Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Tide turning

Footage I would kill to see. Can anyone help?: If the White House is still furious with the BBC for showing 90 seconds of President Bush’s preparations for last Wednesday’s address, then let’s hope they don’t find out what Portuguese TV did. It showed a full 15 minutes of the President’s rehearsal. A presenter gave a sniggering commentary as Bush repeated the same lines of his speech over and over again.

The British Press Association has a story that “Tide May Be Turning Against Saddam.” Too bad he’s in a desert, then.

It’s bad enough when the Americans can’t tell the difference between a British Tornado and a missile (especially when Iraq’s air force isn’t flying), but the crew of one British Challenger II tank fire a shell at another Challenger II tank. Even my cat knows better than to attack a mirror.

America’s best and brightest.

Bush’s new executive order delaying the declassification of old materials was, the NY Times points out, announced in a way intended to sneak under the war radar. What else is? Dunno, except for the release of some of the Guantanamo prisoners, including a teenager whose arrest they’ve known was a mistake for a year. One of the others say he was only interrogated twice in 14 months. All 18 were dumped in Kabul, most hundreds of miles from home, without any money. Still, they’re lucky they weren’t locked up the rest of their lives: precisely because there is no impartial system of fact-finding associated with these detentions, they depend for what little legitimacy they have on a belief that the government never makes mistakes. Consequently, it’s not in the government’s interests to admit its mistakes, and the Bushies are more disinclined than most to accede even to the possibility that they’re capable of screwing up. Can’t wait to see how they handle Iraqi generals, if they ever succeed in capturing one.

The US finally bombed Iraqi tv, as so many have demanded. I know that the Pentagon has gotten used to thinking of the media as a sub-branch of the military, but under the Geneva Conventions, it is illegal to attack civilian targets. The British defense minister claims that Iraqi tv stations are part of the command and control structure. Nonsense. Amnesty International has correctly identified this as a war crime.

Sy Hersh on just how bad that forgery about Iraq trying to buy uranium from Niger.
He thinks the forger was MI6. Given that it was truly an egregiously bad forgery (one signature was of someone who hadn’t been in the office attributed to him for 11 years), and that it was mentioned in the State of the Union Address and many other places, while the retraction has been a blip, this constitutes either a lie or deep incompetence on the part of the CIA. It requires investigation. Oh, and how’s that committee investigating the 9/11 intelligence failure going? Picked out all the furniture yet?

Halliburton gets a billion-dollar no-bid contract in Iraq. Don’t they even care how this looks? Cheney still gets a pay check from Halliburton.

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