Shoe-orrism

I will never tire of watching this clip.

I am sorry, does this mean that we will now not be allowed to wear shoes at all?

And the problem that the powers that be now have is that if they lock the journalist up then he becomes a martyr, and if they release him then he becomes a martyr.

And how long will it be before we get a internet based game of throwing shoes at Bush?

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219 Responses

  1. It’s a disappointment that he missed! GWB must have plenty of dodging practice!

  2. I don’t know why but everytime I watch this I have fits of uncontrollable laughter. It’s so absurd and funny. Like a Jaques Tati movie.

  3. I love it! His shot wasn’t bad at all, however, I would have thrown first and hurled insults after I hit the target.

  4. Maybe the shoe thrower should think about getting his kit of for a woman’s magazine? That’s seems to draw media attention as well.

  5. Well at least it is nice to see Iraqi’s embracing their new found freedom!

  6. Freedom of speech Sparta, but he got locked up for throwing a shoe. Damn my mother should have been given a life sentence without chance of parole.

  7. Sparta

    “The journalist, Muntadhar al-Zeidi, was being held by Iraqi security on Monday and interrogated about whether anybody had paid him to throw his shoes at Bush during a press conference on Sunday in Baghdad, said an Iraqi official.”

    What’s the bet that he’s having his toe nails buffed and polished by interrogators?

  8. Kind of ironic, really. I mean, I know it’s another great excuse to have a chuckle at the chimp, and I get that, but whatever you think of the costs in terms of lives etc, isn’t it kinda funny that this journo took advantage of the very freedoms afforded to him by the actions of Bush etc safely mount his protest? What would the result have been had a protestor done the same thing to a visiting head of state prior to 2003?

  9. Further, you’ve got to admire Bush’s evasive skills. Both shots were dead on target and Bush’s efforts were like a well trained boxer.

  10. If the shoes had contained my socks, Bush would have fainted. They seem to have passed within 2 feet of his nose.

  11. Ah yes, the invasion of Iraq was all about journalistic freedom. How many more reasons will we have for the invasion?

  12. James

    Rumour has it he’d had a snort before the conference so he would have been somewhat hyper anyway.

    Hey, I was just thinking this guy could be a shoe-in for the next PM of Iraq.

  13. Interesting comments at the Angry Arab News Service blog.

  14. Tom

    Nobody can compete with my foot odour mate. He would have fainted before the shoe left my hand.

  15. On a serious note though, and I still can’t wipe the smile off my face, but seriously though…this incident may just turn the whole war on its head.

    It seems this guy has sent a message that represent the feelings of many in the Middle East.

  16. “Ah yes, the invasion of Iraq was all about journalistic freedom. How many more reasons will we have for the invasion?”

    Well you can discount it all you like there joni, but the reality is the guy would be dead already or would never have attempted such a thing under SH. Notice he mentions nothing about terrorists? You got to love the ME logic. Apparently, as long as it is a Muslim killing a muslim=acceptable.

  17. I was wondering when this news item would kick in (still waiting on some commentary RE: Telstra’s monumental NBN stuff-up).

    Personally, I think this is great. Yes, he was exercising a freedom he would not have had should he have thrown a shoe at Saddam. I get the feeling that Saddam might have forgiven him for doing it to GWB though 🙂

    The interesting thing is that they would be very hard pressed to have a “jury of his peers” convict him of the crime they claim to be charging him with (something like “insult/damage to state of Iraq”). There is an incredible outpouring of support for the guy. Outside the diplomatic/government channels – it is hard to find condemnation of the act.

    I’m also betting that there will be a diplomatic “request” for this guy to be punished for GWB’s embarrasment. He may have held well to humour in the room, but how did he fare when he found out how much of an insult that is…

  18. B. Tollput

    All it sometimes takes is one act of open defiance to trigger a reaction that can derail any type of progress authorities claim is occurring. It remains to be seen whether this one man’s thoughts and feelings are representative of the majority of Iraqi’s, and others in the M/E. The consequences could be devastating, however, ‘the truth’ has a way of finding expression.

  19. Apparently this contributed to his anger…..

    “In January Mr Mr Zaidi was reportedly arrested by American soldiers who searched his apartment building.

    He was released the next day with an apology and the experience contributed to his deep opposition to the US military’s presence in Iraq, Associated Press has reported.”

    With an apology. Fluck me drunk!!! In the old days he’d have been released minus a few fingernails, if he were released at all!!

  20. All jokes aside, how has this ended up being about ‘freedom of expression’? If he had yelled out the comment and left it at that, or had worn a shirt with an anti-Bush slogan, that would have been freedom of expression but this has gone further than that – he has thrown an object potentially capable of causing harm at a person and a visiting dignatory at that. This should be called what it is – attempted assault and the attacker should be tried for that.

    I agree with Sparta that he probably would have been shot had SH still been in power but the fact that he isn’t, and that Bush wasn’t harmed doesn’t reduce the fact that this was an attempted assault. We decry Greg Bird for throwing a glass at his GF but somehow excuse a reporter because he threw a shoe at Bush – GMAFB.

    While I find the footage interesting, I still think what he did is criminal and he should face the consequences.

  21. James @9

    I agree. They were extremely well-targeted shots. Maybe he had been practising at home in the lead up to the press conference?

    And Bush’s lightning reflex was remarkably fast.

    It’s a pity the boot didn’t hit him though. That would’ve been the real icing on the cake.

  22. All jokes aside, how has this ended up being about ‘freedom of expression’? If he had yelled out the comment and left it at that, or had worn a shirt with an anti-Bush slogan…

    If he had an anti Bush slogan on a T-Shirt he would not have been allowed in, seriously, that is how tightly controlled and managed Bush’ events are.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-07-23-bush-protesters_x.htm

  23. Excuse me everyone, I have an announcement..

    That last comment of kittylitter @22, was in fact the 10,000th comment on blogocrats since its inception.

    Howabout that then?

    🙂

  24. And only 250 hits to go to beat to 100,000 mark.

    Well done blogocrats.

  25. “We decry Greg Bird for throwing a glass at his GF but somehow excuse a reporter because he threw a shoe at Bush – GMAFB.”

    A little different Dave55, he glassed up close and personal, it’s alleged . There’s obviously a deep anger and rage over what has happened to millions of the journalist’s fellow Iraqi’s, and much worse than having shoes thrown at them. Killed, maimed and displaced.

  26. 23. reb

    Is there a prize or something? 🙂

  27. Kittylitter.

    I might be able to rustle up a CD….!!!

  28. John,

    Geez…..now were up to millions? Displaced, some might say they have the ability to leave now without fear of their families being harmed. You really don’t need a war as an excuse to “flee” ones country these days. Please give me a country outside of the Western world that doesn’t have sizable populations living abroad under the guise of “refugee” or seeking to be “displaced” into the West?

    http://www.state.gov/g/prm/refadm/rls/fs/2008/111973.htm

    Any boats washed up this week? Again, how many “Iraqi’s” have been killed by fellow Iraqi’s? That argument is so bleeding ignorant for a guy that usually has plenty of intelligent things to say. Nothing quite like objective journalism; seems this guy has much in common with his global colleagues.

  29. Sparta

    All we have to go off are estimates and if you were to think of all those killed, maimed or displaced then yes, it would run into millions. And how did all this start by the way? Please don’t try and mimimise the damage done.

    Here’s such an estimate from 2006:

    UN: Civilian Death Toll Hits New High in Iraq
    http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2006-11/2006-11-22-voa19.cfm
    By Margaret Besheer
    Irbil
    22 November 2006

    Nearly 4,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in sectarian violence in October, the highest monthly toll since the U.S.-led invasion began. A new report from the United Nations warns the influence of illegal armed militias is growing and torture is rampant despite Iraqi government promises to address human rights abuses. From northern Iraq, VOA’s Margaret Besheer has more.

    The U.N. report says 3,709 Iraqis were killed in October – 364 more people than were killed the previous month, and the bloodiest month since the war began in 2003.

    Until October, July’s death toll of more than 3,500 people had been the deadliest.

    The dead were overwhelmingly male, the victims of sectarian attacks and counter-attacks that have been plaguing Baghdad and its outskirts for nearly a year.

    The killings are often brutal, with most of the victims showing signs of torture, including drill holes in their bodies, and execution-style killings.

    Information in the report was gathered from Iraq’s health ministry and hospitals.

    Gianni Magazzeni, the chief of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Baghdad, says tens of thousands of Iraqis have been displaced since insurgents bombed one of Shi’ite Islam’s most sacred shrines earlier this year.

    “UNHCR [the United Nations Refugee Agency] estimates that over 418,392 people have been displaced due to sectarian violence and 15,240 due to military operations since the bombing at the al-Askari Shrine in Samarra on 22 February 2006,” Magazzeni. “Some $1.6 million have sought refuge in neighboring countries since 2003.”

    Many of those who have fled Iraq are professors, judges, doctors and other professionals. Members of these professions are increasingly the target of kidnappers and death squads. Also under attack are those who tell the story of what is happening in Iraq. In the last two months, the report says 18 journalists were killed.

    The spiraling violence is expected to the be main topic next week, when President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki meet in Jordan.

  30. Sparta

    Let me see now, you think having a shoe thrown at Dubbya compares to the carnage caused by invading and trying to occupy Iraq?

  31. John McP

    There’s obviously a deep anger and rage over what has happened to millions of the journalist’s fellow Iraqi’s, and much worse than having shoes thrown at them. Killed, maimed and displaced.

    You miss my point. I don’t for a minute suggest that he doesn’t have genuine cause for his anger at Bush; what annoys me is that people are suggesting that throwing a projectile at another person is an acceptable form of self expression simply because they have sympathy for that view (in this case, the Bush invasion and occupation of Iraq). Freedom of speech is simply that – freedom to speak and express a view through words or images whether written, spoken or sung etc). Violence (and this is exactly what the shoe throwing was) is NOT freedom of speech.

    My analogy with Bird is valid. What would be your view if (hypothetical situation) Bird’s girl friend had made racist comments about Bird and he had reacted by simply picking up the nearest object and throwing it at her (which just happened to be made of glass ). Would we have sympathy for Bird being angry – almost certainly; does that excuse his actions – No. The shoe incident falls into the same category; IMO it’s just the magnitude of the reason for anger that differs.

  32. John,

    Free will is a bitch isn’t it? So this guy is pissed off that when given freedom his fellow countrymen decide to kill each other? I think we both know that most of this region is only capable of living in peace when forced to do so under the strong arm of a brutal dictator. It is simply disingenuos to keep blaming America for the death of every Iraqi since we showed up. Maybe we should start blaming the US for deaths in Germany up until the present as well? When do we begin to hold the Iraqi’s responsible for Iraqi choices? Never?

  33. “My analogy with Bird is valid. What would be your view if (hypothetical situation) Bird’s girl friend had made racist comments about Bird and he had reacted by simply picking up the nearest object and throwing it at her (which just happened to be made of glass ). Would we have sympathy for Bird being angry – almost certainly; does that excuse his actions – No. The shoe incident falls into the same category; IMO it’s just the magnitude of the reason for anger that differs.”

    Come on Dave, now you’re playing with a hypothetical that comes a ‘glassing’ to ‘shoe throwing’ – and by trying to use a completely different scenario by claiming ‘what if?’ only clouds the issue.

  34. Sparta

    Who invaded who here? And why did they feel it necessary to invade and try and occupy?

  35. 27. reb | December 16, 2008 at 2:26 pm
    Kittylitter.

    I might be able to rustle up a CD….!!!

    hehe…oh my ‘country’ stars !

  36. 33 correction , now you’re playing with a hypothetical that compares a ‘glassing’ to ’shoe throwing’

  37. 100,000 HITS WELL DONE BLOGOCRATS!!!!

  38. Cindy Sheehan:
    Bush Deserved the Shoes

    …I am not only angry that BushCo killed my oldest son, my best-friend, my darling Casey, but I am super-pissed that the Bush regime has killed or injured tens of thousands of our troops; millions of Iraqis and Afghans and destroyed two countries for nothing but greed for money and power. I am angry that our country is teetering perilously on the brink of economic collapse and millions of our brothers and sisters have lost their jobs and homes because of the Robber class, led and supported by BushCo. I often wonder what it would take to anger my materialistic and easily distracted neighbors and detractors.

    I have met with the president and I know how many checkpoints, metal detectors, physical inspections and other extreme security measures one goes through. There is no way any lethal weapons would get through, but throwing shoes is a perfect non-lethal way of showing the “most powerful” man in the world how much contempt one has for him.

    Of course, George and his entourage would have to pay “surprise” visits to the countries he has devastated. If his visits were announced, some advance planning could be done and he may have to face more than shoes…

  39. And a nice reply from a commenter:

    The shoes unfortunately did not contain “dog-poo’. That would have been better still. Actually , your “supreme commander’ deserved a lot more: a pair of shoes in exchange for Bush’s “Shock and Awe” was a meagre retaliation, I think. (Hans Boeker)

  40. John,

    My point is that throwing anything is inexcusable – yet you are excusing it. At what point does the object thrown become unacceptable in your opinion? If the shoe had hit, would that have made a difference?

    Clearly this Journo was frustrated and wanted to make a point. Well he did, but then so did Bin Laden by arranging for a couple of planes to be crashed into some buildings. I’m assuming you don’t condone the latter incident.

    What about Palestinians throwing rocks and molotov cocktails against the Israelis, or The Catholics doing the same against the British soldiers in Northern Island?

    By saying “its only a shoe’ puts you on a very slippery slope.

  41. Thank you Kittylitter

    Now Sparta

    Free will in the US also sucks! Violence (Americans killing and maiming Americans) also seems to have risen under Bush’s watch. If the shoe fits (LOL) Frankly, I’d say violence in Iraq was down significantly before Bush came along.

    Violent Crime, a Sticky Issue for White House, Shows Steeper Rise
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2007/09/24/ST2007092400586.html
    The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program found that robberies surged by 7.2 percent and homicides rose 1.8 percent from 2005 to 2006. Violent crime overall rose 1.9 percent, substantially more than an increase of 1.3 percent estimated in a preliminary FBI report in June.

    The jump was the second in two years, following a 2.3 percent rise in 2005. Taken together, the two years represent the first steady increase in violent crime since 1993, FBI records show.

    The uptick presents a significant political challenge for the Bush administration, which has faced growing criticism from congressional Democrats, big-city mayors and police chiefs for presiding over cuts in federal assistance to local law enforcement agencies over the past six years.

    The findings also come as the administration seeks confirmation of former federal judge Michael B. Mukasey to replace Alberto R. Gonzales, who resigned as attorney general earlier this month.

    Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum in Washington, which studies crime trends, said the FBI report shows “a significant departure from the previous 10 years of fairly flat or declining crime numbers.”
    ad_icon

    “What it underscores is what a number of communities have been seeing firsthand, and that is a spike in street-level violent crime,” Wexler said. “For some cities, crime is back as a significant issue.”

    In addition to the overall number of violent-crime reports, the violent crime rate rose by about 1 percent, the FBI said. The rate measures the number of reported crimes based on population

  42. John,

    Nice try but changing the subject still doesn’t answer the question I just raised. When are Iraqi’s responsible for their actions if ever in your opinion? Do you not see the tortured logic or lack thereof in blaming every Iraqi death on American “occupation” when the overwhelming majority of said deaths have been at the hands of fellow Iraqi’s? To apply it would mean you subscribe to the analogy I raised with Germany. Hardly sounds rational to me?

  43. “tortured logic”

    apt choice of words Sparta…

    LOL!!

  44. You’re playing with me now Sparta

    Shiites and Sunnis coexisted peacefully until an unprepared US invaded and got rid of all the Baathist security forces who were responsible for keeping law and order. Those who were sacked then went on to form ‘militias’ essentially making Iraq a lawless country.

    The US have acknowledged that the rise in violence and insurgency were a direct result of their own failure to think the occupancy through.

    Anymore silly questions?

