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WarBlogging reprised:
The Daily Kos has been named the "Best Warblog" by Forbes Magazine - and it is not even a Warblog, as they note. Most highly recommended, with built in  BS detection and disclosure.  An excellent  source. More on unintended consequences.   Tactical news, but well selected and informative. has a much more strategic and political view.
They even quote Lord Melbourne "Nobody ever did anything very foolish except from some strong principle." BBC war reporters' log. "Thoughtful, Global, Timely" Actually quite good. a Washington Post summary of Warblog activity

War in Iraq - a view from Russia
Another point of view about the situation in Iraq up to the occupation of Baghdad, just as biased in its way as what we see on the Censored News Network (CNN) or on Faux News, or even the Public Babysitting Service, can be had at these links (to materials prepared by Russian analysts).  This analysis was 'terminated' on April 8, apparently under pressure from the Russian government, though it may have been for other reaons, such as loss of information gathering capabilities, or even a recognition of the inadequacy of the analysis itself.   A UPI article on this information appears at
Here are maps, and a day to day analysis of what these private, non- government Russian analysts thought they knew about the military  actions in Iraq.

Weblog, 2003-04-08, Tiw's Day

From an email by Jerry Bass:

"As I write, I'm listening to one of the slew of new right-wing country western songs, great music, scary lyrics. Two features of the Nazi rise to power was a rabid nationalism and a marriage of convenience between segments of the German economic and political elites and the lumpen proletariat.  Listening to my "evil twin," radio talk-show host Mike Savage last night, I had a chilling foretaste of the American version of this unholy alliance!"

Weblog, 2003-04-05, Satyr's Day

Want a map to your house?  Type  in your telephone number at Google, and it will provide two map options locating your telephone location.   But there is a way to have your number removed.

Go to and type in your phone number, including area code, and with the hyphens - as 555-555-5555.  Then click on Google Search.  It will show your name and address and give you two map options, Yahoo and MapQuest, if your phone number is  listed in the mapping database .   (Unlisted numbers and cell phone numbers do not show up.)  Try it, and see how accurate the map is to your phone location.  (They have me in the right county!)

Someone wanting to know the physical location of a phone, be it a home or business address, could conceivably use this feature to help to locate a physical  street address, and get maps and  directions to that address.  This could be dangerous to adults and children alike.

Google has made available an option that allows removal of telephone numbers from the database that is linked to the mapping feature.  After entering  your number (as described above) an icon resembling a telephone will appear next to the first or second entry on the results page.  Clicking on this icon will take you to a page containing a description of the service, and, at the bottom of that section,  a link to request your number be removed from the database.

War in Iraq - little progress for the coalition, ca. April 4, 2003  These Russian analysts are real skeptics!  Little progress indeed.   Guess they think territory effectively controlled on the ground is more important than mileage put on tanks, or having a "stinger" force on the outskirts of a city of 5 million.

Truthfully, I am a bit concerned, still wondering where the troops from those Republican Guard divisions have gone to.   The Russians claim they may be behind (what they dignify as US "lines"; I cannot do so) the US and Brit spearheads, and say they may number up to 60,000.  Still, the Iraqis  are scattered, leaderless, and have lost most of their armor.  They are extremely vulnerable to US air power, and land based tank and artillery.   Until there is a sandstorm - which the Russians claim to have heard CentCom in Qatar is concerned about.

Weather.  Very bad stuff for armies, especially th0se dependent on technical advantages.  We have spearheads and scouting/reconnaisance units scattered over all of Mesopotamia.  If our technical superiority, intelligence gathering ability, and air and land based firepower advantage were to be swallowed up in a sandstorm, (and those missing RG troops were out there) there could be hell to pay.  If I have my time difference right it is 1500 hours in Iraq, Saturday afternoon, right now.  Hope all is well.

If you have not read the story of the Athenian expedition to Syracuse, at the end of "The Peloponnesian Wars", you may not be as concerned as I am.   But you should read it.

Weblog, 2003-04-04, Freya's Day

NOW with Bill Moyers Friday April 4, 2003 at 9pm E.T. on PBS (check local listings at )

This week NOW with Bill Moyers presents a special one hour focus on the media and democracy. Bill Moyers talks to Greg Mitchell about how the war in Iraq is being covered by the American media. Mitchell has edited several national magazines and written eight nonfiction books for major publishers and serves as editor of Editor & Publisher, the authoritative weekly magazine covering the newspaper industry in North America

As the FCC considers further deregulating corporate media, big media may get even bigger. NOW goes inside the debate over relaxing restrictions that could result in multi-billion dollar media conglomerates gaining more control over the nation's radio and television airwaves. Opponents of media consolidation fear that giving these giants a free pass to let the marketplace rule could severely affect the ability of journalists to be independent. If deregulation does take place, can democracy survive without the diversity of ideas presented by a truly free press?

Precision Weapons and Korea - NOT!
Analysts believe that this war will cause a review of the role of precision-guided munitions (PGM) on the modern battlefield. Already the results of using PGM in Iraq cast doubt on the effectiveness of PGM in woodland areas and in cross-country terrain. Under such conditions the main objective becomes not to hit the target with the first shot but to locate, identify and to track the target.

