Tuesday, September 28, 2004

No concern for the Iraqi people

The Department of Homeland Security is buying a town, Playas, New Mexico, a former mining town with only 50 residents remaining, from its owner, Phelps Dodge, to use for practicing responses to suicide bombings, anthrax attacks, poisonings of water supplies, etc. Try not to think of this as a metaphor.

Life should be interesting for the 50 residents.

When the US government, after first trying to pretend that Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam was some sort of terrorist-symp, changed excuses to claim that the problem was a misspelling, I was going to make a joke about the government not being able to handle C-A-T, but decided it was too obvious. But there’s a real issue here.

It was the Yusuf bit they had problems with, of course. Three years after 9/11, when several men who weren’t supposed to have been allowed into the country got onto planes they also shouldn’t have been allowed on because the gov didn’t have a standard for transliterating from Arabic, they still haven’t fixed the problem. Now we hear that there’s a huge and growing backlog of tapes not being translated from what the NYT calls “languages commonly associated with terrorism” by the FBI (motto: Terrorist Not Spoken Here). The reason they don’t learn from their hideous mistakes is that there are no consequences for their major intelligence failures (other than 2,900 dead on 9/11/01, I mean). Also: stop recording every conversation spoken in Arabic anywhere in the world. They’re not all terrorists. Really.

Colin Powell says the “major thrust” of US military efforts in Iraq in the near future (i.e., after the US election) will be to go into “no go” areas. You know who might have an opinion on this? A guy whose entire mission in another war was to take a boat up a river for no other reason than to show that there were no areas the US military couldn’t go?

Uh, Kerry. We were all clear on that, right?

The LA Times article that provided the Powell quote contains several instances of US military assholery related to aerial bombardment of Sadr City. The US talks about a “precision strike”...that lasted for hours. Army spokesmodel Lt. Col. Jim Hutton blamed casualties on insurgent mortars, saying “The enemy shows no concern for the Iraqi people.” Did I mention we just bombed a crowded suburb of Baghdad for several hours? Another spokesmodel called reports of civilians killed by bombing in Fallujah “propaganda,” and “suggested that local hospitals had been infiltrated by insurgent forces.” Please, just fucking spare me.

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