  45. Sparta

    And yes, there were nowhere near enough US troops to manage law and order. Hence, it was easy for insurgent to insert themselves. So much for counter-insurgency warfare – I learned that in basic training – it seems the US had never heard of it.

    Anymore silly questions?

  46. Sparta

    So, in short, by invading and sacking the security forces the US made the situation drastically worse for themselves and everybody else. And that’s the story of how the US caused the quagmire that is Iraq.

  47. Dave55

    Its started. Try to see the funny side.

    Bush shoe throwing footage goes viral
    http://www.smh.com.au/news/technology/web/web-gets-a-kick-out-of-shoe-throwing-incident/2008/12/16/1229189605640.html
    In internet land, yesterday’s news is today’s viral web hit, especially when it involves a chance to poke fun at US President George Bush.

    Within hours of the now infamous shoe-throwing incident – or “shoegate”, as it was inevitably labelled – online hoons began remixing the footage into funny animated images and at least two online games

  48. Sparta

    I forgot, remember when the US provided the ‘new security forces’ with hundreds of thousands of weapons and somehow most were diverted to the ‘militias’ LOL Good one. How embarrassing.

  49. Sparta

    I hope I answered your question ( Hardly sounds rational to me?)

  50. Sparta

    Question: What would happen if the US government decided to sack all law enforcement officers tomorrow?

    Think carefully and you might even shock yourself with the type of logical thinking you’re capable of.

  51. John

    Its started. Try to see the funny side.

    I do see the funny side – honestly I do. I love black humour (don’t get me started on the baby jokes) and there is a delicious irony here; it’s just that I just find it frustrating when people who decry violence then go and condone it different circumstances because of who the victim is or the ‘trivial’ nature of the violence or the fact that the violence serve a purpose for which they agree.

    Anyway – enough from me on this topic – I’m off to play the game:
    http://www.t-enterprise.co.uk/flashgame/playgame.aspx?id=bushbootcamp

  52. Dave55 I get what your point is, however, it’s just too much of a technicality for me to agree with. And for the record I know you’ve got a sense of humour, I don’t think Sparta has though.

    Imagine having to come to the realisation that the myth of Iraqi responsibility you’ve held for so long, have been busted?

    And all this time the US and Iraqi Government have essentially had to try to undo the damage done from the outset of the invasion/occupation. Talk about making it hard for themselves.

  53. John Mc @ 44……

    Bull……..shit!!!!!! Sunnis and Shiites lived together peacefully. Yeah and SH was a benevolent elected leader of men.

  54. 53 James – I have it on fairly good authority that was the case. I’ve spoken with many people from Iraq and that’s exactly what most of them have said. And the situation in Iraq is all better now for the invasion/occupation?

    In fact, Saddam was a dictator, no doubt, however his control over security forces and his demand that Iraq’s from the Shiite and Sunni community’s coexist peacefully was enforced all under the watchful eye of the security forces (Members of the Baathist Party which consisted of Sunni’s and Shiites).

    Saddam was a Sunni, yet the majority of Iraqi’s are Shiites – figure that out.

    Don’t make me throw my shoe at you (wink)

  55. “Of course, George and his entourage would have to pay “surprise” visits to the countries he has devastated. If his visits were announced, some advance planning could be done and he may have to face more than shoes…”from kitty’s link

    This says more about the manufactured & constantly shifting justifications for the war than anything else.

    Not exactly welcomed as a liberator…damned ungrateful brown people who worship the wrong god.

    Hilarious, good dodge by the simpleton though.

  56. Toiletboss@55

    WMD’s, Terrorism, The Iranians..what was it again?

    Invade with the excuse of WMD’s, then have Al Qaeda as a next excuse (forgetting that the Al Qaeda in Iraq consisted of 95% Iraqi’s opposed to occupation) then stir up Iran by accusing them of all the wrongdoings in the region.

    Damn it, Cheney was actually almost right back in 1994, and he could yet be more accurate than he originally thought
    http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=qnV4tMvI0ME

  57. Not to outdone by a lame-duck president, Kevvie was dodging shoes-of-protest of his own today:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/12/16/2447688.htm

  58. JMcP@56

    Ah yes the Iranian question! A festering hotbed of anti-Americanism since the CIA orchestrated illegal interference in it’s democratic processes way back in the 50’s. Not so easily dismissed as simply “evildoers” if one has even a rudimentary understanding of the country’s history.

    Will Israel bite the bullet (so to speak) behind all of its dangerous rhetoric (I also acknowledge the unhelpful & dangerous rhetoric stemming from Iran itself) & strike the Persians? I doubt that Obama has the resources, the ‘nads or the total lack of global awareness necessary to commit such a stupid miscalculation of foreign policy…unlike the erstwhile shoe-target.

    Bush should be pusued until his dying day with more fervour than that reserved for the condemned consumers of corona.

  59. ToSY@57

    I have a hefty pair of size 12 steelcaps ready to launch at St. Kevin should the opportunity arise.
    I keep my broken housebricks at the ready for any chance encounters with serving members of the Coalition.

  60. Iranian leaders were always going to get into a to and fro with the US and Israel, that’s just to be expected.

    Israel vs Iran? Very possible. But seething away is the problems in Afghanistan, Pakistan and their obvious tension with India (both nuclear armed).

    You could say that how these conflicts have been initiated and grossly mismanaged have taken the US from a relative position of strength (although the global financial crisis is also bound to adversely effect their position as a dominant superpower) to one where they’ve almost depleted their military resources (especially ground forces) – except, of course, they can win these wars if they go for the nuclear option.

    The US have a very hard road ahead both militarily and economically.

  61. I just think that the desire to say that those who find this funny, nay, hilarious are supporting the use of violence to make a point is a bit lazy.

    Just like the “you’re either with us or against us” line that was trotted out prior to gulf war to demonise those who were against the war from the start.

    I just think it is hilarious that we now will have to not wear shoes to press conferences as they are now “weapons of leather construction”.

  62. 56. John McPhilbin | December 16, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    WMD’s, Terrorism, The Iranians..what was it again?

    Nah it went something like:

    1. Irrefutably WMD, not regime change, we would never invade for a regime change.

    2. No WMD, nah they are just well hidden, other eason is to bring freedom and democracy to the Iraqis, but not just for regime change, we would never invade for regime change.

    3. Definitely no WMD and Iraqi insurgency rises, we invaded to get rid of Saddam, the evilest of evil ever, so it was for regime change, but hint hint he had something to do with the attacks on the US on September 11 2001.

    4. To bring freedom and democracy to Iraqis, and not so our no contest companies can rake in billions on the back of Iraqis. Sorry we kinda misled you about Saddam and Sep 11 2001.

    5. Oil? No it’s about freedom and democracy for Iraqis which we will force on them our way under our rule, and it has nothing to do with oil. Ignore the fact we are taking non-metered oil out of Iraq and that Haliburton was given complete control of Iraq’s oil.

    6. It’s to fight terrorism and Al Queda. We know they weren’t in Iraq when we invaded but that was our plan all along. To suck all these terrorists in and crush them. Don’t worry about the suffering Iraqis, they have the freedom and democracy we have forced on them, they are happy happy happy.

    7. It’s all about fighting terrorism.

    8. Oil, what oil?

  63. HD @ 59: LOL

    Joni @ 61: “WLCs” ROFL

  64. That’s it Adrian, I can always trust you to fill in the blank spots. Oil is the simple and most logical answer as to why the US decided to invade.

  65. joni

    I just think that the desire to say that those who find this funny, nay, hilarious are supporting the use of violence to make a point is a bit lazy.

    That wasn’t my point at all joni. My comment was aimed at people saying that this is all about free speech when it was no such thing.

    I do see the humour in this but bear in mind that the action wan’t intended to be funny – it was an act of desperation by the journo. I suspect that the only reason we are finding this funny is because:
    a) it was Bush and he deserves what he gets;
    b) it was a shoe (and lets face it, being assaulted with a shoe (other than a stiletto which are v. scary) is pretty humerous;
    c) security simply can’t stop all acts of desperation.

    I found the Russell Crowe Phone incident pretty amusing as well but lets face it, that act was prosecuted as being criminal (until Russ paid the bloke off) and so is this. As I’m sure most of our parent’s and grand parents (and countless others) have said to us over the years – two wrongs don’t make a right and while this might be funny (because it WAS Bush and it Was a shoe), we have to be careful that we aren’t condoning just that and looking just a little hypocritical in the process.

  66. You’ve just got to love Iraq’s sense of democracy

    Bush shoe-thrower ‘has broken arm, ribs’
    http://news.smh.com.au/world/bush-shoethrower-has-broken-arm-ribs-20081216-6zqs.html
    The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at US President George W Bush has a broken arm and ribs after being struck by Iraqi security agents, his brother told AFP on Tuesday.

    Durgham Zaidi was unable to say whether his brother Muntazer had sustained the injuries while being overpowered during Sunday’s protest against Bush’s visit or while in custody later.

    He said he had been told that his brother was being held by Iraqi forces in the heavily fortified Green Zone compound in central Baghdad where the US embassy and most government offices are housed.

    “He has got a broken arm and ribs, and cuts to his eye and arm,” said Durgham.

    “He is being held by forces under the command of Muaffaq al-Rubaie,” Iraq’s national security adviser, he added.

    Zaidi, 29, a journalist for the private Iraqi television channel Al-Baghdadia, was swiftly overpowered by Iraqi security forces after he threw the shoes at Bush in a gesture seen as the supreme mark of disrespect in the Muslim world.

    An AFP journalist said that cuts were visible on his face as he was led away into custody.

    Bush, who was on a swansong visit to the battleground that came to dominate his eight-year presidency, ducked when the shoes were thrown and later made light of the incident.

  67. “Israel vs Iran? Very possible. But seething away is the problems in Afghanistan, Pakistan and their obvious tension with India (both nuclear armed).”JMcP

    Agreed, the subcontinent & Afghanistan are looking much more like the next, potentially far more lethal, quagmire at this point in time.
    The can of worms opened (primarily) by the neo-cons will be paying back it’s generational dividends of anti-western hatred for decades to come. I certainly don’t condone it, but I can comprehend why Teh West has presented itself as a big, fat, soft target.

  68. Toiletboss you forget about the other simmering tensions. The Northern Kurds and Iraqis and the Northern Kurds and Turkey.

    That is a pot that will come to the boil in good time and overflow in all the surrounding areas, probably just at the same time when the other boiling pots you mention blow their lids.

  69. Turkey and iraq have been at it for some time now. But turkey claims to have had enough of holding back. Afgan keep threatening usa for there attacks that harm lots of civilians.
    One common ground is there all esculating some faster then others. But no doubt there will be a useless war just around the corner.

  70. Adrian@68

    Not a pretty picture is it!

    Despite all of the (largely after the fact) pontificating about the virtues of deposing Saddam… I doubt that the architects of all of this destabilisation are patting themselves on the back when they have a quiet moment away from the obligatory posturing & public bravado to deeply consider the (already frayed) threads of civilization that they have actively, & ineptly, unravelled.

    All of the justifications in hindsight don’t get close to being recompense for the rift in global semi-tranquility that has been wrought. Apologists, ideologues & pom-pom girls claim victory (& have done since day one, well before “Mission Accomplished”) without the uneasy foresight to anticipate the carnage & hatred which will stretch through generation after generation in legacy of the terrible misdeeds we have all been aligned with by default.

  71. Pretty heavy shit Toiletboss@70 (get it, heavy shit?LOL) but pretty close to the truth.

  72. As a sign of your admiration, please feel free (compelled) to send your old shoes to;

    George W. Bush Presidential Library
    c/o SMU
    6425 Boaz Lane
    Dallas TX 75205

  73. Good and valid points made by Adrian @ 62.

    Lets not forget the words of the spineless turd Little Dick Cheney in 2003 when commenting on the impending US (illegal) invasion when asked ‘how long, how much, how many US casualties’.

    Cheney replies: ‘Six months, $500,00 million, minimum casualties’.

    How did Bush get to enter Iraq? Did he apply for a temporary visa, who approved that visa, did he enter this colony as Emperor?

  74. John,

    My apologies, had to sleep and all. I will make this real simply as you seem to be wanting to rehatch all the old arguments. Now think before you answer.

    When are the Iraqi’s responsible for their own actions? Come on big guy, you can do it. The rest of your points are acient history and getting well away from the topic. However, that tends to be the favorite method of individuals when they can’t answer a question.

    Oh yes, why I am not suprised the “shoe thrower” has been injured. I can’t imagine he would ever claim “torture”? Maybe they will fly him off to Gitmo or Egypt for some “waterboarding”, even with the eyes of the world on the guy. I must admit, you are hilarious suggesting Sunni and Shiite were somehow living peacfully together under SH all out of mutual respect for each other. Now that is funny, you got me laughing now. Any other points from fantasy land or do you intend on just avoiding my little question with more of your own some more?

  75. I wonder how long before Al-Jazeer or the New York Times offers this guy a job?

  76. Sparta

    Your worldview is just a little skewed when it comes to issues of the US at war, and I don’t blame you. You’re obviously a true patriot who carries the flag through thick and thin.

    I, on the other hand, have spent much time viewing the human issues from multiple perspective and this takes time and a willingness to take the blinkers off. It also helps that I’ve spent time in the military myself and can honestly say that the US’s invasion of Iraq will be viewed as the greatest military blunder of all time.

  77. Sparta

    Unfortauntely the US is going to be counting the cost not only of war, but the financial devastation your system has inflicted on the global system for many, many years to come. God bless America. I mean, God bless the American taxpayers.

    U.S. costs of Iraq, Afghan wars top $900 billion: report
    http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE4BE6LN20081216
    By David Morgan

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. military operations, including the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, have cost $904 billion since 2001 and could top $1.7 trillion by 2018, even with big cuts in overseas troop deployments, a report said on Monday.

    A new study released by the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, or CSBA, said the Iraq conflict’s $687 billion price tag alone now exceeds the cost of every past U.S. war except for World War II, when expenditures are adjusted for inflation.

    With another $184 billion in spending for Afghanistan included, the two conflicts surpass the cost of the Vietnam War by about 50 percent, the report said.

    CSBA said U.S. military operations have already reached $904 billion since 2001, including the two wars as well as stepped-up military security activities at home and the payout in war-related veterans’ benefits. The estimate includes allocated spending into 2009.

    In contrast, a separate Government Accountability Office study released on Monday said Congress has provided the Pentagon with $808 billion for the Bush administration’s global war on terrorism from 2001 through September 30, 2008, including $508 billion for Iraq and $118 billion for Afghanistan, the Philippines and the Horn of Africa.

    The CSBA study said U.S. taxpayers could pay another $416 billion to $817 billion over the next decade, even if the combined troop deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan were slashed to between 30,000 and 75,000.

    That would bring the cost for both wars to between $1.3 trillion and $1.72 trillion for 2001 through 2018, and even higher when federal borrowing costs are included, CSBA said.

    The United States has 143,000 troops in Iraq and 31,000 in Afghanistan. Washington has agreed to withdraw its forces from Iraq by the end of 2011, under a newly signed agreement with the Iraqi government. But U.S. officials are planning to add more than 20,000 forces in Afghanistan within 12 to 18 months.

    One reason for the ballooning costs is the Bush administration’s habit of funding the wars through supplemental budget requests, a practice that CSBA said has eroded congressional oversight and weakened the Pentagon’s long-term planning and budgeting processes.

    The Bush administration and Congress have also pursued significant tax cuts since 2001 and robust spending increases, rather than following the established approach of funding war costs by combining tax increases with curbs on domestic spending and borrowing.

    “The Bush administration has taken a starkly different approach to financing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the CSBA study said in its executive summary.

    In fact, CSBA said war cost projections rise significantly when interest payments on the federal debt are included in the calculations.

    Overall costs would reach $1.4 trillion to $1.8 trillion from 2001 through 2018 if borrowing were assumed to cover 10 percent of underlying military operations.