Reviewing ground operations [in Iraq] analysts conclude that the desert terrain and the resulting inability of the Iraqis to fight outside of towns and villages provide the coalition with its main strategic advantage. Complete air dominance allows [the coalition troops] locating and engaging Iraqi positions and armor at maximum distance using precision-guided munitions not available to the Iraqis, while remaining outside of the range of the Iraqi weapons. Considering the course of this war and the tactics used by the coalition, [Russian military] analysts find this tactics to be far removed from the realities of modern warfare and designed exclusively against a technologically much weaker opponent. Such tactics is unimaginable on the European theater of combat with its woodlands and cross-country terrain. Foreseeing the possibility of a future military standoff between the US and North Korea the analysts are certain that the US cannot hope for a military victory on the Korean Peninsula without the use of nuclear weapons.

But when you can see - This is the result of PGW when used against a Taliban armored vehicle.  Caution.

Marines' First Regimental Combat Team Commander Relieved!  Why is unknown.

Turning Point in Najaf: The Grand Ayatollah's Fatwa

Where are the Republican Guards? No one knows.  Today it is reported that one quarter of the Baghdad Division had surrendered - the Division was 'destroyed' several days ago, but apparently that means only that its command structure was degraded and much of its equipment destroyed.  Have to watch your definitions when you are dealing with the military.  So, where are the other 7500 troops from the Baghdad Division.  Where is the Medina division, which simply evaporated.  And the Nebuchadnezar Division, which was last seen moving south toward Baghdad, and seems to have vanished.  The Russian analysts think there may be as many as 60,ooo "detached" members of Iraqi armed forces behind the US-British spearhead forces.

Where is the Baghdad Airport? Does anyone know?  What's with those tunnels, anyway?  All the way to the Tigris?  Subway construction?

Yes, it is time for Regime Change in the US!  John Kerry is finally facing up to the discrepancy between what the Bush regency said to obtain passage of their resolution in the Congress last year, and what they have done since.  He is admitting he got taken by the PSB's and is actually running for President!  Now some Bush fans think it is un American to run for President against their boy, in any but the most deferential and apologetic way.  But that's just tough.  "Now, the rest of the Senate Democrats need to stand up and support an American citizen's right to run for president against the Cheerleader in Chief during wartime, and even {gasp} suggest that he should be turned out of office because he isn't doing a good job"

Digby - Instant addiction to this Weblog.  He has a fabulous long post beginning with a note on the out of control Rumsfeld's disfunctional Iraq reconstruction plans, moving to a riffing on posts by Billmon and Steve Gilliard over at Daily Kos about Rumsfeld's usurpation of the usurper's prerogatives, thence to Regime Change!  This is, and I mean it, a must read.  Seriously, this guy is so good that I am thinking my highest contribution would be to  quit trying to write, get a real job and send him my paycheck.

Psycopathic Personalities - The psychos are making us psycho:  "The central qualification is to  show no conscience; to fail to empathize.      [...]  They reveled in risk, took no account of its potential cost to others or themselves, and rose to power during a time of chaos and upheaval." Been there, done that!

Tony Blair's Decision Point:  Bush's Poodle is either slipping the leash or has decided it is time for a healthy portion of doggie biscuits.

Blair and Bush will jointly host a "summit" in Northern Ireland on Monday or Tuesday of next week.  It will be interesting to see how much longer than the one hour "Azores Summit" this one lasts.   There may be some interesting straws in the wind after this one.

Billmon thinks Tony will get sliced and diced by the Cheney - Rumsfeld - Perle - Woofowitz - Feith axis of evil, aka the hearts of darkness at the core of the neo con master race ... oops...   master plan.   That's my bet too.  Digby's take on the meeting, and Tony's fate, is that "Tony Blair will rue the day he ever took up with these crazy bastards.  They just cut him off at the knees, too." Yet I saw a guest on Charlie Rose tonight who was talking about how Blair had been "strengthened" by buying in with Bush.  The meeting Monday and Tuesday will tell the story:  Will Tony Blair be gutted by Shrubbyist treachery?  Will he come to heel, like a good doggy?  Will he get his portion of doggie biscuits?  Or will he be betrayed, realize it, and slip the leash to join Europe?   (Link)

Our Immobilized Regent:  Q. Why Northern Ireland?  A. You just cannot get there from anywhere.  Courtesy of "the troubles", it is a garrison state with an immense security apparatus, relative to the population, and closed borders.  Almost as closed as the Azores.   And Bush cannot travel just anywhere in the world, he "is under an international quarantine."  Heh!  Full article. And a copy.

A Life of Learning,  by Clifford Geertz - The poet Jerry Bass pointed me to this wonderful summation of a life I would have loved to lead.  There not many such, as my own has been extraordinarily fortunate and privileged.

The Genesis of Suicide Terrorism, by Scott Atran SCIENCE VOL 299 7 MARCH 2003  p. 1537
"... emotionally driven commitments ...  may have emerged under natural selection’s influence to refine or override short-term rational calculations that would otherwise preclude achieving goals against long odds. Most typically, such emotionally driven commitments serve as survival mechanisms to inspire action in otherwise paralyzing circumstances, as when a weaker person convincingly menaces a stronger person into thinking twice before attempting to take advantage.  In religiously inspired suicide terrorism, however, these emotions are purposely manipulated by organizational leaders, recruiters, and trainers to benefit the organization rather than the individual"

Think "shock and awe", overwhelming force, and other situations calculated to "induce operational paralysis"  which create emotionally driven commitments susceptible to the creation of suicide terrorists.   Our very response to terrorism would appear to provide the fertile soil for its growth.

"Our actions will ratchet up their resentment and intensify their loathing of the foreign military power controlling their lives. The number of Iraqis ready to die to kill anyone sporting a Star-Spangled Banner or a Union Jack will mushroom.

We can win the war, but the peace will enervate us.  Welcome, America, to a vicious cycle of violence like that Israel is mired in. In time our nation will yearn for freedom from Operation Iraqi Freedom."

