News broke last month that Chevron had signed an oil deal with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Northern Iraq , making it the second U.S. oil company in a year to violate the Iraqi Oil Ministry’s claimed right to negotiate all energy deals from Baghdad. [i] In response, the Iraqi government disqualified the U.S. oil giant from signing any future deals with the Ministry, which prompted President Obama to denounce Chevron’s actions and reinforce America’s support for the Maliki government’s central authority in Baghdad. These developments are coming at a precarious juncture. The last of the U.S. troops have exited an increasingly violent Iraq , Iraqi oil production is outpacing Iran’s for the first time since the end of the Iran-Iraq War, and the latest estimates are that the Kurdish region is home to 45 billion barrels of oil (more than twice the proven U.S. reserves).
Some people have compared it to Hitler’s publication of Mein Kampf, which was ignored until after the war was over. Full text of Rebuilding America’s Defenses here When the Bush administration started lobbying for war with Iraq, they used as rationale a definition of preemption (generally meaning anticipatory use of force in the face of an imminent attack) that was broadened to allow for the waging of a preventive war in which force may be used even without evidence of an imminent attack.
In March 2003, the United States of America launched an entirely unprovoked act of military aggression against a nation which had not attacked it and posed no threat to it. This act led directly to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. It drove millions more from their homes, and plunged the entire conquered nation into suffering, fear, hatred and deprivation. This is the reality of what actually happened in Iraq: aggression, slaughter, atrocity, ruin.
Colin Powell Gets Mad at Me In his new book, It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership , Colin Powell writes this about his 2003 presentation at the United Nations about Iraq's supposed WMD: "I get mad when bl*ggers accuse me of lying – of knowing the information was false. I didn’t." Well, I'm a blugger, and I accuse Colin Powell of lying. The evidence is overwhelming that he knew much of what he said in front of the Security Council was false. This may not seem plausible to people who know Powell only via the media image he's carefully constructed over decades – that of being Washington's last honorable man.
Right before the United States invaded Iraq, Newsweek magazine published a remarkable story. Reporter John Barry revealed that former Iraqi weapons chief Hussein Kamel had told UN inspectors in 1995 that the country had destroyed its stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. As FAIR pointed out at the time , this was a remarkable discovery, especially considering that Kamel's words had be used so often by U.S. officials to serve the opposite point–that Iraq still posed a dire threat.
"Curveball", the Iraqi defector who fabricated claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, smiles as he confirms how he made the whole thing up. It was a confidence trick that changed the course of history, with Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi's lies used to justify the Iraq war. He tries to defend his actions: "My main purpose was to topple the tyrant in Iraq because the longer this dictator remains in power, the more the Iraqi people will suffer from this regime's oppression." The chemical engineer claimed to have overseen the building of a mobile biological laboratory when he sought political asylum in Germany in 1999.
Two eyes took the aim behind a man's brain But he can't be blamed: He's only a pawn in their game - Bob Dylan I got suckered yesterday by a logo. Nothing special about that besides the irony that the logo was No Logo , which sold me a copy of No War by Naomi Klein ("and others," though that addendum is dark blue on a black background).
We asked for signs. The signs were sent. - Leonard Cohen Afraid the time's too short today for writing, but time's getting shorter every day.
They're saying things that I can hardly believe, They really think we're getting out of control. - Elvis Costello Did you hear about last Friday's "catastrophic tragedy" in Iraq? The handcuffed and headless bodies of 100 Shiites - "children, women and men" - were taken to Kerbala from south Baghdad, writes Iraqi blogger "Sam Hammorabi." Reputedly, Sunni militia had been killing the Shiites "every day and hour passing."
They ask me if I feel remorse and I answer, Why of course: There's so much more I could have done if they'd let me - Nick Cave There's a lot I want to say about a number of things, but I can't seem to find those words until I scream some others. Have you read the Iraqi police report of last week's little Helter Skelter outside Tikrit? From Knight Ridder :
It's five in the morning, the post I've been drafting still isn't ready and I can't keep my eyes open any longer. So here's something else, while I get my act together: 2 Murders and Missing Cash in Iraq The killing of Fern Holland, a young human rights worker from Oklahoma, remains as unsolved and mysterious as it was when her body was found riddled with bullets on a desolate stretch of road near one of Iraq's southern holy cities in March 2004. Now, federal investigators in the United States are grappling with a second mystery: what happened to hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash issued by U.S. government authorities to Holland and Robert Zangas, a press officer who died in the same incident, in the days before their deaths?
I'm leaving, Captain, I must go There's blood upon your hand But tell me, Captain, if you know Of a decent place to stand - Leonard Cohen Only time right now for some quick thoughts on Haditha . Or rather, Haditha's elevation as Iraq's official, bad apple atrocity. Even for those who try to pay attention to what filters through the fog of war crimes, these things tend to run together. Haditha isn't Abu Sifa where, according to Iraqi police, US forces " on a rampage " executed a family of 11, then bombed their house, burned their cars and slaughtered their animals. What more will we hear of Abu Sifa, now Haditha has become the representative and inevitable example of honour's exception?
"It's a hard world for little things" - Night of the Hunter This has to be brief, as I'm still not up to speed here. Last December, Pfc Steven Green was the face of the Army's happy news story, "Coalition forces keep streets of Iraq safe." (And sure thing, there he is, preparing "to blast a lock off the gate of an abandoned home.") Six months later, he's charged with the rape of an Iraqi girl possibly as young as 14, her murder and the murder of her family, including her seven-year old brother Hadeel. (Her name was Abeer Qasim Hamza.
Got to be an important person to be in here, honey, Got to have done some evil deed. - Bob Dylan An even more discouraging spectacle than George Bush's long-expected bullhorning the death sentence of Saddam Hussein is that of America's putative opposition party making a bandwagon of his tumbrel. Howard Dean hailed it as a "great verdict," adding that Hussein "is a war criminal and he's getting what he deserves." Whether that's Dean's own mind or the oversoul of the Democratic National Committee talking, it's sad to see the loss to America of a leader who could voice courageous uncertainty by saying , two weeks before Bush's "Mission Accomplished," that "We've gotten rid of [Saddam], and I suppose that's a good thing." Where'd that guy go? And now, over Karl Rove's final 72 hours, comes word that the Republicans are " surging ," just in time and against all reason.
When philosopher George Santayana said “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” he meant it as an admonition — not as an endorsement of mass amnesia or historical revision. This should be obvious. Yet those operating at the shadowy intersection of the Pentagon and Hollywood either don’t understand – or more likely, refuse to understand — the thrust of the aphorism.