    CSBA said war cost projections would climb to between $2 trillion and $2.5 trillion, if all costs were covered by borrowing.

    (Editing by David Alexander and David Wiessler)

  78. “Good and valid points made by Adrian @ 62.”

    Yes, very valid, never heard any of that before. The genius of some on this site astounds me. They can offer much criticism but zero solution, must be difficult. Of course in “Adrian’s World” the rest of the world community, who also believed the weapons were there, gets a pass because after all, we are talking about the United States. So using Adrian’s angle one has to realize the rest of the world was in on the “racket”. Now we have signed an accord that pulls are troops out within 3 years minus the oil. Oh yes, I am curious there Adrian, how much Iraqi oil are we taking these days? Seems prices were climbing through the roof there for a while. Kind of makes the “clear thinking” individual ask the obvious. “If we are there just for the oil, then why are we not just taking it?” Iraqi freedom, yea let’s just mock that because really, it pains individuals like yourself to admit that it simply wouldn’t be had we not gone in. Hardly was our 1st priority, I will admit but certainly nothing to discount or mock. Maybe we should mock the Diggers in Afghanistan? Oh wait no large reservoirs of oil there, their mission must be noble.

    Were we not originally talking about some idiot that decided to throw a shoe at the president because “joe Iraqi” is killing “joe Iraqi”? If only SH were still there and his people suffering under UN resolution number 35 by now, real torture, execution, mass graves, everything would be just golden. Oh, the gold old days, when nobody bothered to keep track of the Iraqi body count or suffering. How I long for them and this “shoe thrower” must as well. Adrian, I mean, ME logic, you have to love it. More of a contradiction and hypocrisy then the situation they are lambasting.

  79. “Your worldview is just a little skewed when it comes to issues of the US at war, and I don’t blame you. You’re obviously a true patriot who carries the flag through thick and thin.”

    Well of course it is John especially when put forth here. Yes, I do consider myself a patriot but especially because I too have been around the world and seen it from many different perspectives. Interestingly I have found one common theme that transcends all, when all else fails, governments, policy, personal responsibility or humanity itself, just blame the US and you will get a sympathetic shoulder to cry on. You and many here are no different. I part company with GW and his ilk on multiple issues as I have mentioned countless times before. In all honesty, I am more of an isolationist when you get down to it. I too would rather see the world not sucking from the “tit” of the American taxpayer or benefiting from the will of warped politicians who are supposed to be representing us.

    “I, on the other hand, have spent much time viewing the human issues from multiple perspective and this takes time and a willingness to take the blinkers off. It also helps that I’ve spent time in the military myself and can honestly say that the US’s invasion of Iraq will be viewed as the greatest military blunder of all time.”

    How very typical you assume I haven’t? I too have traveled and lived throughout the world John, in fact I am writing you from outside of the USA “that I love” at the moment but it hardly makes you or me experts on the human experience from those respective countries. You talk of blinkers but there is hardly an original thought among many on this sight concerning this topic. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was all the same poster under different names. I too am a former military man and value that experience but I hardly take the position that it makes me a military strategist in a historical sense. Your ego abounds John. History will take many different views of the intervention in Iraq but it will be some time before we know which one. The end justifies the means in the eyes of history and although GW will be noted as making many blunders, the “intervention” will far surpass his policies, for better or worse. I digress and now if any of the “intelligencia” on this site, to include you could be so bold and answer this very basic question?

    When if ever do we hold the Iraqi’s responsible for their actions if at all?

    Come on John, your world travel, military experience etcetera should furnish you with the ability to answer that one? Why with all that wealth of knowledge have you avoided addressing it? I think we both know the answer to that one. You like GW seem to be adept at “bobbing and weaving” your way out of a situation. Sleep tight…………….

  80. Sparta Iraqi’s were responsible for their actions before the US invaded them. As the invader it became the US’s responsibility to protect and aid the Iraqi people, which the US did dismally in stuff up after stuff up.

    Iraqi’s have wanted to be responsible for several years now and have asked the US to leave, but the Bush administration has refused to do so and has refused to come under Iraqi law, which is Iraqis taking their own responsibility but the US telling them to get stuffed. So by the US refusing to leave and being the occupier it is their responsibility to ensure law and order for as long as they occupy the country.

    Now that America has so royally f*cked up you are attempting to blame shift that f*ck up onto the very people the US f*cked up. Just how hypocritical is that?

  81. sparta,

    I guess that the Iraqi’s have now decided that all US forces must leave within a three-year period (OMG – a timetable!) means that they are beginning to take control of their own destiny.

    Now – will the US let them make their own decisions?

    I wonder what would happen if they started to tear up the contracts that were signed by the provisional authority?

  82. Sparta

    As Adrian rightly points out ” Iraqi’s were responsible for their actions before the US invaded them. As the invader it became the US’s responsibility to protect and aid the Iraqi people, which the US did dismally in stuff up after stuff up”

    If you’ve witnessed and experienced the death and carnage brought about by the US’s failures, you too, might be as angry as many of the Iraqi’s are right now. And what you mistake for ‘ego’ comes from a place called ’empathy’ or, the willingness to try and walk in others shoes.

    You simply fail to connect on a very basic human level when you dismiss what Iraqi people have had to endure because of the Bush Administrations actions.

    I’ve sat for hours listening to stories of people who have been there and know more than you or I will ever know about suffering. The one thing you don’t take away people’s basic need to feel safe when you invade and try to occupy another’s country – law and order broke down as a direct result of US mistakes and they’ve been paying for it ever since.

    Why have the US continued to use as an excuse for remaining in the country? To help re-build (after it was destroyed by the US) Iraqi security forces. We know that if oil were not such an important reason the US would never bothered to invade in the first place and if they did invaded for the stated reasons they would have bugged out long ago and allowed the Iraqi’s to fend for themselves.

    Nice play eh?

  83. Meh, good to see we’re big enough to attract the usual trolls.

    Interesting to see that a shoe is now classified as a “deadly weapon” given they are going to charge the guy with attempting to murder a foreign president.

    Assault, I can see. Attempted murder is simply trying to squash him for the embarrassment (whether pushed or not by the US – you can decide)

  84. B.T.

    Yep – attempted murder is a bit rich. If he was on trial here, his mistreatment in custody would play a big role in sentencing as well.

  85. Along with the mitigating circumstances Dave. I’m yet to see the full story but apparently the reporter has relatives who were killed and/or injured because of US actions.

  86. Adrian,

    Yes but that wouldn’t actually count for much – Courts don’t take too kindly to vigilanteeism. If the actions had been in self defence, that would have been different and a relevant mitigating factor, as would a history of violence against that person by the victim although that usually manifests as a physchological defence (eg battered wife syndrome).

    As I have been at pains to point out – it is a slippery slope when you start defending acts of violence or retribution because of the scale of the the harm suffered by the victim and/ or the perceived scale of the violence relative to that harm.

  87. Here’s the game called Sock n Awe

    http://www.sockandawe.com/

  88. John,

    It is John right, or is it Adrian?

    Geez…What Adrian and you fail to see or acknowledge is, the only perceived “protection” under Saddam was in essence intimidation on a life and death scale, for the individual if they offended and possibly to include their families. Quite a deterrent wouldn’t you say? I will concede that in the initial stages of the operation the US should have tried to do more and failed to protect the citizenry against every last idiot with a grudge. Even if we had tried, it is hardly the American’s pulling the trigger, nor a reasonable expectation no matter the number of troops. Yes, we created the environment that allowed them the ability to commit such acts, something called freedom and the freedom to act. It is called pent up frustration of living under oppression for the past 30 some odd years. You would then advocate that state sponsored murder as a tactic to be used on ones citizenry or what? Would we have your blessing to use the same tactics as SH then? On that note, is your government able to protect you from every lunatic with a gun without the benefit of an “occupation”? Absolutely not, so why when an individual in your country commits a murder is your local police force or government not to blame? Are we still to blame for everything that has happened to every German citizen since 45 then? That is what you’re suggesting? IF not, then when are they responsible? Not that difficult but neither you nor Adrian seems to “get it”!

    “If you’ve witnessed and experienced the death and carnage brought about by the US’s failures, you too, might be as angry as many of the Iraqi’s are right now. And what you mistake for ‘ego’ comes from a place called ‘empathy’ or, the willingness to try and walk in others shoes.”

    John, I am in Health Care mate and work outside of the US quite a bit so please. I however don’t see the point in advertising my resume as it brings nothing to the debate. However, I have seen plenty myself and where you see the US as being a cause I see them on most occasions as the only ones there, or willing to do anything to ease the suffering you describe. I wonder have you spoken with family members of those murdered under SH? We have quite a sizable population in the States and they hardly share your sentiment.

    “You simply fail to connect on a very basic human level when you dismiss what Iraqi people have had to endure because of the Bush Administrations actions.”

    Hardly John, but what seems callous to you is somebody who is simply able to separate emotion from these topics and break them down into the essentials; a perspective that every discussion should begin from, not end. I find emotion inherent and a necessity but you would be mistaken to trust in it on all levels. Especially when discussing the realities of politics. One of the reasons this operation seems so much more painful to many is the lack of perspective and sense of history. The misery of past generations, especially following WWII is much more profound. We simply suffer from a type of “feminization” of all things these days and why we attempted to fight a PC war initially that ended up costing us more lives, US and Iraqi. For the record, Rummy and GW fXXXXX things up initially!

    “I’ve sat for hours listening to stories of people who have been there and know more than you or I will ever know about suffering. The one thing you don’t take away people’s basic need to feel safe when you invade and try to occupy another’s country – law and order broke down as a direct result of US mistakes and they’ve been paying for it ever since.”

    The law and order you and Adrian refer to was not lawful but perhaps more orderly. It is the worst kind of order there is and responsible for the worse kind of human behavior. You and Adrian advocate such a status quo because you frankly have never been on the receiving end of such order. Besides, we are talking about a totalitarian regime, just how much of it will we ever really know about it or life before other than the bodies that have already been dug up? Do you think life is peachy in Iran? Ask the homosexual hanging from a crane in the town square just for being homosexual.

    “Why have the US continued to use as an excuse for remaining in the country? To help re-build (after it was destroyed by the US) Iraqi security forces. We know that if oil were not such an important reason the US would never bothered to invade in the first place and if they did invaded for the stated reasons they would have bugged out long ago and allowed the Iraqi’s to fend for themselves.”

    Yes, well perhaps when you and Adrian demand we pull our troops from the other 30 plus countries we reside in at the bequest of their governments then perhaps I will begin to buy your theory. Many said countries without the benefit of oil!!!!!You do know that we are leaving right? 3 years now with military operations ending successively up until? Why are we not quick to leave, I don’t know probably something about the 4,000 plus American dead and billions in treasure. Kind of a large investment we would like to see not turn around and bite us in the ass! However, it may do just that and we will have individuals like you and Adrian forever blaming the US for whatever problems that may occur for whatever reason, for the rest of your lives when we do eventually pull out. Hell, maybe we are not willing to take the advice of individuals that advocated the same kind of pull out that ended with 2 million dead in SE Asia? History anybody???? Bugged out, you mean like in Germany, Japan, Italy, South Korea etcetera?????? Again, get some perspective dude. Stop judging the Iraq War in a bubble or under the guise of GW. He is gone in a month! Don’t even get me started on Afghanistan either, another theater that does little to support your theory but baffling, one you supported? Oil played a role for sure but I think many here are simply drowning in it!

    Way to once agian avoid answering the question, very “Rudd” of you.

  89. Sparta: The fact that Bush sought indulgence and participation of other nations in the illegal and morally bankrupt invasion of a sovereign state for spurious reasons maintains doubt in the minds of people worldwide as to the real reason for such a callous invasion, lead by such a callous US administration.

    Seems the only war administrator to escape the ire of the US public is Robert Gates.
    His predecessor, the bumbling inarticulate Rumsfeld has clearly shown his criminal nature on many occasions.
    However, Rumsfeld is merely one of a long line criminals who adorned your last administration.
    Not that I really give a rats arse, but it seems strange that the previous Bush administration is now without the criminal proponents of this illegal invasion. To wit:
    Freith, Perle, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Tenet, Rove, Powell, Bolton.
    All discredited tools of a corrupt administration. Where are they now?

  90. #86. Dave55 | December 17, 2008 at 9:31 am

    As I have been at pains to point out – it is a slippery slope when you start defending acts of violence or retribution because of the scale of the the harm suffered by the victim and/ or the perceived scale of the violence relative to that harm.

    Yet that is one of the excuses the US used to invade Iraq.

  91. My apologies Sparta. In my quest to nominate the criminals responsible for the Iraq stuff-up I omitted the son of satan himself, the despicable Little Dick Cheney, war criminal, commercial opportunist extraodinaire.

  92. Yawn, Sparta

  93. Adrian

    Yet that is one of the excuses the US used to invade Iraq.

    Exactly my point!!! The people who criticise the US use of this as an excuse appear to me only too eager to excuse the Journo using similar arguments. Just because the US did it doesn’t make the journo’s actions any better IMO – if the US was wrong to use this argument, then the Journo is also wrong. The fact thatsome of us (but probably not the journo) find it funny is irrelevant and a little disturbing because it somehow clouds the hypocrisy.

  94. John,

    You have to be kidding given the lengths of your posts? Yes, run John, run away as fast as you can. Always a pleasure but again, stick to the economy. Your Jedi skills are without question in that arena!!!!!

  95. sparta

    I thought I answered your question?

    When the Iraqi’s have authority then we will hold them to account. Pretty simple really.

    By the way, how about the rising crime statistics in your own country.

    And I can assure you the we do not have any sock-puppets here.

  96. Iraqi who threw shoes at Bush admits it in court:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/16/AR2008121601108.html?hpid=moreheadlines

    Muntazer al-Zaidi…
    faced charges of “aggression against a president,”…

    …The court decided to keep Zaidi in custody, and after the judge completes his investigation of the case may send him for trial under a clause in the Iraqi penal code that punishes anyone who attempts to murder Iraqi or foreign presidents
    Such a crime could result in imprisonment of seven to 15 years, Birqadr said…

    Zaidi’s brother said…”All that we know is we were contacted yesterday by a person — we know him — and he told us that Muntazer was taken on Sunday to Ibn-Sina hospital,” Maitham al-Zaidi said. “He was wounded in the head because he was hit by a rifle butt, and one of his arms was broken.”…

    …Zaidi’s family says he harbored deep anger against Bush, blaming him for the tens of thousands of Iraqis who died after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion unleashed a wave of sectarian and insurgent violence that has only now begun to die down…

    Free Bush shoe-thrower, Iraqis urge:
    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2008/12/20081215144834440817.html

    …Demonstrations also took place in the southern city of Basra and Najaf, where some people threw shoes at a US convoy.

    Khalil al-Dulaimi, Saddam Hussein’s former lawyer, said he was forming a team to defend al-Zeidi and that around 200 lawyers, including Americans, had offered their services for free.

    “It was the least thing for an Iraqi to do to Bush, the tyrant criminal who has killed two million people in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said…

  97. I’m with Sparta. I don’t much like Americans, and I don’t much like the effect of American influence on the world in terms of economics, manipulation of thought through advertising etc, McDonalds, and the self indulgent self congratulatory movie industry etc. What I recognise though is that I am free. I am free largely because the leaders of my country decided decades ago that we would be best mates with the Yanks. I recognise that said freedom comes with a fairly hefty price. And I further recognise that the price it comes with is miniscule compared to what it might have been had any of the alternatives (Russia, China, Japan, Germany) achieved the status of lone world superpower. So I thank those boorish loud mouthed clowns from across the Pacific, and politely ask them to take back their fast food and rubbish coffee outlets.

  98. James of North Melbourne,

    Now that is how you stick it to America with respect and still be critical. Those are criticisms I am more than willing to accept and ones I would sure like to see remedied; especially the one where you dislike some 300 million plus people and before Australia’s leaders try to emulate all that is wrong with my country instead of the good qualities we do possess. However, I do understand the annoyance some of my fellow countrymen must cause you, we annoy the hell out of each other!