See also: (Re the market place bombing munitions fragment which - conviently - had US ID numbers on it.  Fisk reported it as he found it.  But was it planted by Saddam's people or not?

My prescience:   General Myers (Chairman, JCS) seems to be up on the potential applicability of the Basra strategy to Baghdad.  He noted in yesterday's dog and pony show (a term rich in history and allusion, even "East of Eden") with Rumsfeld that if Baghdad was cut off from the rest of an Iraq under control of the US-Brit occupation the date of any action there did not much matter.  So true, in my opinion.  He also suggested that the formation of a new Iraqi administrative government did not need to be delayed until Baghdad was under the occupying  force's control, another obvious point not previously voiced.  I hope they chose this route, though there is a lot of 'gunning' among the pundits for immediate action to sieze 'psychologically significant' points in Baghdad right away.  (I wrote this this AM, tonight the McLaughlin Group discussed "the Basra strategy" in almost those very words.  Heh!)

Progress on the Iraq Reconstruction Front?   The House has taken action to remove funding for the reconstruction of Iraq from the Department of Defense, and place it under the control of the Department of State.  They did this on their own, with no help or awareness from the 'organized' opposition to the Iraq war, which is made up of people and organizations who claim to and should care about the fate of the Iraqi peoples.  Folks, the war over the war is over, and Bush won it.  It is time to start attending to the day after the war, including such matters as the reconstruction of Iraq.  It is criminally irresponsible of 'anti-war' activists to have so failed to  inform themselves on these issues and begun an organized political action to influence them.  Links to several sources are provided in the original posting on this topic, below.

A lesson for anti-fascist (anti-Shrubbyist) activists:  Remember who you are dealing with; know your enemy and their methods.  Digby's post lays out some very important information about how Cheney and the rest of the Shrubbyist master planners deal with the opposition.  Not just in war, but in politics, all across the board:

Information Warfare is the thrilling notion that:
"Information dominance is superior situational awareness applied to seize and  maintain the initiative, influence the enemy's actions, and induce operational paralysis while denying your adversary the ability to do the same."
In other words, war as mind fuck - always a favorite game among rightists. “Shock and Awe,” falls into the Information Warfare doctrine with its psy-ops goal made possible by information driven precision weapons. IW relies upon the assurance that, in the face of proper information (i.e. the massive superiority of the offensive force) that logically the enemy will not fight. Well...
 The target of information warfare, then, is  the human mind, especially those minds that make the key decisions of war or peace and, from the military perspective, those minds that make the key decisions on if, when, and how to employ the assets  and capabilities embedded in their strategic structures.
This is exactly what happened in the run up to the November, 2002 elections.  The Shrubbyists successfully diverted the attention of the opposition, primarily the Democrat's "base", from the issues that should have been addressed in the election to the one area where it was most vulnerable, security and defense policy.  By pretending that they did not want, but could be 'influenced' into accepting the need to go to the UN for a resolution authorizing the use of military force in Iraq, they fooled  their opposition into devoting nearly all of its energy to getting that (utterly meaningless, and they knew it) resolution.  They won that war (with the help of an airplane accident) and regained control of the Senate.

Today, the same strategy of influencing their opposition's actions and inducing "operational paralysis" is still being employed.  While anti-war activists congratulate themselves on the success of their efforts, and especially on getting some small coverage of demonstrations on TV, the Shrubbyists are introducing and successfully passing a rightist legislative agenda of historic and tragic import.  And they have totally diverted attention from the ethnic cleansing Israel is conducting  in Palestine, as well as the murder by the Israeli Defense Forces of an American girl working as a peace activist in Gaza.

A good example of this is what I have until recently considered a "premier" opposition group,   MoveOn has been so successfully diverted by its focus on opposition to the Iraq war that it has abandoned domestic policy field, almost completely.  It has also seemingly abandoned the periodic research and analysis pieces that made it so valuable to me, when I first began using and recommending it.

To what end have they, and all of us who oppose the Shrubbyist agenda been so diverted?  To oppose the that drive toward war in Iraq, a drive in which the Shrubbyists had complete control over timing, methods, and strategy.  Their opponents, all of us together including nearly all the UN and the peoples  of the world have had no control at all.  After all, our Congress had already authorized war.   The UN had authorized 'consequences' in a vague resolution.  And the US has, since Korea, not once required conformity with Constitutional provisions for a Declaration of War in actions taken by the Commander in Chief of its armed forces.

So long as we permit ourselves to be diverted by the manifest evil of a war policy we cannot successfuly influence, because it is under the total control of the neo-con extremists in the Bush regency, we have permitted them to effectively neutralized our  opposition.  We do have available two kinds of action which can be effective.

Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what your country is doing.

Gingrich - the illusion dispelled:  If you were under the blessed and peaceful illusion that the architect of the "Contract on America" was no longer involved in the dissolution of American freedoms and ideals, think again.  Depresssssing.  And on top of it all Digby's post also raises the specter of the Future Fakers, the Tofflers.  Yecch.  Had to read an early screed of theirs ("Future Shlock") at Stanford, in '82, and knew poison when I saw it - to the consternation of the 'young turk' prof. who had assigned it.  He is probably working at the Hoover Institution now.

"Oh Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with  the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in  pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; us to turn them out roofless with their little  children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land.... We ask it, in the sprit of love, of Him Who is the Source  of Love."
- Mark Twain, after viewing a pre-emptive war in the Philippines a century ago. Cited in the March 30, 2003, New York  Times magazine.

