "A fear of some is the 'Balkanisation' of Iraq if security, economic and infrastructure situations do not improve," it says.
It attributed much of the civilian violence to rising ethnic tensions between Kurds, Shias and Sunnis, noting that several bodies were found in the south "with hands bound and bullet wounds to the head".
But attacks on military targets, which had seen two months of decline, rose even faster than those on civilians, it said, particularly in the "Sunni triangle", north and west of Baghdad. It described the "profuse availability" of roadside bombs, the favoured weapon of the insurgents, as "alarming", saying attacks had surged almost 200 per cent.
The report shed little insight into who was behind the attacks, but said "multiple reports confirm the presence of al-Qaeda in the country".
I've quoted large chunks because stories on ft.com tend to disappear.
Jonathan Miller of C4 News on "The unseen cost of the war in Iraq" (February 10)
Channel Four News has been allowed a rare opportunity to meet some of America's wounded soldiers.
In a dark corner of Andrews Air Force base on the outskirts of Washington DC, America's war-wounded come home...
More than 11,000 medical evacuees have come through Andrews in the past nine months, the Air Force says.
Most, we suspect, from Iraq. But that's 8,000 more than the Pentagon says have been wounded there.
Most of those wounded in action come through the vast Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington.
The American public is, for the most part, unaware that the true casualty count of the war in Iraq may actually be higher than official figures suggest.
The apparent discrepancy is fuelling suspicion that the US government's got something to hide.
There'd been a suicide at the Center the previous week. Another of what the Pentagon terms a "non-hostile" death - in other words, one that won't figure on its list of fatalities...
when it comes to the wounded, an astonishing situation has arisen: the Pentagon's figures clash wildly with those of the US Army.
The Pentagon lists 2,604 wounded in action and just 408 "non-hostile wounded".
But the Army says many thousands more have been medically evacuated from the conflict zone.
Why the discrepancy? Well, the Pentagon doesn't count as victims soldiers who come back with brain injuries or psychiatric disorders, those hit by friendly fire or those who've crashed in their military vehicles...
Some suspect the government's been deliberately massaging the figures.
According to Steve Robinson, from the National Gulf War Resource Center:"Information warfare is a tenet of war. It's part of the strategy in war and it's something we employ in Iraq to win to gain the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. And in some cases it looks as if the Department of Defense is employing information warfare back doing this at home by not releasing accurate information or making it difficult to obtain information. That prevents the story from being told or it makes it take longer for the story to be told or it frustrates people to where they don't even try to tell the story."
the good war
Friday the 13th
Drew Barrymore sang "Milkshake" on yesterday's Daily Show.