  99. And again – let’s just make this clear, we do not hate Americans, we just do not agree with some of the policies of the current administration.

  100. It’s the old meme joni. Criticise America’s foreign failures (or just generally) then you hate America and thus Americans.

    Criticise their illegal invasion and occupation of a sovereign country for its oil then you must support the autocratic leader of that country, and it then follows you must love dictators in general and thus condone oppression, which follows that you support terrorists and terrorism.

    After all America has taken it on itself to be the world cop and the (very selective) fighter for democracy and freedom and of course has no self interest in doing so, thus to criticise it must mean you hate it and democratic freedom.

    Never ceases to amaze me how much Americans believe their own propaganda and without reservation what their government tells them.

  101. “When the Iraqi’s have authority then we will hold them to account”

    Here I thought every human being in a free society had the ability to choose whether or not to become a killer or not? Rising crime in America? Good point, but using Johns/Adrians logic it has everything to do with my government not being able to supply enough police to monitor every last 300 million plus didn’t you know? Just as Australia is now responsible for every last human being that has been murdered in East Timor or decides to harm another in the future after you guys leave.

  102. Adrian at 100, when you criticise American foreign policy at length which is comparitively benevolent and skip over, dismiss as irrelevant, forgive, condone, ignore, excuse, justify, or seek to somehow relate back to the aforementioned tyrant that is America, the far worse atrocities committed by other administrations throughout the world, none of which deliver anything close to the vast sums of aid delivered by those evil Yanks, it sort of does lead one to the conclusion that you must just hate the Yanks. Having said that, I think Sparta was having a dig at me regarding not liking 300 million plus people, but I think he understands I was speaking of them as a collective rather than being more personal.

  103. James of Noth Melbourne,

    Dig is right, nothing more. Your veiwpoints are well within reason and ones I can painfully admit too! In regards to Adrian, well I think you pretty much nailed it. Whether he knows or cares, his idea of criticism far exceeds the definition and then some. It sort of ceases to be just “criticism” after the 1000th time especially in light of the point you raised in spades which is his usual pattern. A balanced historical perspective seems to allude him in discussing anything related to America. His affliction is hardly his own however!

  104. James

    I can blame you really, one of the easiest paths to travel is to turn a blind eye when it’s a so-called friend and ally acts disgracefully. Hey, even the Howard Government followed the same blind path and they turned a blind eye to AWB’s corrupt behaviour pre- and post invasion. Sometimes you’ve simply got to take a stance and hold on through thick and thin because of loyalty.

  105. …I recognise that said freedom comes with a fairly hefty price…

    Who pays the price?

    What a good idea, we’ll invade your country, steal your oil supplies, kill and maim tens and thousands of innocents, create a civil war conflict and let’s call it the price of freedom!

    I must be missing something – were the iraqi’s asking the US for freedom?

  106. “one of the easiest paths to travel”

    No, in this day and age that easiest path to follow is one that casts dispersions on America. Talk about a fad that has gotten out of control!

  107. That video clip is hilarious!

  108. It is Sparta, you were probably as outraged as anyone when you learned the Nazi’s when they claimed they were ‘only following orders’ at their Nuremburg trials.

    Take a go look at the state of the US under Bush’s leadership.

  109. By the way Sparta, I’m far from being anti-American but it really saddens me the direction leaders such as Bush and Cheney have taken the US. I’m hoping it’s not too late for the US to turn things around in their economy and international relations.

    I’d always thought of the US as potentially great peace – keepers not the war-mongers Bush has created.

    I should also add that there are probably more people in the US opposed to the action taken in Iraq than those who are for the action.

  110. Still the same twisted logic from both James and Sparta.

    See when you criticise America you also have to, in order of some arbitrarily set malignity, malign all other regimes otherwise you’re just an American hater.

    When there are threads on America or the US administration you cannot comment on America without bringing in other regimes as being worse than America.

    America’s good wipes out all its faults. That’s a given. And because of that you cannot criticise America without saying what a great and wonderful country it is first second and third.

    You must, and this is an absolute, ignore all the despotic regimes the US has supported and the ones it still supports. The ones it has given military aid to, aid that was used against their own people, the ones that America has welcomed to the US and treated as dignitaries. Along with that it is an absolute no no to point out that America has reaped what it has sown. What America did along with who they trained and aided in the past has apparently nothing to do with what’s happening now.

    You must ignore the fact that the CIA database website listed 45 despotic regimes (many fully supported by the US) at the time of the invasion yet it chose to invade just one above all others, and by coincidence it had the second biggest oil supply in the world at a time US energy reserves were depleting.

    You must ignore the fact that though this one terrible despotic regime had nothing to do with terrorist attacks on US soil, the US ignored the dictatorship nearby that did, even running a domestic propaganda campaign hinting the leader of the country the invaded was responsible for the attacks on their soil. You must under no circumstances mention all the lies and deceits used to invade this country and that it used in the past to overthrow regimes, even democratic ones. The US does not lie or deceive it only does what it must.

    You must ignore that the US gave billions in both Iraqi and US taxpayers money in no contest tenders to its own companies, all who had links to the US administration. These US companies rewarded the Iraqis by taking their infrastructure and farming jobs out to cheap overseas labour causing massive Iraqi youth unemployment and hiring armed private security that treated the Iraqis like dirt.

    Just remember when you criticise America you have to follow a set of Sparta given rules for the criticism. Just follow James example, he knows what the unwritten rules and boundaries are.

  111. Symphony of lies Adrian
    http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=x7xyd_IRgGs

  112. And I think, John, that most Americans seem to agree with our opinion of the Bush administration when you look at Bush’s approval rating.

    And also, notice how Sparta criticises us for trotting out the same memes, when it was actually him that introduced the meme that the US had given the Iraqis the freedom.

  113. Joni

    More facts :
    Colin Powell Saying He Was Misled Before UN Speech on WMDs
    http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZTLmOoPzjs&feature=related

  114. Joni@112, if freedom is what they have then it makes no wonder they’re really starting to miss the good old days. How many times did suicide bombers walk into crowded market places when SH was in power?

  115. “And I think, John, that most Americans seem to agree with our opinion of the Bush administration when you look at Bush’s approval rating.”

    Please……and the even lower approval ratings of the Democratic controlled Congress says what? My apologies, I would have thought even the most partisan of those on this sight would have seen how ironic it was that he was only able to throw said shoe due to the same man he was condeming? That was as far as I took it? Yet even more ironic, some here seem to be wishing it was more than a shoe or the act itself was to be honored? Very enlightening indeed gentlemen.

  116. Oh and again poor misunderstood Adrian cries about being judged on one indecent act with a goat.

    Adrian, the point is that you FREQUENTLY are critical of American Foreign Policy to the exclusion of all others save those who have chosen to align with the US. You NEVER acknowledge any of the good done by the US in many parts of the world. When Russia went in and beat the daylights out of Georgia earlier this year, with their excuse AT BEST being one of protection of Russian citizens (who had received their Russian passports only a matter of weeks earlier) you quite specifically refused to condemn their actions. Here’s a tip, Putin is worse than Bush, and Saakashvili is better than Saddam. You ignore the diplomatic roles that France and Russia didn’t play in the lead up to the second Iraq war and their possible motivations for not doing so. You ignore that it was the Democratic Party in the United States that enacted the law clearing the way for US military intervention in Iraq. You ignore (when you speak of false motives in Iraq) that EVERYONE, including our current Prime Minister, believed that Iraq possessed WMDs, probably because their nutcase President wanted everyone to believe that, when you speak of the numbers of dead, injured, and displaced since the US intervention, you ignore the numbers similarly brutalised by their own government prior to 2003, then you drag up the old favourite…..OIL. I have yet to see any evidence that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld or any of their cronies stand to receive any personal profit from oil contracts in Iraq. Adrian, one indecent act on a goat does not a goatflucker make, but repeated acts over a prolonged period without so much as a glance in the direction of those lovely sheep, cattle, and horses, certainly does.

  117. Cheney doesn’t seem to be doing too badly as the result of this war. Giving his proceeds to charity? My arse!

    Cheney’s day is done
    http://business.smh.com.au/business/cheneys-day-is-done-20081104-5hfv.html?page=fullpage
    Michael West
    November 4, 2008

    The most spectacular, and indeed sinister, conflict of interest in the world of politics and business must surely be the relationship between US Vice President Dick Cheney and Halliburton Company.

    Cheney had been chairman and CEO of the oil services and construction giant Halliburton from 1995 to August 2000 when he signed up with George W Bush’s election campaign. Halliburton stands to benefit every time an oil pipeline is blown up in Iraq or a meal is handed out to the troops, and Cheney still has stock options in the company.

    To give the Vice President the benefit of the doubt – an exercise which counters every journalistic instinct apart from the need to report both sides of the story – his supporters say he donates the proceeds to charity.

    Cheney’s official position has always been: “Since I left Halliburton to become George Bush’s vice president, I’ve severed all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interest”.

    Here are the available Halliburton stock option numbers sourced from the Vice President’s Federal Financial Disclosure forms:

    100,000 shares at $US54.5000 (vested), expire December 3, 2007
    33,333 shares at $US28.1250 (vested), expire December 2, 2008
    300,000 shares at $US39.5000 (vested), expire December 2, 2009.

    In 2001, he was paid deferred salary by Halliburton of $US205,298. In 2002, deferred salary was $US162,392, in 2003 $US178,437 and in 2004 $US194,852.

    End is nigh

    Thankfully, tomorrow’s US election will bring this breathtaking conflict of interest to an end – it is a issue which has been chronically under-reported in the US media – and Halliburton’s stock price is faring poorly. It dropped another 7.3% to $US18.36 overnight, well down on this year’s July highs of $US55 a share.

    The stock was trading around $US20 a share before Operation Enduring Freedom was unleashed in March 2003 and it subsequently shot up.

    Halliburton has racked up some $US20 billion in revenue from the war. Meanwhile, 4,190 US troops have been killed, an estimated 100,000 have been injured and the Iraqi body count is documented at 97,000, although the real figure is would likely to be higher as there are no accurate records.

    According to Congressional research data, the cost of the “Liberation of Iraq” to US taxpayers is now over $US596 billion. The cost now runs at $US12 billion a month ($US16 billion if Afghanistan is included) compared with original Pentagon estimates of $US50 billion all up .

    In 2007 alone, the war and its concomitant “nation building” cost US taxpayers $US121,000 per Iraqi citizen.

    Probes

    If Barrack Obama gets up in tomorrow’s presidential election Halliburton is likely to come under pressure. The company and the administration have managed to kill a plethora of Federal probes.

    Some relate to the well-documented success of Halliburton in winning contracts in Iraq which were not even put to public tender.

    Others related to the myriad of corruption allegations. The war in Iraq has largely been outsourced, privatised if you like, and Halliburton and its subsidiary Kellogg Brown Root, have been the greatest beneficiaries in dollar terms.

    Should the Republican candidate John McCain defy the polls and beat Obama to the White House, Halliburton can breathe easy, or more easily, at least.

    Despite his positioning as a “maverick” and some credibility as an independent legislator, McCain would come under all sorts of sway from the Republican Party base and its donors to suppress potential recriminations arising from the conflict.

    Further, Halliburton would presumably continue to rake in billions of dollars from the prosecution of the War as McCain has vowed to “win”, whatever that means and there is no timetable for withdrawal. He was even pilloried by Democrats for suggesting that the US could stay in Iraq for 100 years.

    No surrender

    Given Iraq’s enormous oil reserves and looming energy security issues for the US, this is no laughing matter. Yet oil is another story.

    “It’s a tough war we’re in. It’s not going to be over right away. There’s going to be other wars,” he told supporters in a stump speech recently. “We will never surrender but there will be other wars.”

    Obama is espousing a troop withdrawal as soon as practicably possible, perhaps in 2010 – an outcome which would leave a gaping hole in Halliburton’s revenues.

    The company even picked up reconstruction contracts under the Bush regime from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina – apparently “no-bid” contracts again.

    Cheney’s fortunes – or according to his aides, the fortunes of the charities to which he had pledged the income from his stock options – really ballooned in the heat of the Iraq conflict in 2004 when his 433,333 Halliburton options soared in value from $US241,498 to more than $US8 million in 2005.

    Conservative finances

    What is fascinating, though, in the light of the present market turmoil and the espousing of “ownership” and free market principles by the Bush administration, is just how conservative are the personal investments of Bush and his VP.

    Going back to his 2006 financial disclosures, Bush had between 2% to 4% of his money in stock and balanced funds.

    The rest of was tied up in, as one pundit put it “money-under-the-mattress investments”: bank checking accounts, certificates of deposit, money-market mutual funds and Treasury bills and notes.

    Bush disclosed between $US4.6 million and $US9.7 million in these low-risk investments compared with just $US205,000 in stock and balanced funds.

    Cheney’s investment strategy is more gung-ho. He had 28% in stocks, stock options and stock funds in 2006 with the balance spread among bond funds. Some $US1.6 million to $US6.3 million was locked up in the ultra-safe kind of investments favoured by his Commander-in-Chief.

    While Bush and Cheney appear to have adopted extremely defensive personal finance strategies, their administration’s stewardship of the national wealth, particularly in relation to Halliburton, reek of the sort of crony capitalism which would have embarrassed a South American junta.

  118. Bull crap James, that is utter rubbish.

    That is trotted out every time and the way it works is that I’m supposed to always criticise others more than I criticise the US, even when that means by doing so it is out of context or off topic in the thread. I’ve raised this before at Tim’s place and it apparently works by having a tally in place. I have to make sure that I keep track of all my criticisms and one criticism of the US means I have to make three against someone else.

    Your (mis)remark on oil show just how wrong you are and how disconnected from the reality. So it has to be proven there is a “personal” profit for people in the Bush administration? Bloody hell James. Or are you saying that companies like Haliburton, Bechtel and the others haven’t profited, didn’t do corrupt things which were overlooked and they don’t have ties to the Bush administration?

    Some reality please James. Also please do a little research and ascertain what the US thought would happen after they invaded Iraq and occupied it. Didn’t go to plan which stuffed up all the plans for their profiteering as well.

    If you believe the US would have invaded Iraq if it was the second biggest producer of broccoli in the world instead of oil then you are in a very very very small minority, with even our previous government admitting oil was part of the reason for the invasion.

    Oh and the old Saddam killed nth before the invasion which makes the nth number killed after it perfectly OK. Of course completely overlooking the fact the US was fully supporting Saddam when he was at the height of committing his atrocities, and not only supported him, gave him the military aid he used against his people and actually covered up for his massacre by gassing of the Kurds at Halabja. The rule is we must overlook all these things because America invaded with nothing but good intentions to bring freedom and democracy. Please spare me.

  119. But will anything be learned from the Iraq adventure???

    I doubt it.

  120. No Adrian, not always, not even mostly, just perhaps sometimes. Just perhaps enough to show it’s the actions of the state, not the state itself, that you deplore. I’m not one to use capitals in my posts usually, so my use in the previous posts should have been enough to demonstrate this.

  121. You ignore (when you speak of false motives in Iraq) that EVERYONE, including our current Prime Minister, believed that Iraq possessed WMDs…

    The only ones who believed it were those who wanted to believe. I didn’t, millions of others around the world, and the world’s foremost experts didn’t – Hans Blix, Dr David Kelly, Australia’s own experts Rod Barton and Dr John Gee didn’t.

    Hans Blix
    “…I would like to reflect on the justifications for going to war. Firstly, the Americans, Australians and others went to destroy weapons of mass destruction that simply did not exist. They went in to create democracy, and so far they have come out with anarchy. And they invaded to eliminate Al Qaeda. They were not there, but Al Qaeda certainly came there after the occupation. I cannot see any success in this intervention except in getting rid of Saddam Hussein, who was a terrible dictator and a murderer…

    …We must solve conflicts by non-violent means. There was no excuse for going to war in 2003. Iraq was not threatening anybody and there was no urgency at all. The Coalition governments misled themselves and then they misled the world.