Weblog, 2003-04-03, Thor's Day

The subtleties surrounding the sensitive role oil plays in the Iraqi war may (not?) have eluded the United States Army. Deep in some newspaper coverage yesterday was a report that the 101stAirborne Division had named one central Iraq outpost Forward Operating Base Shell and another Forward Operating Base Exxon.  The Pentagon has shrugged off concerns that now might not be the time to mention the names of foreign oil companies on Iraqi soil.

Apologist for Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, etc. - John Perry Barlow, of all people!
I hope that the following copy of my reply to a forwarded email by John Perry Barlow (originally to his personal mailing list) is self explanatory, and fairly represents his points, as I believe it does.  To me, the email does not have the ring of intended irony, as it rightly should.

I never thought of John Perry Barlow as a fascist - until now - and I am sure he has never thought of such a possibility.  But that is where the fact that he can contemplate with eqanimity the possibilities he states squarely places him:
     First, they seek to scare Saddam Hussein into voluntarily turning his country over to the U.S. and choosing safe exile or, failing that, they want to convince the Iraqi people that it's safer to attempt his overthrow or assassination than to endure an invasion by American ground troops.

     Second, they are trying to convince every other nation on the planet that the United States is the Mother of All Rogue States, run by mad thugs in possession of 15,000 nuclear warheads they are willing to use and spending, as they already are, more on death-making capacity than all the other countries on the planet combined. In other words, they want the rest of the world to think that we are the ultimate weaving driver. Not to be trusted, but certainly not to be messed with either.

     By these terrible means, they will create a world where war conducted by any country but the United States will seem simply too risky and the Great American Peace will begin. Unregulated Global Corporatism will be the only permissible ideology, every human will have access to McDonald's and the Home Shopping Network, all "news" will come through some variant of AOLTimeWarnerCNN, the Internet will be run by Microsoft, and so it will  remain for a long time. Peace. On Prozac.

For this, not lust for oil, is the very definition of the messianic madness posessing Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perl, Wolfowitz, and company.  This is only emphasized and stamped as final by his ability to say:
     I grant that the Romans were not the most benign of rulers. They crucified dissidents for decoration, fed lesser humans to their pets, and generally scared the bejesus out of everyone, including Jesus Himself.  But war, of the sort that racked  the Greeks, Persians, Babylonians, and indeed, just about everyone prior to Julius Caesar, did not occur. The Romans had decided it was bad for business. They were in a military position to make thatopinion stick.
     If one takes the view that war is worse than tyranny and that the latter doesn't necessarily beget the former, there is a case to be made for global despotism.
It is not, and no such case can be made, as is prima facie clear from the previous paragraph.

I am with Tacitus - as quoted in the email:

     "To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire; and where they make a wilderness, they call it peace."

This is not a danger of which it "would be well to keep that admonition in mind now."  It is an absolute inevitability under the regime Cheney plans, and Barlow is so weak kneed about.

Freedom exists in the space between the elephants.  If there is only one elephant, it must be cut down to size.  Period, end.

The Horrors of War - Independent: Wailing children, the wounded, the dead: victims of the day cluster bombs rained on Babylon.   An excerpt from an article that deserves to be read in full:
Outraged claims from Iraqi officials at the abuse of human rights sound like a bell with a very hollow ring. But something terrible happened around Hillah this week, something unforgivable and something contrary to international law. One hesitates, as I say, to talk of human rights in this land of torture but if the Americans and British don't watch out, they are likely to find themselves condemned for what they have always - and rightly - accused Iraq of: war crimes.
John Brownlow has a brief analysis of why civilian casualties are "not news" in our major media at

In the company of Heroes

White House Divided Over Reconstruction - LA Times  By Robin Wright, Times Staff Writer
The process of the reconstruction of Iraq is an incredibly important issue, now that Bush has won the battle over whether he got to have his war or not.  It is also a nuanced and complex issue, worthy of a lot more time, attention, and careful thought than it is getting by those who profess to care for the fate of the Iraqi people (and the future of US relations with the Arab and Muslim world).   This article hints at the degree of chaos and maladministration the Bush regency brings to the issue.

I would NOT oppose Department of Defense control of the project for reconstruction of Iraq after the war, under the administration of characters other than Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, and Perl.  I do not trust them to be George Marshall analogues in this situation - I do not trust, or like, them at all.  I think that the professional military of the US DoD is probably better qualified than any group of State Department people that could be mustered to handle reconstruction, if they were only free to exercise their expertise under benign and competant, rather than ideologically fascist and delusional management.  (See the Patrick Seale note, below, for more.)

Under proper management, the US military could better manage the rebuilding of Iraq's military, police, civil works infrastructure, and even political institutions than a loose confederation of State Department and United Nations sponsored Non Governmental Organizations could.   If that involvement were effective, it could be short, with a gradual decrease in the level of military presence in the country beginning only a few months after the end of the war.

A combination of effectiveness and rapid turnover of governmental responsibilities to Iraqi citizens in the context of real democracy could go a long way to avoiding long term anger and recrimination over the conduct of the war itself, and is to be greatly desired.  But the plans of that wing of the Bush regency which is focusing on DoD leadership of the reconstruction effort are not calculated to have the desired effect.

Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Perl must not be permitted to manage the reconstruction of Iraq, or to designate Iraq's post war leadership.  The US needs to demonstrate both speed and effectiveness in the reconstruction effort in Iraq.  These two requirements, at present are in conflict, and it is critically important that that conflict be resolved effectively.

Failing the ability to remove Rumsfeld and his team from DoD leadership roles, we must find another way to get them out of the way.  That can be by turning the reconstruction effort over to the State Department and the UN sponsored NGOs.  But a better choice, were it feasible, would be to find some third, administrative, way to put another team, completely independent of DoD's current incompetant and ideologically burdened political leadership, in charge of a US DoD led reconstruction effort.

(Links in order of appearance:,1,7358865.story?coll=la%2Dhome%2Dheadlines
Supplemental links:  )

Patrick Seale: - The United States has embarked on an imperial adventure in the Middle East This is the true meaning of the war against Iraq. The war is not about the disarmament of Iraq. That was always a hollow and cynical pretext.  ... Nor is the war only, or even primarily, about toppling Saddam Hussain. Indeed the White House announced that U.S. forces would enter Iraq whether or not the Iraqi leader resigned and left the country. The war has bigger aims: it is about the implementation of a vast - and probably demented - strategic plan.   (Local copy)

Unqualified Strategic Advice:  Make the April 1 and 2  advance on Baghdad a feint, for now, and take Tikrit.

Weblog, 2003-04-02, Woden's Day
Sorry for the confusion about dates - had the wrong ones posted here for a day.  I need to look at my calendar more often.

What a difference a day makes!  Comparing the Russian analysts' discussion of the war situation on April 1 (Moscow time) to the US media reports of the situation as they see it at the end of the day on Wednesday, April 2 (US Pacific time) is to compare two different worlds.  The differences in perspective combined with dramatic changes in the actual situation on the ground in that 36 hour period makes for a stark contrast between the two.  There are a couple of cautionary points in which can be drawn from the Russian analysis, though.  Over confidence is dangerous, and especially so with an estimated 30,000 Iraqi troops behind the US-British spearheads.   These troops command structure is inoperative, apparently.  But if "doctrine" were to guide them in effective harassing action, they could be a real thorn in the side of the invasion force.

And where is the Republican Guard?  No one seems to know, and many reporters, if not military types, are starting to worry about that.   There is good evidence that the command structure and major equipment complement of the Medina and Baghdad Divisions are destroyed or gone to ground.  But the way in which the US troops have moved to the very edge of Baghdad without encountering the RG divisions they hoped to take out leaves room for a bit of speculation about traps, etc.  Where are the RG troops?  Have they gone home?   There is no indication that they have been killed or captured in large numbers.   Hmmmmm.

MB-PBSNewHour.html  "The News Hour" and the Horrors of War


Draft material moved to current weblog.

Weblog, 2003-04-01, Tiw's Day (April Fool's Day)

The war:  I have emailed the first two to folks, a copy of both is at:
Article:  The Monday, March 31, Daily Kos dispatch from Officer X — (an) "anonymous but honest military  commander who has been updating (them) from time to time on his view of the war, ... has a few choice words not only for Donald Rumsfeld and his  cabal of neocon aides, but for the generals who are tripping all over themselves now in their rush to blame everything on their  civilian masters."
Article:  US Diplomatic failures concern Gen. McPeak
Article: THE BEST LAID PLANS - Two-Front War by Gregg Easterbrook

The Daily Kos has been named the "Best Warblog" by Forbes Magazine - and it is not even a Warblog, as they note. Most highly recommended, with built in  BS detection and disclosure. (Unintended Consequences) is also a good source.   Tactical news, but well selected and informative. has a much more strategic and political view.
They even quote Lord Melbourne "Nobody ever did anything very foolish except from some strong principle." BBC war reporters' log. "Thoughtful, Global, Timely" Actually quite good.

War in Iraq - a view from Russia
Another point of view about the situation in Iraq over the last few days, which may be just as biased as what we see on the Censored News Network (CNN) or on Faux News, or even the Public Babysitting Service, can be had at these links (to materials prepared by Russian analysts).  A UPI article on this information appears at
Here are maps, and a day to day analysis of what the Russians think they know about the last week's actions in Iraq:

If you wonder at the savage battles for bridges at Nasiriya and elsewhere on the Euphrates, it is apparently a result of the Rumsfeld 'light and fast' strategy:

Intercepted radio communications indicate that the Marines engineering units are ordered to build a pontoon crossing up the stream from An-Nasiriya and move up to three battalions of Marines and troops from the 82nd Airborne Division to the left bank of the Euphrates for a future strike in the rear of the An-Nasiriya garrison. The coalition command would have been ready to bypass other defended crossings on the Euphrates if it wasn’t for one problem: the entire group of forces has only two pontoon units. Any new pontoon units will arrive not sooner than in mid-April.  JP note:  No wonder the "bridging" of the Tigris at Al Kut has been so critical to morale of the Marine forces there.
Regarding the casualty figures we hear in media reports:
The official coalition losses are, to put it mildly, “falling behind”the actual figures. The 57 dead acknowledged by the coalition command reflect losses as of the morning of March 26. This information was provided to a BBC correspondent by one of the top medical officials at a field hospital in Al Kuwait during a confidential conversation. “We have standing orders to acknowledge only those fatalities that have been delivered to the hospital, identified and prepared to be sent back home. The identification process and the required standard embalming takes some time –occasionally up to several days. But only the command knows how many casualties we sustained today and you will learn about it in about three days…"
Regarding "command" generally, the Russian's think that:
most [US military] officers believe that both military leaders are responsible for the coalition's military failures. Rumsfeld allowed gross errors during the planning of forces and equipment required for the war, while Franks did not show enough strength to get the right forces and the right training for the troops in this campaign and, in essence, surrendered to the whims of the politicians...