    …Many governments went ahead despite being aware of public opposition.
    In a democracy like the US, UK or Australia, it is entirely legitimate to demand that the government should pay attention to a broad opinion that is opposed to the war…”

  122. Out current PM believed it because he was given the briefing that they definitely existed. A briefing that used known flawed intelligence that Howard and Downer knew was flawed but kept that fact out of the public sphere.

    Other countries around the world believed it because the intelligence came from the US and UK. In the global allied intelligence sharing arrangement America was mostly responsible for looking at Iraq. It is now known America doctored the intelligence, and if you want to believe it was solely the fault of the US intelligence without political interference then you go ahead and do that, the fact remains the intelligence was blatantly wrong and in some cases falsified.

    This was the intelligence Colin Powell used in his infamous briefing to the UN, a briefing he now admits he knew was very shaky.

    So instead of constantly sprouting the line that the “whole world” believed that Saddam had WMD, instead look at why they whole world believed that and where the sources for their belief came from.

  123. Ah yes, Hans Blix who said in January 2003, “my gut feeling was still that Iraq retained weapons of mass destruction. The early opportunity to declare them, regrettably, had been missed in 12,000 pages. Perhaps more military pressure would do the trick…but how far could the game of chicken go?”

    Hans Blix who, while head of the IAEA in the 1980’s, made repeated inspection visits to Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor before its destruction by the Israeli Air Force. Despite the regular inspections of Iraq’s research facilities, Blix and the IAEA never discovered a highly advanced nuclear weapons program in Iraq. In fact Iraq was repeatedly praised by the IAEA for its full cooperation with the IAEA. It was only after the first Gulf War that the full extent of Iraq’s nuclear programs were known.

    Hans Blix who now takes his own sanctimoneous high ground despite his own past failures.

  124. Adrian, the French believed it, the Germans believed it, even Hans Blix, as quoted above, believed it. You can finger point all you like with hindsight, and it’s well acknowledged that the publically presented case for war was designed to be swallowed by the public. The question was whether, in the belief that the Iraqis DID possess such weapons, what was to be done about it. That is the question that was being dealt with at the time.

  125. I have to admit that I believed at the time that Iraq had WMD.

    So who was the guilty party?

    WARNING…this is very graphic.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2269346183614501083

  126. Ah yes James who doesn’t like the facts to get in the way of a good yarn.

    The Israelis destroyed Tammuz-1 (Osirak) in June 1981.

    It was not until 1990 that Iraq launched a program to divert reactor fuel under IAEA safeguards to produce nuclear weapons.

    So James your timeline seems a little out.

    After the 1991 Gulf War the Iraqi nuclear weapons program progressively decayed due to Coalition bombing and UNSCOM disarmament efforts, so there was no advanced nuclear capability from that time on. No evidence was found to prove intent toward reconstituting a nuclear program, the primary intent post 1991 was to end sanctions. In 1991, the removal of highly enriched uranium from Iraq to Russia was conducted by the IAEA.

    What Saddam hid for a short time were documents and a small cadre of a nuclear brains trust.

    To end the timeline without getting bogged down (highlight mine):

    January 2005, Charles Duelfer, chief inspector of the ISG, officially brought the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to a halt. Mr. Duelfer stands by his September 2004 report in which he reported no findings of a nuclear weapons program post-1991.

    So despite many reports stating categorically that Saddam had no nuclear program or capability post 1991, the US and especially the UK were declaring Saddam had the capability to launch a nuclear attack at relatively short notice and both these countries maintained that Saddam had a nuclear capability well after the invasion.

    Just who was being disingenuous James, Hans Blix and the IAEA or the US and UK administrations?

  127. James: ‘the French believed, the Germans believed’

    Perhaps so. However, Santander Bank and PNB Bank also believed Bernard L Madoff, at their financial peril.

  128. So despite many reports stating categorically that Saddam had no nuclear program or capability post 1991, the US and especially the UK were declaring Saddam had the capability to launch a nuclear attack at relatively short notice…

    Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes – wasn’t that the fear campaign?

    Of course all the James’ of the world immediately started wetting their pants in shock and terror and couldn’t calm themselves to think for a moment that it could be a deliberate deception to try and justify the Iraq War to the public.

    Dr David Kelly lost his life over that little lie!

  129. Adrian, you may wish to read some of the work of Khidir Hamza. Kittylitter, nothing you ever write is of a calm or thoughtful nature. You will defend Islamists but decry Christians over their “attempts to restrict women’s rights”. If you calmed your own self for a moment you would see that I acknowledged, and have pretty well always acknowledged, that the publically stated case for going to war and the actual case were not exactly the same.

  130. If you calmed your own self for a moment you would see that I acknowledged, and have pretty well always acknowledged, that the publically stated case for going to war and the actual case were not exactly the same.

    Well, why are you bleating on then? Oh, you supported it just the same eh? Doesn’t matter to you that a nation goes to war and innocent people are slaughtered based upon a lie?

    You will defend Islamists but decry Christians over their “attempts to restrict women’s rights”

    Sorry, I don’t do that, never have actually, (defended Islamists re their oppression of women) do you just make sh*t up? I will own up to decry Christians over their “attempts to restrict women’s rights” though (not only women’s rights I might add, they are happy to restrict men’s rights too).

  131. “You will defend Islamists but decry Christians over their “attempts to restrict women’s rights””

    That is an outright LIE, James. Kittylitter has never defended Islamist sexism against women.

    Isn’t it funny how the faux feminists come out of the woodwork decrying the sexism of Islam yet don’t decry their own personal and very sexist posts that have appeared here on this site.

    James, you will have the right to criticise Islam for being sexist when you you get over your own very sexist attitude towards women that have been amply demonstrated on more than one thread here recently.

    James, is trying here what he tried on the other thread about Iraq – before you criticise christians/American/Add name of group as appropriate you must first name and criticise any person/group throughout all of history who does the same or worse, otherwise you become by default a ‘supporter’. of those you haven’t named.

  132. Well, Kittylitter, any logical extension of the language you use to decry said Christians would surely support regime change of those who would brutalise women on humanitarian grounds, unless of course, that involved supporting the good old USA?

    As to the case for war. The UN have stood by powerless as regime after regime, ethnic group after ethnic group, terrorist group after terrorist group have committed acts of enormous atrocity. Iraq, in the first Gulf War, signed an agreement which held them, not inspectors, not the UN, but them with the responsibility to prove that they did not have WMDs. For 10 years they refused. This presented the UN with an unprecedented opportunity to show some teeth. This opportunity was undermined by the French and Russians for their own cynical purposes. If the French and Russians had stood firm, I remain convinced there would have been no war. However the US and their allies stood firm. Had they not every regime with their own history of atrocity, North Korea, Iran, half of Africa, Pakistan you name it, could comfortably accelerate any program of atrocity in the knowledge that the group of nations committed to preventing such atrocities wouldn’t do a damn thing to prevent it. I don’t regard the US as entirely innocent. On many, though not all, occasions thay have used their position in the UN to save Israel from sanction, which has had a similar undermining effect.

  133. Excuse me, Huh, but if you can show anywhere on any thread that I have displayed the sexism that you describe I would be most surprised. Otherwise you could withdraw your last post.

  134. Huh131 – brilliant assessment. James, you’ve been crunched.

  135. Oh, and Huh, please read my post at 116 which shows your post to be Bullshit. You’ve made no effort to understand my position.

  136. Excuse me if I’m wrong kittylitter but by your writing I get the impression you’re female. That being the case I’m sure James has a similar impression. Tends to influence of responses somewhat.

    I don’t think James intended to take on a tone that sounds a little on the sexist side. It’s hard to put finger on precisely James but there does seem to be a tone coming through. It might just be my imagination. Women are more perceptive of this I’m sure.

  137. John Mc? You support the accusation of sexism? Beyond that, I refer you also to 116. If you repeatedly demonise the US to the exclusion of all others, that just indicates a hatred of the US. If even a quarter of the international criticism went towards other nations Huh may have a case.

  138. “Excuse me, Huh, but if you can show anywhere on any thread that I have displayed the sexism that you describe I would be most surprised. Otherwise you could withdraw your last post.”

    Please learn to read James and tell me where i said “on this thread”? I think if you actually bothered to read it says “on more than one thread here recently”. And just to clarify since you seem to have a comprehension problem ‘here’ in that sentence refers to Blogocrats and ‘more than one thread’ doesn not mean this thread.

    As for overtly sexist posts from you how about this one Mercedes Corby thread “Whilst this sort of thing should NEVER be discouraged for women with the right credentials, and whilst the author of this piece has no qualifications whatsoever to make such a judgement, the answer to the headline question is nevertheless indeed in the affirmative.”

    So, no, James I will not apologise for calling you sexist when that is exactly what you have demonstrated more than once. I can find more examples of your sexism if you insist but you know that isn’t really necessary.

    “any logical extension of the language you use to decry said Christians would surely support regime change of those who would brutalise women on humanitarian grounds”

    Funny James but even John Howard stated there was no justification for deposing Saddam purely for regime change. It is not up to us to impose our ideas onto another country through regime change whether that idea be democracy or feminism.

  139. Gee, I don’t recall a sexist comment from anyone on this blog thus far…the closest would have to be me in my opinion.

    I think it was in relation to the gentler sex using their powers to not put out as a weapon in the gender war commonly known as a relationship.

  140. It’s ok, Scaper, Huh has just shown their standards as regards overt sexism.

    Huh, if you want to debate me, read what I write, or sober up.

  141. “Huh, if you want to debate me, read what I write, or sober up.”

    There he goes again. Can’t argue the facts so he goes the insult. If you can’t win the argument pretend the other person is pissed.

    Real maturity shown there James.

  142. Funny James but even John Howard stated there was no justification for deposing Saddam purely for regime change.

    Yes, it was deliberately avoided because it was considered to be illegal.

    Well, Kittylitter, any logical extension of the language you use to decry said Christians would surely support regime change of those who would brutalise women on humanitarian grounds, unless of course, that involved supporting the good old USA?

    Wot?

    Any logical thinking on your part would surely know that you have deliberately tried to change the subject of the debate, to inflame and derail the thread because you have been totally crunched! Quick, look over there – sexism, feminism, Islamaphobia, religion, women’s rights – phew!!

    136. John McPhilbin

    You are right re female.

    Tends to influence of responses somewhat.
    Why?

    I don’t think James intended to take on a tone that sounds a little on the sexist side.

    He had every intention, he thought he might be on a slam dunk winner by bringing up the wingnut argument of feminists being hypocritically silent on the oppression of women in the Islamic religion – but he lost again. I’m an atheist and against all religions, one of the reasons being that women are not given equal status in any of them. Using James’ logic, I should be arguing for regime change in the US because their dominant judeo-christian religion oppresses women…and of course, I haven’t criticised scientology or the mormons or the jehovah witnesses etc etc :).

  143. 129. James of North Melbourne | December 17, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Adrian, you may wish to read some of the work of Khidir Hamza

    Why should I read up on the discredited ex-Iraqi nuclear scientist. It was in part his false claims that were used as an excuse to invade Iraq, but the thing is that the US intelligence agencies knew his stuff was shaky and flagged it as such.

    Other ex-Iraqis who were in Saddam’s program stated that he had no credible nuclear or WMD program left so why was Khadir given credence over all other sources, including Imad Khadduri, Hussein Kamel (Saddam’s son-in-law), David Albright and Scott Ritter just to name a few who said Khadir was a fraud?

    Now a more credible and well worth a read up on for his bravery and life story is Dr. Hussein Shahristani, an ex-Iraqi Nuclear chemist who was arrested for refusing to build Saddam a nuclear weapon.

  144. 132. James of North Melbourne | December 17, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Shot down again James.

    Problem with that spray is that is during a lot of that time the US fully supported Saddam in his atrocities, not only by giving him military aid which he used against his people, but also by actively covering up for Saddam and blaming some massacres on Iran (like the Kurds gassing in Halabja) knowing full well Saddam was to blame.

    And yes France, Russia and others are just as culpable, but that doesn’t excuse the US and make them the good guys.

    Not only had the US supported Saddam but it has supported many other despots and actively aided in the downfall of democracies to install despots as long as the despot was pro-American.

    So the very things you decry as being the necessary reason for the US invading Iraq are the very things the US has and still does support in other regimes around the world, and did support for decades with Saddam Hussein.

    So out of 45 autocracies in the world, and one right next door to Iraq that had been directly responsible for terrorist attacks on US soil, why did the US choose Iraq to invade over all these others? Not only choosing to invade Iraq over all these other autocracies (some still being supported by the US) but taking away large amounts of resources from fighting terrorism elsewhere, especially from Afghanistan, to invade Iraq, and using lies and deceits to justify that invasion.

    The answer is self evident and mostly related to a black semi-viscous liquid. The other part of the answer lies in another allied country nearby.

  145. 136. John McPhilbin

    You are right re female.

    Tends to influence of responses somewhat.
    Why?”

    Bias’s of any sort to creep in via the tone of opinion no matter how hard we try to disguise them kittylitter, it’s human nature. It bothers me not what sex you are, or religion etc – however, my past experience and training make these types of observations second nature – but not always as accurate as I’d like. Some bias’s are positive and helpful others are not so and can be quite offensive when expressed through tone and/or body language.

    And for the very reason you mentioned ‘discrimination/ inequality’ experienced by many women actually make them very adept at picking up subtle signals (and the obvious not so subtle signals).

    I sensed something that you thought was obvious in James’s communication and obviously think it was intentional whereas I missed that.

  146. 140. James of North Melbourne

    It’s ok, Scaper, Huh has just shown their standards as regards overt sexism.

    Now huh has become a they – whatever standards huh may or may not have (and I believe she has excellent ones) has no bearing upon my own, we are separate people.

    Huh, if you want to debate me, read what I write, or sober up.

    Did huh say that she had been drinking?

    Just because she doesn’t agree with you and cuts through the bulls*it, doesn’t give you the right to make up wild accusations or go for the put down insult to win by default.

  147. You know what I wish? I wish some Iraqi – and there must have been literally millions of Iraqis pissed off with Saddam – I wish one of them had had the courage to snipe the bastard themselves.

    Would’ve only taken a moment and the cost of a single bullet, yet would have saved the Iraqis and the Americans so much bother.

  148. Tragically Caney, he had sons ready to replace him. Nasty bastards as well.

  149. Good point John. I forgot about them. {feeling a bit silly now}.

  150. James,

    You ever get the impression you’re trying to have a discussion on a psyche ward where all the patients are off their meds? I personally like the one where John declares victory in mid debate when he can’t even answer the most basic of questions without the aid of others. Or just refuses to respond. Apparently you can just “yawn” and victory is yours. Or the “mad hatter” that is still under the delusion that he somehow approaches these discussions from a balanced perspective even though neither he nor all the “Queens Cards” can provide one shred of evidence to support such a claim of “innocents” from the countless posts he has put up. Have some more tea there Adrian. Kitty, you are obviously the “Cheshire cat” as I have no other place to put you without being labeled a sexist and you too are all over the place. Yes, we must be off our rockers James and certainly wishing at times we had not crawled down the rabbit hole!

  151. Sparta @ 150,

    Seems a bit arrogant on your part. Why have you assumed that John alone has to answer your questions?

    And reading back over your posts on this thread, your only point seems to be that the journalist was able to throw the shoes because he has freedom – which is ONLY because of the invasion? Nice assumption there.

    And what if a shoe was thrown at Bush in another country (which I am sure it will), will you also lay claim that the only reason he was able to do that is because of the freedom that the US has given them?

    You harp on that us “Queen cards” (is that a bit of homophobia I detect? maybe I am just a little touchy this morning after being abused on the street last night walking with the boyf) continually drag out the same tired arguments time and time again without learning. And I say – yes we do. And you know what, you do to.