It is entirely possible that the future of this war will see the departure of one of these two commanders. Some reports suggest that Rumsfeld has already proposed to President Bush a change in the coalition command. However, Bush declined this proposal calling it untimely and damaging to the morale of the troops and that of the American people.

As anticipated, the Russian analysis as of Monday is at some variance with that of US news media, yet less pessimistic than that of some of the more alarmist and negative anti-war organizations in the US:
There is no question that the US “blitzkrieg”failed to take control of Iraq and to destroy its army. It is clear that the Americans got bogged down in Iraq and the military campaign hit a snag. However, the Iraqi command is now in danger of underestimating the enemy. For now there is no reason to question the resolve of the Americans and their determination to reach the set goal –complete occupation of Iraq.

In reality, despite of some obvious miscalculations and errors of the coalition’s high command, the [coalition] troops that have entered Iraq maintain high combat readiness and are willing to fight. The losses sustained during the past 12 days of fighting, although delivering a painful blow to the pride and striking the public opinion, are entirely insignificant militarily speaking. The initiative in the war remains firmly in the hands of the coalition. Under such circumstances Iraqi announcements of a swift victory over the enemy will only confuse its own troops and the Iraq’s population and, as the result, may lead to demoralization and a reduced defensive potential…

Russian military analysts believe that the critical for the US duration of the war would be over 90 days provided that during that time the coalition will sustain over 1,000 killed. Under such circumstances a serious political crisis in the US and in the world will be unavoidable.

A summary of recent engagements, including the rescue of a US POW from a hospital in Nasiriya and the "bridging" of the Tigris by Marines SouthEast of Baghdad is at
These actions, and others described in the MSNBC summary appear to indicate a breakthrough and resumption in the progress of the land war, after a much denied "pause" in the advance on the ground.  But "There is not a final push or even a first push. ... It is a standard operation. They want to eliminate the Iraqis' potential," Paul Beaver, former publisher of Jane's Defence Weekly, told Reuters. "All the headlines in the papers today are hilarious. This war could go on until the autumn."
  • The number of captured Iraqi General Officers may be especially indicative, running between 6 and 15, depending on the account.
  • The Shia city of Al Najaf, scene of the tragic killing of Iraqi civilians a few days ago, has been occupied by the US, to the mild applause of residents. "Military planners have been baffled by the indifferent reception  given the U.S. invasion by Iraq's often-oppressed Shiite majority, and today's welcome, if hardly tumultuous, was considered heartening."
  • Access to the SouthWest of Baghdad seems within reach, although the 3rd MI Division is still in contact with the the remnant Medina and Nebuchadnezar divisions of the Repuplican Guard there.
  • The Baghdad Division SouthEast of Baghdad (Al Kut) has reportedly been eliminatedas an effective fighting force.   Marines have crossed the Tigris at Al Kut, giving them access to the Basra-Baghdad highway, and the SouthEast of Baghdad.
  • The situation with Basra may be instructiveBasra was initially "invested" in a near siege condition, as many expect Baghdad to be.  But as the Ba'ath party (Saddam loyalist) forces within the city have been "degraded", action there has become more like a police action - the city is not under British control amd it is very dangerous to the British troops attempting to gain control, but it is not a closed city.  Water is available again, and other infrastructure is being restored.  The Brit's objective is to make sure that citizens are free, subject to check points, etc., to leave the city, and to come and go within it.  At the same time their activities, especially night patrols, are becoming more agressive, with the objective of reducing, then eliminating the hold of Saddam's forces on the population.

    Weblog, 2003-03-31, Moon Day

    The Horrors of War,,2089-628258,00.html US Marines turn fire on civiians at the bridge of death - Mark Franchetti.  This article includes a horrifying account of an ambush of the Marines by Iraqi forces defending Nasiriya.

    The latest Bush Regency obscenities:

    US soldiers in Iraq asked to pray for Bush They may be the ones facing danger on the battlefield, but US soldiers in Iraq are being asked to pray for [nutcase] Dictator George W Bush. Thousands of marines have been given a pamphlet called "A Christian's Duty," a mini prayer book which includes a tear-out section to be mailed to the White House pledging the soldier who sends it in has been praying for Bush. From CLG

    Patriot Act 11 - the sequel Citizens can stop government power grab (The Miami Herald) "Warrantless surveillance. Secret arrests. Indefinite detention. Is this totalitarian Cuba? No, it's what the U.S. Justice Department is planning, based on legislation that Justice lawyers have been secretly drafting for months... No member of Congress, including those on key committees, was aware that the Justice Department was working on the 'Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003' -- or Patriot Act II, as it has been dubbed -- when a draft was leaked last month. That led to concerns that Justice intended to introduce the measure as a 'stealth bill,' at a time of high anxiety about national security, as happened with the original Patriot Act."

    Ground Laid for Historic Presidential Powers Push Bracing for Bush's War at Home --On Friday, Justice Department spokesperson Mark Corallo confirmed to The Village Voice that Patriot Act II is coming soon.

    Note on IM, ICQ and computer insecurity: I'm no tech expert, but read a lot in the systems administration area.  The insecurity of IM programs, from ICQ (a notorious hacker's playground) to AOL's AIM, etc., is of growing concern, due to their popularity among employees of businesses.  The networks they are on, otherwise secure, are rendered insecure by the use of IM services, which open an unprotected channel right through firewalls, including NAT services.  Typical recommendations are to never use these services, and to place them on separate computers outside the firewall and outside the secure network.