    So – my point is – the shoe throwing was not an attempt to kill Bush, it was an attempt to humiliate him, to show him up, and I think that that has worked.

    Funny how those that support torture at Gitmo (which is sanction by the admin), the torture at Abu Grahib (which they say was only a “few” bad eggs, the invasion and war (where the reason for it changes continually) always say that you need to look at the big picture of what is being achieved, and not at the isolated incidents, where individuals made bad decisions that should not be reflected on everyone.

    But when a single journalist throws a shoe and we think it is funny (and that maybe something harder should have been thrown) we are now disrespecting the whole of the US, and that he needs to understand the big picture of the freedom that the US gave to him.

    I think that after the change of administration that some more interesting facts will emerge about the Bush admin that we will be asking you to comment on, and that some of those admission will not be pleasant.

    Finally – let me just say that this is a blog – not a scientific or academic paper. People have assumptions, have opinions, have POV that may be different from each other. And that is why we write here – to try and learn. Simply attacking each other is not going to make this a pleasant place. I (and I know others too) really do appreciate you writing here. And yes – we will keep going over the same ground, but I reckon that we learn a little each time, and that makes it all worthwhile.

    Now for some coffee!

    Smile everyone.

  152. 147. Caney | December 17, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Well Caney nearly a whole Shiite town of Dujail did try to get rid of Saddam and paid dearly for it. And it was his reprisal by executing 148 Shias in 1982 from Dujail that was one of the main charges Saddam was found guilty of and sentenced to death for.

    That was just one of many assassination attempts on Saddam, and Saddam had a look-a-like double that took his place in many public occasions.

    Interesting side note on the Dujail murders conviction of Saddam. The US were very careful about the crimes they chose to convict Saddam on. For instance they didn’t use the gassing of the Kurds at Halabja because the US had fully supported and covered up for Saddam during that time. So any atrocity that Saddam had committed that could be tied to US support or cover up was left out of the trial by using the excuse that if too many killings were raised in court then the process would get bogged down.

    The side note is that George Bush was asked what he would do if a whole small town rose up against him and tried to assassinate him. GWB answered he would have the ring leaders executed, which just happens to be what Saddam did. Also from memory, and I might be a little wrong on the number, 128 148 was the number of prisoners GWB had executed when he was governor of Texas.

    ———————-
    Good old Sparta, never fails and goes the personal. Apparently everyone is from a loony ward just because they don’t bow down and kow tow to the might of the US and Sparta’s warped view of how benevolent and great it is. Sparta methinks you better look outside your very narrow red, white and blue view and see that it’s you living in an alternate clouded reality.

  153. That should be 148 in the second to last paragraph. Oops

    joni: corrected

  154. Adrian, whilst it’s true that the Yanks were quick to point the finger at Iran for Halabja, it’s equally true that it didn’t take long for them to change that position. Do you have any evidence whatsoever that the US “fully supported” Saddam, particularly in relation to the events at Halabja? Do you have any better suggestions as to how the Yanks conduct their foreign affairs? According to you, they have no place to force UN sanctions unless they make an enemy of every rogue state in the world. Don’t you think that that gets unworkable?

    And, by the way, for about the 4th time, it’s the exclusivity and the persistance with which you attack the US that brings the charge of US hater. We don’t need a list, we don’t need a scorecard. Just have a crack at a state equally or more deserving, like perhaps Russia or China?

    As to the charge of sexism? Pffft. Even if the single post that’s been evidenced were to be taken seriously, which ought to be obviously not the case, if taking aesthetic pleasure in a healthy young female gives rise to that charge, then I’ll stand convicted along with most males, oh and females going by the sales of the many fashion and gossip magazines. My sporting hero is Ellen Macarthur. My political hero is Ayan Hirsi Ali. My fiance is at least my intellectual equal, if not superior. I do most of the housework, a lot of the cooking, we share the decisionmaking (except, it seems, when there’s a nice pair of shoes on sale). Maybe it’s because I take the wrong position on abortion? Well the reasons for my position have everything to do with what I consider to be human life and nothing to do with the gender of the person carrying a child. According to Kittylitter, males have no place in the debate at all. Which position is sexist? I won’t bother to respond to further charges of this nature. Kittylitter, you sniped at me three or four times before I got sucked into replying to you, I won’t get sucked in again.

  155. …it’s the exclusivity and the persistance with which you attack the US that brings the charge of US hater. We don’t need a list, we don’t need a scorecard. Just have a crack at a state equally or more deserving, like perhaps Russia or China?

    How often does ANYONE here bring up Russia or China?

    Well, “if the shoe fits”! If it is the US govt. or foreign policy that is the offender and the topic of debate, what would be the point in talking about other countries? The US can’t be a self imposed super power and aggressive in pursuing, dominating, directing and bending other nations to their will and not expect to be challenged or exposed for what it does.

    Kittylitter, you sniped at me three or four times before I got sucked into replying to you, I won’t get sucked in again.

    Not sniping, replying to your expressed opinions. You don’t get to nominate who can and can’t have an opinion on what you say in a public blog.

    BTW, it wasn’t me who got personal and if your not very well disguised, sexist attack on this thread was all about your abortion views – shouldn’t you have at least been honest and up front about it?

  156. “I do most of the housework, a lot of the cooking, we share the decisionmaking (except, it seems, when there’s a nice pair of shoes on sale).”

    Right, doing housework makes you a feminist! Then immediately followed by a sexist stereotype of woman. Bwhahahah.

    “Maybe it’s because I take the wrong position on abortion?”

    There is no ‘right’ position on abortion, James, unless you try to impose your beliefs in regards to same on those who don’t hold the same beliefs. Being pro-choice is not the same as being pro-abortion. It is possible to believe that abortion is wrong while also believing that it is not your business to insert yourself into the personal and private decisions someone else makes about their own body.

    No-one who is pro-choice is going to force a woman to have an abortion against her will. However those who are anti-choice are quite prepared to force a woman to have a child against her will. I can’t comment about the opinions of ‘pro-abortionists’ as I can honestly say I have never met one.

  157. “Well, “if the shoe fits”! If it is the US govt. or foreign policy that is the offender and the topic of debate, what would be the point in talking about other countries? ”

    It is just another example of the ‘debating style’ that James has consistently been applying here. Before you are allowed to criticise the US you must first criticise all those regimes who James deems to be worse, whether they are relevant to the topic or not. Before you criticise christianity you must first condemn all other religions for similar attributes. A mere diversion and distraction because you don’t avtually have any better argument than ‘but they are worse’ moral relativism.

  158. 157.

    That’s it on the noggin Huh, and the counter argument I’ve bought up time and again. Apparently you cannot criticise the US unless you first criticise someone else as much or preferably more. Not to do so means you are a US hater.

    And as you allude Hug apparently James sets the rules for this and is the arbiter.

    As to evidence James all you have to do is go through the newspaper archives of the time and see headlines like “CIA states gassings at Halbja instigated by Iran”, “CIA blame Iran for gassing of Kurds”, and many more. All recorded in prosperity by the leading US newspapers of the time. Intelligence documents released much later were to show that the CIA knew it was Saddam all along.

    As to US support. The very helicopters Saddam used to fire on his people were a gift of the US government. And Donald Rumsfeld has lovely pictures of him and Saddam grinning ear to ear as they shake hands in Baghdad after Donald visited him twice and handed him hundreds of millions in military aid.

    And it was the US who orchestrated and advised on the Iraq attack on Iran, the death toll they now love to blame on Saddam when they list his atrocities.

    And no James they were not quick to retract and blame Saddam, other agencies did that.

  159. Sparta

    FYI – re: the initial sacking of Baathist’s and Iraq Army post invasion, is still causing major problems – in fact, the blunder helped divide the country.

    Iraqi officials arrested for plotting coup: report

    http://news.smh.com.au/world/iraqi-officials-arrested-for-plotting-coup-report-20081218-71fw.html
    Earlier this year Iraq’s presidential council approved a bill allowing former Baath Party members to return to government jobs as part of the current Shiite-led administration.

    The initiative was seen as a way to unite Iraqi factions, and a means to reverse what is widely seen as one of the huge blunders committed by US post-Saddam.

    The initial US decision to disband the Iraqi army and sack all Baathists from government to eradicate Saddam’s influence led to the rise in the anti-American insurgency.

  160. John,
    “FYI – re: the initial sacking of Baathist’s and Iraq Army post invasion, is still causing major problems – in fact, the blunder helped divide the country.”
    You seem to be under the assumption that the country was united under a dictator who belonged to a minority group and maintained his power through force? How united do you think they really were? I it simply pure speculation that such an idea would have worked or that it had anything to do with what followed. Doesn’t make much sense to debate the “what if’s”.
    “The initial US decision to disband the Iraqi army and sack all Baathists from government to eradicate Saddam’s influence led to the rise in the anti-American insurgency.”
    There is no way you or anybody can prove such a sentiment and much like most of the criticism of this conflict, the critics have the convenience of hindsight. We simply have never waged a war like this, ever and in large part we are learning along the way. Certainly GW and company could have made things much less painful early on had they listened to those smarter than (a.k.a anybody!!!!) themselves but ultimately I feel we would still be in a similar situation. From what I can tell, the populous of that country is just as divided on the subject of anti-Americanism as Adrian is. Some blame us for the acts of their countrymen others are grateful for their freedom. Frankly, the only way we will ever really know if it worked or not is when we depart and the Iraqi is left with nobody to blame but himself. However, much like posters here, the US will be blamed for any negative outcome for the rest of time and if things turn around it will be the Iraqi who is praised by these same people. I believe you said as much once it became obvious the “Surge” had worked even though you had been advocating Iraq a complete loss prior and that we should abandon them. I hope the Iraqi’s will surprise us in the long run but they are treading on new ground in the Muslim world. This expiriment with “democracy” simply hasn’t been done before. Although you refused to answer, I feel the Iraqi’s are responsible for a lot of their misery. Things only started to turn around when the individual Iraqi finally started saying enough. I mentioned this to you some time ago; the war has been over for some time. It is as stable as anyone could ever hope for in that region and as long as there is some semblance of “freedom” death will always be a way of life. Not much different from the realities that we must contend with in the West. It is culturally entrenched in the Arab world but some will never understand this. The alternative is a brutal dictator that rules with an iron fist; historically, it seems to be the only way to govern in that region.
    Some believe “people” are responsible for their own actions and others, like the “Shoe-orrist” will always be looking to blame others for situations they cannot control. Frankly, it is the lazy mans way of understanding the world and if there is one thing the world has become it is lazy.

  161. Sparta

    And why did Bush decide to invade again? Do I think ousting the Saddam regime was a bad idea? No. But it all relates to context, timing and method. The human toll taken, far outweighs any benefit.

    Consider the real hotbed for terrorism ‘Afghanistan and Pakistan’. Had vital resources not been diverted to Iraq Afghanistan may have had a fighting chance.

    Now what the US and NATO have is a real ‘life and death’ struggle with the Taliban and AlQeada fighters whilst these groups also move quite freely within Pakistan.

    Was not the whole idea of taking out the Taliban and ending terror training the purpose of the initial ‘declaration of war on terrorism’, a payback for the 9/11 attacks?

    Maybe if you concentrated on the real threats then you’d see why invading Iraq was such a ‘dumbarse idea’:

    Taliban torch NATO supply trucks
    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24766638-2703,00.html
    TALIBAN militants have launched a pre-dawn raid on NATO terminals in Pakistan, torching nearly 200 supply trucks and other vehicles destined for troops in Afghanistan, police said.
    About 250 heavily armed militants attacked two major terminals in the north-western city of Peshawar overnight, disarming security guards before dousing 89 trucks in petrol and setting them alight.

    One guard was killed in the audacious attack, which also destroyed two armoured vehicles, two fire engines, ammunition containers and 89 jeeps meant for international troops in Afghanistan.

    Police described the attack, at three locations in the city, as the biggest of its kind.”

    Al-Qaeda ‘able to reinvent itself’ – ASIO
    http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,24357878-5006003,00.html

    * Al-Qaeda committed to mass terrorist attacks – ASIO
    * Has been able to “reinvent” itself
    * Pakistan is ASIO’s top terror concern

  162. “Maybe if you concentrated on the real threats then you’d see why invading Iraq was such a ‘dumbarse idea’:”

  163. Whoops!!!!!!

    John,

    I have never espoused Iraq was a brilliant idea? In fact, strategically I understand the argument that it might have not been the best move. However, it is hardly the 1st time the US and company has tackled more than one front. It would also be nice if the Europeans were actually living up to their end of the deal in that theater. I am not one to blow off those who argue against the Iraq war on the basis of strategy, far from it. In fact, to your credit, you are one of the few poster I have heard beat the drum on Pakistan. However, now that we are there we must see it through and going over the past does nothing to advance the process. We face much of the same moral dilemmas in Afghanistan as we do in Iraq and I have always seen it as one in the same. However, many like to view Afghanistan in a bubble or refuse to talk about it in general as it is hard to support operations there and not in Iraq. So it simply doesn’t get any play nor does it fit nicely into the many conspiracy theories or one liner’s many like to trot out every time Iraq is discussed. Tim used to go on and on about the moral situation in Iraq, the suffering etcetera but simply refused to acknowledge Afghanistan, a war he supported. Surely you must see the hypocrisy?

  164. I can’t for the life of me see any hypocrisy in my own view. I understand the necessity of using force when absolutely necessary. Take the claims of suspect sites and WMD’s as an example. The sensible thing to do would have been conduct air strikes on these sites and harass the Hussein regime in other ways without opting for a full scale invasion.

    But they couldn’t have done this because that would have meant they’d be faced with the fact that their intelligence was wrong, even fabricated. No, there was a major push to invade and the fact that intelligence was faulty (even fabricated) wasn’t going to stop the push.

    I simply see the Bush Adminstration’s grounds for invading Iraq as morally repulsive and corrupt. On the other hand, I supported the invasion of Afghanistan a morally correct decision to make and you’ll note, so did NATO countries.

    I can’t see the hypocrisy in my own view.

    I should add also, that the death and destruction caused in Afghanistan has resulted from the inadequacies I’ve mention previously. Their was a real opportunity to win the hearts and minds of many in Afghanistan by offering real protection, including employment, so many wouldn’t feel forced into cultivating poppies which are now being used as a lucrative source of funds for the Taliban.

    The US and NATO had a real chance to do what the Russian were unable to do. That chance now is all but gone.

  165. “I simply see the Bush Adminstration’s grounds for invading Iraq as morally repulsive and corrupt. On the other hand, I supported the invasion of Afghanistan a morally correct decision to make and you’ll note, so did NATO countries.”
    Well, I certainly don’t see it quite that way, incompetent yes but let’s face it John, without going over to much old ground, 16 resolutions? I mean, when is force needed then? Yes, airpower certainly would have been effective but what if the intelligence had not been wrong or “fabricated” as you insist and they reacted by gassing their neighbors? Kind of reminds me of the parents that threaten to spank but never do and the kid finally figures out there is no punishment coming. NATO, I think we both know that body has long outlived its purpose. Especially with the actions of some of the members that some seem to give a complete pass to.
    “I should add also, that the death and destruction caused in Afghanistan has resulted from the inadequacies I’ve mention previously.”
    You know that for a fact? Regardless, mighty presumptuous of you don’t you think? I suppose it does give you some kind of justification that so many have died as the result of somebody elese position. Whether we call the bad guy a “Taliban” or an “Insurgent” the only thing that is certain is we are talking about a pissed off tribal-Muslim living much as they did in the 7th century with modern weapons, no job, no prospects and a home that has just been bombed by the Coalition because he decided to host a tea party with old friends that like to plant IED’s in their spare time. With this as our enemy, the idea of victory is symbolism at best. Anyway, there has been destruction, death and suffering John but nobody (on the Left or in the Media) seems much like covering it in any detail in that theater. God forbid the “rest of the Western World” takes the lead there instead of waiting on us (not to discount the contributions of some). Another example of the type of action the US must take that would normally be labeled as imperialism by the likes of some here if it were anywhere else. Maybe if Germany actually was engaged in the fight etcetera. When did Afghanistan become just a US problem again?
    http://www.afghanconflictmonitor.org/civilian_casualties/index.html
    Interestingly enough, it is difficult to find information on total dead for Afghanistan, you almost get the impression it has become another “forgotten war” with the politics surrounding Iraq.
    “Their was a real opportunity to win the hearts and minds of many in Afghanistan by offering real protection, including employment, so many wouldn’t feel forced into cultivating poppies which are now being used as a lucrative source of funds for the Taliban.”
    John, the Afghans have been growing poppies for thousands of years and since our governments are having difficulty creating jobs in our own countries what do you think we can do for the Afghans; with what infrastructure again, maybe tourism?
    “I can’t see the hypocrisy in my own view.”
    Simply, you cannot lambast the morality/motives for the conflict in Iraq when there was even less justification for going into Afghanistan. We could have just as easily used air power on targets in Afghanistan. You cannot refuse to talk about the suffering/plight of the Afghan while highlighting the suffering of the Iraqi and war in general. It is difficult to insist this conflict is simply just about “oil” when we are rebuilding Afghan in a modern for what gain? Are goal in Afghanistan is the same as it is in Iraq but due to there being oil there it must be for dubious reasons only? To this day America has received how much of it again? We don’t know for certain that Bin Laden was the sole mastermind behind 9/11 but even if he was killing him does little to dismantle the ideology we are really at war with. Was he worth invading an entire country for? You are either for the use of force when necessary or you are not. One cannot be both, otherwise, what makes you so different from the hypocrisy you constantly condemn as fact? Your vanity is somehow more justified then the next?

  166. The whole idea of making threats against Iraq in the first place was based on faulty ( ‘fabricated) information. The Bush Adminstration knew Saddam was arrogant and would defy any of their requests, and was thereby used as justification . It was a set-up plain and simple.

    Take Iran as another example, why haven’t the US decided to invade their? Similar circumstances apply, except Iran are clear about their intent to develop nuclear energy, perhaps even weapons?.

    In fact, the US knew Iran posed a bigger threat than Iraq.

  167. John,

    Well again, you change the topic and proceed to another without acknowledging those I raised in response to your original. What is undeniable is there were 16 resolutions he was in violation of, he had used WMD’s and refused to acknowledge the whereabouts of others. He had invaded Kuwait once before and was continuing to make threats. Nobody new for certain what he had left, to include those on the ground in Iraq and all the Western intelligence agencies combined? Fact, he was in continued violation of the accords signed in the aftermath of the Gulf War. He continued to fire on US war planes, acts of war in themselves. We had plenty of justification John, whether the Leftwing hacks want to admit it or not. The charge you posed in more rational times still applies though, was it the best move strategically? In regards to the intelligence presented, I too find it to be a gross embellishment and hardly America’s finest hour but it hardly makes the war immoral or in violation of any standards that cannot be applied to Afghanistan, the “Good War”.

    What was our justification in invading Afghanistan again? Oh yea, the mob in charge refused to give us one individual we decided to label as the “mastermind” of the 9/11 event. Hmm…… I don’t know, you tell me. That seems a bit more of a stretch to me than Iraq yet the world is behind that one.

    Perhaps we haven’t invaded Iran because much to the contrary of what you might believe, those in charge see no justification for its invasion. The threat of attaining and the threat of use are two different things. Plus, clearly it would be the American’s going it alone, as usual and we are stretched much too thin as it is. It may be another story once they do attain the capability but something tells me Israel will make the move. What do they have to lose anyway, being “wiped of the face of the map” a second time?

  168. Iran,

    Me thinks Iraq was the softer option in the war for oil perhaps. Now, if the US had kicked arse and stabilised the country in record time, perhaps Iran would quack in their boots and follow the US’s every directive. And be beautifully positioned to control oil reserves in the region.

  169. Not exactly the response the US were expecting Sparta.

    Why U.S. strategy on Iran is crumbling
    Gulf states no longer want to isolate Iran.
    By Marc Lynch

    from the January 4, 2008 edition
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0104/p09s03-coop.html
    Washington – ‘Everywhere you turn, it is the policy of Iran to foment instability and chaos,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned Gulf dignitaries in Bahrain last month. But in reality, everywhere you turn, from Qatar to Saudi Arabia to Egypt, you now see Iranian leaders shattering longstanding taboos by meeting cordially with their Arab counterparts.

    The Gulf has moved away from American arguments for isolating Iran. American policymakers need to do the same.

    The states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are accommodating themselves to Iran’s growing weight in the region’s politics. They remain key parts of America’s security architecture in the region, hosting massive US military bases and underwriting the American economy in exchange for protection. But as Saudi analyst Khalid al-Dakheel argues, they are no longer content sitting passively beneath the US security umbrella and want to avoid being a pawn in the US-Iranian struggle for power. Flush with cash, they are not interested in a war that would mess up business.

  170. Sparta

    The scare tactics seems to be failing the US.

    ANALYSIS: Iran’s regional influence grows despite U.S., allies
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/sep/12/irans-regional-influence-grows-despite-us-allies/

    ANALYSIS/OPINION:

    Iran seems to be gaining ground and influence in the Levant, much to the detriment of the United States, its European allies and pro-democracy movements in the region.

    Indeed, recent developments in the Middle East have not unfolded entirely in favor of the United States or its other ally in the region, Lebanon.

    At the same time, efforts by the West to break up the Syria-Iran alliance in the hope of weakening the Islamic Republic’s political sway in the region also are showing signs of failure.

    While Damascus may slowly begin to distance itself from Tehran as a result of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s newly found friendship with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the outcome of a new French initiative launched by the Elysee Palace in July has not weakened the Islamic Republic’s influence on Lebanese politics, much as Tehran continues to influence the Palestinian Islamic Movement, Hamas, in the Gaza Strip.

    Running counter to efforts by the administration of President Bush to isolate Syria, which the United States accuses, along with Iran, of supporting terrorism and terrorist groups, the French president invited his Syrian counterpart to attend the Summit for the Mediterranean in France in July and then followed up with an invitation for Mr. Assad to attend the July 14 National Day – or Bastille Day – celebration in Paris.

    The move was intended to bring Syria out of the cold and, in the process, further isolate Iran. And it may very well have initiated a crack in Syria-Iran relations. But that, too, did not entirely produce the desired results. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, Tehran began to take steps to reinforce its position in Lebanon.

    In the deadly chess match that is Middle East politics, a game in which the strategic stakes are immensely high and losing is not an option, the Iranians seem yet again to have taken the upper hand and are moving in to capture the queen – at least momentarily.

    All this is being done, of course, through Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shi’ite political/paramilitary/social organization that is trained and financed by Iran.

    Hezbollah is rapidly positioning itself in all aspects of Lebanese society, turning into a force that no longer can be ignored in the political and military arenas. And that is becoming true not only of Lebanon but also more and more regionally.

  171. 168. John McPhilbin | December 19, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Exactly John, Iraq was a very soft option. It’s army was decimated, troop morale extremely low, it had no air power to speak of and it’s command structure was almost non-existent. The perfect military target for a takeover if you wanted to get their resources, which the US did and had previously written energy documents on just that.

    They just needed a viable excuse that would go down domestically (the US didn’t give a stuff what the rest of the world thinks and rarely does), which the attacks of September 11 2001 and gave them in spades. The neocons must have thought all their Christmases had come at once. An idiot compliant president, a terrorist attack that gave them carte blanche and the perfect propaganda tool to justify an attack on a very oil rich and almost totally defenceless nation.

    As to Sparta’s continuous assertions, there are so many holes in his arguments and statements that don’t gel with the now know history of events it’s just not worth arguing with him over this. He just keeps trotting out the same old brainwashed pap and either can’t see what’s wrong with it or refuses to see.

  172. LIke clock work……….

    “He just keeps trotting out the same old brainwashed pap and either can’t see what’s wrong with it or refuses to see”

    Explain it to me then genius, I await your brillance…….

  173. Come on Sparta, Bush, Cheney and Rice are all war – mongers

    One has to wonder where the hell all this supposed ‘INTELLIGENCE’ comes from?

    BUSH’S WAR AGAINST IRAN

    http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=1Mj9Oap1oVE&feature=related

  174. Come on Sparta, the facts are everywhere.

    Bush’s War – Frontline
    http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=maOZwxVA3X4&NR=1

  175. The Office Of Special Plans.

    Soldier for the Truth
    Exposing Bush’s talking-points war:

    …The last reason is the conversion, the switch Saddam Hussein made in the Food for Oil program, from the dollar to the euro. He did this, by the way, long before 9/11, in November 2000 — selling his oil for euros. The oil sales permitted in that program aren’t very much. But when the sanctions would be lifted, the sales from the country with the second largest oil reserves on the planet would have been moving to the euro.

    The U.S. dollar is in a sensitive period because we are a debtor nation now. Our currency is still popular, but it’s not backed up like it used to be. If oil, a very solid commodity, is traded on the euro, that could cause massive, almost glacial, shifts in confidence in trading on the dollar. So one of the first executive orders that Bush signed in May [2003] switched trading on Iraq’s oil back to the dollar.(KAREN KWIATKOWSKI)

  176. I love how all the expert military strategists come out years after the event. Except of course Kittylitter who knew all along there were no WMDs. Ok, we’re here now. What should we, the Coalition, and more broadly, Western states do? Should we adopt an isolationist stance? Stuff the rest of the world they can solve their own problems? Arabs/Jews/Muslims/Christians, let ’em slaughter each other at will? Hutus/Tutsis likewise? Serbs/Croats/Albanians? Dismantle Israel? Relocate the Jews to Australia or the US or better still, strip them of their weapons and leave them to the will of their benevolent neighbours? Ignore Africa? What’s a few million dead blacks anyway, as long as it’s blacks doing the killing? We can watch and cry “Never Again” again. While we’re at it, what will we do with Australia? I know, let’s isolate any non-Aboriginals in the dirty cities they have built. Shut down the farms or even better, give them to the Aboriginals to run. That worked well elsewhere somewhere. That will work in nicely with getting rid of all the cars, especially those huge 4WDs. We won’t need them in the city. We can all ride bikes and that’s ok, because we won’t get rained on due to Climate Change, but hang about, all the major cities are on the coast so we’ll all drown if we can’t reach higher ground. Oh well, we’re cutting out childbirth because we overpopulated the world so if the floods can just hang off until we all die, we should be ok. It may sound harsh but we deserve if because of the despicable acts of our great great grandparents. I’m going to rejoin the Catholic Church, I reckon, some of them have these great ideas for mortification that should suit just fine, or would that be robbing someone more deserving of the right to punish?

    Or maybe we can continue to work at trying to make things better for people and hoping they want things better for themselves.

  177. Or maybe we can continue to work at trying to make things better for people and hoping they want things better for themselves.

    If what America did to Iraq was working to make things better then I would hate to see how they work to make things worse.

    Plus just how many diversions can one get into a post?

  178. Talk about a drunken rant.

    James must have just got back from his work christmas party.

  179. 176. James of North Melbourne

    Jeebus H Crucifix. Best get that lot off your chest, shame the rest of us have to bear witness.

    178. Huh
    James must have just got back from his work christmas party.

    hilarious huh, must have been a beauty. Steer clear, certainly not a happy drunk.

  180. “hilarious huh, must have been a beauty”

    Well, something definitely got him pissed and it is that time of year…

  181. No, not drunk, but definitely a rant. Got any positive ideas, anyone?

  182. James, I kind of understand where you are coming from…the US sees itself as the protector of humanity because the world put them in that position.

    I wonder how the world would be today if the US did not intervene in WWI as there was no aggression against them by the Kaiser.

    WWII was a slightly different story because of Pearl Harbour that Churchill knew about before hand but made the conscientious decision not to inform them due to the fact that the US was needed or the Germans would have conquered all of Europe.

    After the end of the war the US funded the UN and what have they achieved…nothing!

    Then there was the Korean conflict…where would South Korea be now if not for the support needed???

    Vietnam was a mess, an abject failure but it is united now.

    If it was not for the pressures applied people would most probably be able to graffiti the Berlin Wall to this day.

    I wonder how much genocide would have occurred in Serbia or what the hell it was/is called if the US did not intervene?

    I wonder how many more men and women would have been slaughtered in Afghanistan if the US led coalition did not invade and drive the Taliban from ultimate power?

    I wonder how the situation would be in the ME if the US did not intervene in the first Gulf War?

    I wonder how Iraq would be today if the tyrant was not deposed?

    I would most of all wonder if the US pulled out of the position of being the world policeman which was cast upon itself due to previous events?

    Actually I wish they did…too many people on this planet and after five years of US isolationism my money would be on a quarter of the world population being slaughtered!!!

    There has always been war and always will be.

  183. “If what America did to Iraq was working to make things better then I would hate to see how they work to make things worse.”
    Good old Adrian stuck in his “history vacuum”. Kind of avoids the success we know as Germany or Japan doesn’t it Adrian? You are so enlightened at times.

  184. Scaper,

    Be careful now, you don’t want to mention to much of the whole story, Adrian may have a go.

  185. Good old Sparta stuck in his “history vacuum” that the US could never stuff anything up.

    Vietnam was a resounding success eh Sparta?

  186. Sparta

    My concerns are similar to those of Gen. Jim Molan and my disappointment with the Iraq invasion/occupation it that it has compromised our (and yours -the US) position in dealing the threats in Afghanistan and Pakistan

    Afghanistan on track to be lost cause: general
    http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/afghanistan-on-track-to-be-lost-cause/2008/12/19/1229189885837.html
    Jonathan Pearlman and Phillip Coorey
    December 20, 2008

    AUSTRALIA should prepare to deploy up to 6000 troops to Afghanistan and lobby for greater commitment to a war that the US-led forces are on track to lose, says a retired Australian general, Jim Molan.

    The call comes as Kevin Rudd, returning from the Middle East, told the Herald he had no plans to increase troop numbers in Afghanistan but was committed to the war and believed the Australians were making progress.

    In an interview aboard his aircraft on the way back from Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates, he warned Australians should prepare for a long and protracted mission.

    “I’ve always said we’re in Afghanistan for the long haul, for a long time,” he said. “We’ve got to be serious. It’s tough, protracted work. We’re of a mind to see it through in partnership with our friends and allies.”

    Molan, who spent 40 years in the military and is an expert on counter-insurgency, said the Federal Government had played down the need for a greater commitment and warned that the international forces were heading towards failure. In a paper that lays out a long-term blueprint for success in the seven-year-old war, he said the US-led forces needed to engage with the Taliban, work with Afghanistan’s neighbours towards a Bosnia-style diplomatic agreement and further strengthen the Afghan police and army.

    “Recent Australian deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan are almost entirely political because they lack military logic,” he said. “Australian troops are fighting well at the tactical level. If nothing changes, they will continue to perform brilliantly until we lose the war – like Vietnam.”

    Australia has about 1080 troops in Afghanistan.

    Molan, a retired major general who served in Iraq as a commander of coalition forces, said Western governments had shown strong support for their troops but “seem ashamed of their commitment”.

    He said the Defence Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon, should pressure the military to prepare a force of 6000 troops by 2011, which would enhance its position to urge its coalition partners to bolster their commitments”

  187. Vietnam was hardly a victory, but unlike you or Adrian, I am able to acknowledge our failings as well. Too bad you are incapable of doing the same. Truly enlightening their Reb.

  188. 185Reb, I agree and the great threat now is that both Iraq and Afghanistan will both play out like the Vietnam war.

    It should also be noted that prior major military successes were heavily reliant on conscription – i.e WWII – and Vietnam was lost in spite of the same heavy reliance on ground troops.

  189. John,

    Agian, Irag is as close to a victory as we ever could have hoped for. It is now in the hands of the Iraqi’s.

  190. Sparta

    Watch what happens when troops leave. The M/E have been done no favours, nor the Iraqi’s from this major blunder.