    This was reinforced today by the unavailability of Venik's translation of the Russian analysis of the war on Iraq for the 30th and 31st of March - his computer was brought down over the weekend by an attack through ICQ!  Bet he fancied himself in a secure situation, too.  My own security has been compromised, also over the weekend, possibly by a bad update from Zone Alarm, possibly by spyware.  And I have no way to know if I have been able to fully repair it, or what the consequences have been or will be.

    NBC has fired Peter Arnette, in Baghdad.  Though he stated only what everyone knows to be true, that the Bush regency's initial war plan has failed and is being rewritten on the go, he admits having erred in giving an interview on Iraqi state TV (no kidding!) and that he is embarrassed and intends to "leave".   One could chalk it up to shell shock, I guess.  Reporting from Baghdad these days is something I cannot imagine at all.  (He is now employed by the Mirror, out of London.)

    Also, see Business Week, April 7, 2003, which has a realistic summary of the war up to ca. March 24 or 25. and (For those of us who are subscribers.)

    Weblog 2003-03-30, Sunday

    An update from the site described here, and indexed here
    War in Iraq - no progress for coalition, ca. March 29, 2003
    A summary of these reports can be downloaded from:  or

    The horrors of war:  Responsibility for the ordinance "can be easily verified and checked by the Americans – if they choose to do so. It reads: 30003-704ASB 7492.  The letter "B" is scratched and could be an "H". This is believed to be the  serial number. It is followed by a further code which arms manufacturers usually refer to as the weapon's "Lot" number. It reads: MFR 96214 09. - Blood and bandages for the innocent -  By Robert Fisk in the Baghdad suburb of Shu'ale 30 March 2003  Robert Fisk: Raw, devastating realities that  expose the truth about Basra 28 March 2003 (Photo)  Robert Fisk: 'It was an outrage, an obscenity'
    27 March 2003   Focus: Part one - The human cost - 'Does Tony have any idea what the flies are like that feed off the dead?'  By Robert Fisk26 January 2003   Bringing aid to Basra - "With Basra, shame is now our signature, forged by Blair and Bush.  Having destroyed its water and power supplies, cut off food supply routes and having failed to crack its human defences, they are now preparing to lay siege to Iraq's second city which is more than 40 per cent children.

    From the poet, Jerry Bass:  We are shaped much earlier than we usually think...  Our development is more a process of rediscovery and remembering than invention. A relatively few ideas, assumptions, notions guide our understanding and the unfolding of our lives. The process of growth, again, is delving ever deeper into these.

    I have a book or two here, going back to my 6th and 7th grade reading list, worked out with my Grandfather, Frank Pivonka.  One is "Human Destiny", by Pierre LeCompt DuNouy, another "Champion of Liberty" a biographical collection of the Essays and Speeches of Charles Bradlaugh.  (I am reminded by a rereading of his 1860 "New Life of David" that Saddam Hussein follows in the steps of other Tyrants of the region - for after David's murder of Bathsheba's husband, Uriah, he "was even more cruel and merciless than before.  Previously he had systematically slaughtered the inhabitants of Moab, now he sawed people with saws, cuth them with harrows and axes, and made them pass through brick kilns".)  I do not have "The Robber Barons" and many others from that list.  But from 1955, I have "The American Way" (The Allen Press, Lawrence, KS, 1955) a collection of speeches and letters by John Ise, eminent Economist, social philosopher and satirist, and one of Grandad's heroes, and my own, along with Kenneth Boulding of Colorado.

    Profit in Iraq -- from CLG
    US arms trader to run Iraq Ex-general who will lead reconstruction heads firm behind Patriot missiles --Jay Garner, the retired US general who will oversee humanitarian relief and reconstruction in postwar Iraq, is president of an arms company that provides crucial technical support to missile systems vital to the US invasion of the country.

    Man who would be 'king' of Iraq Jay Garner is the hawkish head of the Pentagon agency that will be handling lucrative reconstruction deals -- Jay Garner is closely linked with the group of hawks centred on US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (who gave him his latest job), his deputy Paul Wolfowitz and Vice pResident Dick Cheney, who are as keen to bypass the UN in the aftermath of war as they were before it.

    'Ex-presidents club' gets fat on conflict High-flying venture capital firm Carlyle Group cashes in when the tanks roll --For 15 years one of America's most powerful venture capital groups has tried to play down suggestions that its multi-billion dollar funds get fat on the back of global conflict. But now, with the invasion of Iraq under way, a new book chronicling the relatively short history of the Carlyle Group threatens to draw attention to the company's close links with the Pentagon. Google Carlyle

    UK pushes for a share of the spoils The UK government last week put pressure on the Bush dictatorship to include UK companies in its plans for reconstruction in a post-conflict Iraq.

    Fury at Costain's 'bypass UN' advice British construction giant Costain is under severe pressure to retract comments by its chief executive urging the British government to 'bypass' United Nations efforts to reconstruct Iraq. On Friday, Costain chief Stuart Doughty told Reuters: 'If you go down the UN route, that means you go to the world to get the best price... [which is not only] political dynamite, but morally awful... Let's ensure that those who have been violently against this conflict don't share in the reconstruction.' His words sparked fury among humanitarian groups.