  191. “I am able to acknowledge our failings as well.”

    Maybe on some other blog perhaps? I’ve never read anything you’ve said that admits failure on behalf of your unwavering support for the USA.

    As you say, truly enlightening.

  192. John McP:

    “It should also be noted that prior major military successes were heavily reliant on conscription”

    Or just nuking them, like Japan.

    I guess that what Sparta would call “collateral damage”

    The rest of us (like the rest of the world for example), call it murdering innocent men, women, and children en masse.

    But I guess for Sparta, the ends justify the means.

    Oh to live with such a simplistic view of the world.

  193. 192reb once again I agree. And getting back to the Vietnam example, the US tried to prop the Sth Vietnamese Government up and take on the communist Nth. The sad reality was they were never able to built a sound government in the Sth capable of defending against the Nth.

    Now to Iraq, the territorial integrity of Iraq has been significantly compromised and the Iraqi government will still have to contend with disputing neighbors such as Iran, Syria, Turkey who will all want to claim pieces of Iraq when US troops leave.

  194. Reb,
    Please…..
    You actually believe your stances on most of these posts reflect great thought? So your logic in the case of Japan was it would have been nobler to have lost more “innocent” civilians and hundreds of thousands of more troops to end the war? Very ingenious there mastermind; again thank god your not in charge of anything of consequence!
    John,
    Of course you agree, it fits nicely into your own contradicted view of war in general. Still supporting the death of civilians in Afghanistan there John while condemning it Iraq, must be nice living with such double standards.

  195. John, I did not know that the US was going to pull out without the emplacement of an Iraqi armed forces to protect their sovereignty.

    I’m not sure about Syria but have not the Turks and Iraqis being disputing the Northern Iraq lands for a very long time?

    I really do not think Iran will invade though…they are too busy preparing to lob nukes at Israel and I predict the first nuclear war in three to five years.

  196. “thank god your not in charge of anything of consequence!”

    Similarly I return the sentiment.

    Let me guess, you’ve already got a bunker in the backyard stocked up ammo, grits and baked beans?

  197. Vietnam was a mess from the start which was the Bay of Tonkin incident…for the people who might be unfamiliar with this…there was an alleged incident of three North Vietnamese torpedo boats that fired upon the US Maddox which set off a string of events that led to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that gave the president the legal justification to escalate aggression in the Republic of Vietnam.

    Now here is the truth of the matter…there was no torpedo boats in that part of the gulf at that time and the whole thing was fabricated by the skipper of the vessel in question.

    By the time the Secretary of State was informed of such the resolution had been passed and the rest is history.

    I know this because I saw the doco and heard it from Robert McNamara himself and it floored me that so much suffering and death was perpetuated by a lie!!!

  198. Scaper,

    Interesting reading.

    And what sort of country uses such a hideous, torturous and excruciatingly painful weapon of death such as napalm on innocent people?

    Oh, the good ol’ US of A, of which Sparta is a staunch defender.

    The lengths these people go to, in order to believe their own BS is beyond me.

    🙄

  199. Reb, unfortunately Australia is also guilty of the killing of innocents by calling in air strikes and wiping out a village or two…I remember my first boss who was a casualty relating a few stories that would make you physically ill.

    My boss was a pretty plucked up person from that experience…I’ve got in my possession some pretty shocking photos of the destruction in Iraq and also the writings and communications of a person of high rank that has done three tours and it tells a different story compared to the media tripe that we get.

    I have also a mate in the SAS who I suspect is either in a mental ward or has necked himself due to his experiences…war is hell and due to mans nature there will always be wars unfortunately.

    I read somewhere long ago that in recorded history there has only been four days that there was no conflict in the world.

  200. Scaper,

    I think the French have the right idea.

    They’re too busy either shagging, eating croissants with brie with a nice latte, or glass of burgundy (or all of the above at the same time) to be bothered going to war.

    Mind you I guess that’s why the Nazi’s just waltzed through…

  201. Except reb, for their forays into Nth Africa which were so peaceful.

  202. Which reminds me of the great joke:

    How many Frenchmen does it take to defend Paris?

    We don’t know because they have never tried.

  203. joni, they have nice uniforms though – especially those nice peak caps.

    Almost as nice as the uniforms those HK policemen wear….

    Hmmmm…HK policemen….

    🙂

  204. both reb and joni now drift off into pleasant thoughts….

  205. Is this the first thread that has broken the 200 mark of posts???

  206. joni…

    🙂

  207. Not sure scaper, but it could well be….

  208. scaper,

    Yes it is the first to go over 200. A couple of the frolyks and economy threads have come close, but they all missed by that much.

  209. Scaper,

    Stop with the balanced approach already. Reb is lost in his own version of history and I would hate to have him crack up on this blog.

    Reb,
    I realize it is a favorite tactic but try responding to a counter I raise to your rants for a change. Picking just one, what would have been your solution in 45 then Gandhi? Try to answer for a change instead of the usual snipe; you sure you’re not my wife? It must pain you to know it was the US that came to Australia’s aid? So are you a “complete” anti-war type or just “fair weather” anti-war type like John? Support the Afghan conflict and not the Iraq or what? In many ways, fighting a PC war like we have in Iraq is why it has dragged out as long.

  210. It must pain you to know it was the US that came to Australia’s aid?209. Sparta Phoenix

    Research Milne Bay PNG (first time anyone stopped the Japanese)

    I think when it came to fighting, Aussies saved themselves, however thanks for the resources (other than human) – also research The Battle of Brisbane!

    When I have time I’ll pop in a couple of text refermences re Kokoda

  211. TB,
    Hey now, I wasn’t trying to take anything away from the Aussie fighting man, far from it. Much like we owe the French a debt of gratitude in our creation is all I was alluding to. Wow, sounds strange to say that about the French nowdays.

  212. Sparta,

    I always find it amusing that anyone who disagrees with your unwavering pro-American stance is simply labelled as “ranting” or lacking in “clear thought” in comparison to you superior self-professed “genius”.

    There’s something to be said for your blind unfaltering support of the USA. I haven’t quite figured out what it is yet. But I doubt it will be flattering.

    Anyway, enjoy relishing in your own fabricated role of America’s global reputation.

    When you do eventually wake up and find that a few other people (mostly “the rest of the world”) recognises that the USA is pretty much fu*ked, all you need do is click your heels and you’ll be back in Kanzas.

    As for your remark “I would hate to have him crack up on this blog,” please, don’t flatter yourself. That would only happen if I actually took your comments seriously. And as things stands, you’re a very long way off from that point.

    LOL..!!

  213. Actually Sparta, all I really have left to say, in response to your accusations that I’m anti-war or just the “fair weather” war type, is to simply quote your own revered president George Bush – “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED”.

    I think that just about says it all.

  214. It will interesting to see what direction that Obama steers the US in, say in two years time…I don’t think that cut and run is an option at all.

    There are lessons to be learnt from the last president’s tenure but putting these into practise will take a lot of will and time in my opinion.

  215. “There’s something to be said for your blind unfaltering support of the USA”

    Well if that were true you might have a point but as usual you don’t. Other than making the occasional nonsensical comment it appears we have reached the limit of your abilities. No problem.

    “in response to your accusations that I’m anti-war or just the “fair weather” war type”
    Yea, pretty much says it all that you’re unable to differentiate between a question and an accusation. Try reading what I actually post next time ok big guy; especially if you feel the need to make a comment. Anyhow, every forum needs a court Jester so don’t stray too far…..

  216. Scaper195@ The M/E is already on a knife edge and given the majority of Iraqi’s and Iranian’s are Shiite’s and the rest of the M/E Sunni’s the slightest provocation could trigger a sectarian war.

    In fact, Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr was largely responsible for the drastic reduction in violence because of his commitment to a cease – fire and not the the surge in troops. In fact, Sadr had his militias bug out before the surge began.

    Yes, the same Iraqi cleric that has vowed to defend Iran against any US attacks.

    Iraqi Shiite Cleric Pledges to Defend Iran
    Sadr, With Powerful Militia, Vows to Respond to Attack by West on Neighbor Tuesday, January 24
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/23/AR2006012301701.html

    BAGHDAD, Jan. 23 — An Iraqi Muslim cleric who leads a major Shiite militia pledged to come to the defense of neighboring Iran if it were attacked, aides to the cleric, Moqtada Sadr, said Monday.

    The commitment, made Sunday in Tehran during a visit by Sadr, came in response to a senior Iranian official’s query about what the cleric would do in the event of an attack on Iran. It marked the first open indication that Iraq’s Shiite neighbor is preparing for a military response if attacked in a showdown with the West over its nuclear program.

    The pledge was also one of the strongest signs yet that Iraq could become a battleground in any Western conflict with Iran, raising the specter of Iraqi Shiite militias — or perhaps even the U.S.-trained Shiite-dominated military — taking on American troops here in sympathy with Iran.

    Sadr is a top leader of the Shiite coalition that leads Iraq and dominates its security forces. His pledge might be seen as an indicator of how the Iraqi government may respond to a potential attack on its neighbor.

    “If there was an attack on Iran, even a limited military strike, this would provoke anger through the entire Muslim world. It would certainly jeopardize the already fragile position of the United States in Iraq,” said Joseph Cirincione, an Iraq and nuclear weapons expert with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

    “Whether that would mean an uprising, direct military clashes or simply demands that the United States would leave Iraq, we don’t know,” Cirincione said in a telephone interview. “But it won’t be good.”

    Iraq is led by a coalition of Shiite religious parties. They include Sadr’s bloc, which won 29 parliament seats in Dec. 15 elections. Sadr and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which is allied with Iran, each maintain militias of thousands of men.

    Fighters in Sadr’s Mahdi Army appear to be highly disciplined and loyal. They often march in step through Baghdad in parades that are a mix of martial pride and religious mourning. At times they have mounted rapid, lethal strikes on rivals and enemies. Together, the two militias control much of Iraq’s Shiite-dominated south, which borders Iran.

  217. Sparta

    Cast your mind back to the initial invasion of Afghanistan and you’ll see that civilian deaths were negligible. The Taliban and Al Qeada headed for cover in the mountainous regions as they sought to escape into Pakistan. Bombing raids with bunker busters seemed to be never ending and the enemy seemed all but defeated.

    Then Bush turned his attention to Iraq and diverted significant resources in that direction. NATO forces took over and it was thought the war was won.

    Slowly but surely the Taliban and Al Qeada regrouped and started moving back in.

    You see, re;186 and you’ll note that the standard counter-insurgency tactics were ignored to the point where we are now. The Taliban now have a heavy presence among a very scared civilian population.

    The US and NATO forces failed to secure the country and now everything a raid is conducted on suspected Taliban hideouts, civilian end up being killed.

    In October this year it was reported”

    The United States is determined to stop the downward spiral. Washington plans to send another 20,000 troops to the country by 2011, hoping to repeat the surge strategy that has seen some success in Iraq, where the addition of 30,000 troops has helped bring relative stability to the situation.

    The British, on the other hand, fear that additional US soldiers could be more likely to heat up the conflict. “We don’t need more GIs, but more reconciliation, more reconstruction and more offers for those who want to get out of the conflict,” says an English advisor who has been working in Afghanistan for almost two decades. The West, he says, seems to be repeating the same mistakes the Soviets made. Despite an Afghan army of 100,000 men and 120,000 of their own soldiers, Moscow’s military campaign in Afghanistan was ultimately a failure — not least because support for the war back home dried up.

    Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Armed Forces, spoke of a poor outlook when he predicted that the situation would become even worse next year.

  218. Talk about timing Sparta, no serious divisions here.

    Iraqi interior minister laments recent officer arrests
    http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/12/20/iraq.arrests/
    BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — Iraqi Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani said the recent arrests of military and security officers linked to Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party were based on fabricated charges and rebutted implications that those seized were plotting to overthrow the government.

    Iraqi Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani says the recent arrests of dozens of officers were politically motivated.

    In an interview, al-Bolani told CNN’s Jill Dougherty on Friday the detentions were politically motivated ahead of the January 31 provincial elections and possibly by foreign interests that want to upset Iraq’s growing stability.

    Al-Bolani had received information in recent weeks from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s office about a terror plot within the ministry. Officials were investigating the alleged plot when government officials seized two dozen officers from the Interior and Defense ministries.

    This week, Iraqi security forces seized what officials said were suspected members of the al-Awda party, an underground successor to Saddam Hussein’s Baath party. The Baathist movement ruled Iraq for 35 years but was banned after Hussein was overthrown in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

    The prime minister’s media spokesman said Thursday that the officers are accused of facilitating the activities of former Baathist regime members, outlaws and terrorists.

    “I think there is a political attack on a ministry that has made great achievements — and I believe that whenever elections are approaching and there is a competition over provincial councils, we would witness such things and we expect possibly more of this,” said al-Bolani, a secular Shiite who is forming his own secularist political party.

    Calling claims of a coup “science fiction,” Al-Bolani said most of the Interior officers who were seized have low ranks, such as traffic police, and noted that they have no influence over security operations. In fact, he said, one of the officers named had been disabled a few months ago by a roadside bombing.

    “Most of the information is inaccurate, and unfortunately this kind of information always confuses the decision-makers and this is what disturbs us and we are extremely upset over this issue,” he said, referring to the charges.

    A senior U.S. military official told CNN that al-Maliki was behind the arrests, but al-Bolani stopped short of accusing the prime minister of generating the arrests.

    When asked who would want to hurt him and the ministry and whether Iranian influence played a role in the arrests, al-Bolani couldn’t pinpoint those who advocated the detentions, even though he believes a government institution or foreign country could have been behind the arrests.

    “I think there are certain parties and they will soon be revealed to the public,” he said, referring to certain people and not political entities.

    Al-Bolani presides over a ministry with a reputation for being dominated by Shiite militias and rife with corruption, but he said he and his ministry have played an important role in stabilizing Iraq since he took over the job in June 2006. Al-Bolani said he has helped promote national reconciliation and has backed the pro-government awakening movement compromising mostly Sunnis.

    “There are parties disturbed by this security stability and security and democratic transformation in the country,” he said, challenging those who would have made the arrests a personal vendetta.

    “If the attack is on the minister of Interior as a person, then they should face me directly and I am ready to talk,” he said. “Whoever wants to harm the government, the state or the ministry let them face me, I am ready for this confrontation.”

    It is unclear how many Sunnis and Shiites were arrested in the case, but Saddamists tend to be Sunnis. Al-Maliki is a Shiite, and the government is dominated by a Shiite bloc, called the United Iraqi Alliance, and a Kurdish bloc.

    Sunnis, who had more power under Saddam Hussein than they do now, feel they have been marginalized in Iraq’s new political system

  219. You can almost guarantee that this war is going to get much nastier. These people are committed to fighting until death.

    Taliban dismiss US troop increase
    http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,24830885-5001028,00.html
    THE Taliban has dismissed US plans to send as many as 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, warning the US-led coalition will be defeated as the Russians were in the 1980s.
    The defiant statement from the hardline militia, who were ousted from power in late 2001 in a US-led invasion but have since regrouped to wage a bloody insurgency, came after the top US military officer vowed to send more soldiers.

    Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Washington could send up to 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan by next summer – which would nearly double the number of US troops on the ground.

    “Every day they (the Americans) change their speech to hide their defeat,” Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi said.

    “They now want to send more troops to Afghanistan … The Russians also sent that many troops but were badly defeated,” he said, referring to the doomed decade-long war waged by the Soviets in Afghanistan.

    “When the US increases its troop levels to that of the Russians, they will also be cruelly defeated.

    “More troops – that means there will be more targets for the Taliban.”

    General David McKiernan, the US commander in Afghanistan, had asked for more than 20,000 extra US soldiers to counter a rise in insurgent violence, seven years after US forces first invaded the country to force the Taliban from power.

    Since being ousted from the government, the Taliban – who are said to work with foreign al-Qaeda fighters – have stepped up the number of attacks here against Afghan and foreign soldiers with each passing year.

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