    Qualcomm & Motorola in war over Iraq's post invasion cellular telephone system  Qualcomm's Congressman, Darrell Issa, has introduced legislation to force Iraq to use Qualcomms outdated and inefficient CDMA technology for its post war cellular telephone network, instead of the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) system which is standard over most of the world, especially in countries neighboring Iraq and  Europe and Asia.  Hogs at the trough!  I wonder what that one is worth to the Congressman, in contributions and favors from Qualcomm.  Motorola, a major GSM equipment provider, cannot be happy about this.
    More (4-4-03),1,7657800.story?coll=la%2Diraq%2Dhomefront

    A note on the Oscars

    Weblog 2003-03-28, Freya's Day

    It has been a deeply troubling 10 days.   I am a strategist, and no tactician.  And I have a particular distaste for military tactics.   By today these points seem salient:

    In the final analysis, Bush will sacrifice anyone and anything to win this war, so the eventual  outcome is a foregone conclusion.  All that is in doubt is the size of the sacrifice, and its consequences to the future of the world.   Mass death and destruction in Iraq, with consequent world wide rejection of US and British pretenses to benignity, and a flood of rage against the "West" among humiliated and impoverished Muslims, seems increasingly likely.  Of course our client regimes in the Arab world will be well paid and militarized to suppress such popular discontent.  This is a far sight from the supposed vision of a flowering of democracy proffered by PNAC and the Shrubbyists. But I, personally,  have never believed they were after anything other than the total militarization and re feudalization of world civilization.

    A point of view about the situation in Iraq over the last few days, which may be just as biased as what we see on the Censored News Network (CNN) or on Faux News, or even the Public Babysitting Service, can be had at these links (to materials prepared by Russian analysts).  Here are maps, and a day to day analysis of what the Russians think they know about the last week's actions in Iraq:
    Maps: General; Physical-Cultural; Northern Iraq; tac4, tac5,tac6, tac7, tac8
    According to information at the site from which the following information has been abstracted has been temporarily redesigned and relocated "to  improve the response time of this site. The server was overloaded by unexpected increase in traffic as well as by attempted denial of service attacks coming mainly from US-based domains."  A summary of the reports through 3-29-2003 can be downloaded in the form of a "zipped" text file here:

    War in Iraq - coalition losses mount, ca. March 31, 2003

    War in Iraq - Iraqis are well equipped, ca March 30, 2003

    War in Iraq - no progress for coalition, ca. March 29, 2003

    War in Iraq - a week of war, ca. March 28, 2003

    War in Iraq - preparing for battle UPDATE, ca. March 27, 2003

    War in Iraq - requirement for more troops, ca. March 27, 2003

    War in Iraq - better coalition performance, ca. March 26, 2003 source:

    War in Iraq - fighting the people, ca. March 25, 2003

    War in Iraq - situation at An-Nasiriya (update), ca. March 24, 2003

    War in Iraq - situation in southern Iraq, ca. March 23, 2003

    War in Iraq - news vacuum, ca. March 22, 2003

    War in Iraq - situation at Basra and An-Nasiriya, ca. March 22, 2003

    Weblog 2003-03-17, Moon Day

    A world safe for democracy, or perpetual war? An influential group of foreign policy thinkers sees the possibly imminent overthrow of Saddam Hussein as just one early step in an ambitious blueprint to spread democracy throughout the world and eliminate threats to the United States.  (CLG)

    Bush, Media Complicit in American False Beliefs on War in Iraq ( "See the media in US, all corporate owned and broadcasting on the publicly owned airwaves, know that war sells. CNN made a killing in the first Iraq war with its ground breaking coverage that, while at first heart rending and personalized became the formulaic standard for serialized war coverage."

    American woman peace activist killed by IDF bulldozer in Gaza An American woman peace protester was killed Sunday by an IDF bulldozer, which ran her over during the demolition of a house at the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip. Another activist was wounded in the incident.

    Photo story: Israeli bulldozer driver murders American peace activist On 16 March 2003 in Rafah, occupied Gaza, 23-year-old American peace activist Rachel Corrie from Olympia, Washington, was murdered by an Israeli bulldozer driver.

    Peter Freundlich on Shrubbyist hypocracy in Iraq, heard on All Things Considered, March 13, 2003:

    All right, let me see if I understand the logic of this correctly...

    We are going to ignore the United Nations in order to make clear to Saddam Hussein that the United Nations cannot be ignored.

    We're going to wage war to preserve the UN's ability to avert war. The paramount principal is that the UN's word must be taken seriously, and if we have to subvert its word to guarantee that it is, then, by gum, we will.  Peace is too important not to take up arms to defend.

    Am I getting this right?

    Further, if the only way to bring democracy to Iraq is to vitiate the democracy of the Security Council, then we are honor-bound to do that, too, because democracy as we define it is too important to be stopped by a little thing like democracy as they define it.

    Also, in dealing with a man who brooks no dissension at home, we cannot afford dissension among ourselves. We must speak with one voice against Saddam Hussein's failure to allow opposing voices to be heard.

    We are sending our gathered might to the Persian Gulf to make the point that might does not make right, as Saddam Hussein seems to think it does. And we are twisting the arms of the opposition until it agrees to let us oust a regime that twists the arms of the opposition.

    We cannot leave in power a dictator who ignores his own people, and if our people, and people elsewhere in the world, fail to understand that then we have no choice but to ignore them.

    Listen, don't misunderstand... I think it is a good thing that the members of the Bush administration seem to have been reading Lewis Carroll. I only wish someone had pointed out that 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Through the Looking Glass' are meditations on paradox and puzzle and illogic, and on the strangeness of things, not templates for foreign policy. It is amusing for the Mad Hatter to say something like "We must make war on him because he is a threat to peace," but not amusing for someone who actually commands an army to say that. As a collector of laughable arguments, I'd be enjoying all this, were it not for the fact that I know, we all know, that lives are going to be lost in what amounts to a freak, circular reasoning, accident.

    Draft materials moved to current weblog.

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