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Friday, November 26, 2004

Bush doesn't want to end life in jail as a war criminal... 

Obviously, the face value of this is to "protect" US servicemen from foreign prisons when they go Pulp Fiction on some poor "liberated" folk outside the US...but as I've said before, methinks Bush doth protest too much.

The Republican-controlled Congress has stepped up its campaign to curtail the power of the International Criminal Court, threatening to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in economic aid to governments that refuse to sign immunity accords shielding U.S. personnel from being surrendered to the tribunal.

The move marks an escalation in U.S. efforts to ensure that the first world criminal court can never judge American citizens for crimes committed overseas. More than two years ago, Congress passed the American Servicemembers' Protection Act, which cut millions of dollars in military assistance to many countries that would not sign the Article 98 agreements, as they are known, that vow not to transfer to the court U.S. nationals accused of committing war crimes abroad.

Extortion and blackmail? If you want the US military to be your friend, and not your enemy, let us skip this international tribunal.

The real issue comes clear further on in the article:

[T]he Bush administration renounced it in May 2001, citing concern that an international prosecutor might conduct frivolous investigations and trials against American officials, troops and foreign nationals deployed overseas on behalf of the United States.

Do the words Abu Ghraib not chill your soul? If this were done to Americans (and indeed the beheadings and other atrocities in Iraq imply that is has), the US expects to prosecute the perpetrators, doesn't it? Hypocritical, certainly. Other nations extradite their felons to us, but we can't be subject to this "bias".

Deeper still, when the War in Iraq has dragged on for nearly 6 years, and Bush is (theoretically, anyway) finally yanked out of office, I'm willing to bet a few war criminal charges are going to be advanced against him. Hedging his bet, no?

-Vulf

Thursday, November 25, 2004

New Meaning in Thanksgiving... 

Karl Gelles of USA Today posted the following casualty rates for the US wars of the past century:

World War I: 4.31% (of military personnel wounded)
World War II: 4.17%
Korean War: 1.81%
Vietnam Conflict: 1.75%
Persian Gulf War: 0.02%
Iraq War: 3.89%

3.89%??? This, with alarmingly low rates of recruitment, most of the US troops already deployed, and the real conflict clearly just starting?

I don't know what the casualty rates were for the Civil War, but I think we're all about to find out.

I wish I could say this would "just" be another Vietnam, but clearly the casualty rates preclude such a rose-tinted viewpoint.

-Vulf

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

We are losing the war in Iraq 

I've said this before, and this article sadly reaffirms it: we are losing the war in Iraq.

The six mile stretch of road from the Baghdad International Airport to the Green Zone isn't even under US control. Workers are being dragged out of their vehicles and summarily executed in broad daylight.

The "victory" in Falluja has led to the opening of a half dozen new "fronts" and we are slowly killing the civilians, by arms and by neglect:

In the meantime, a study conducted by Iraq's Healthy Ministry in conjunction with Norway's Institute for Applied International Studies and the UN Development program, found that acute malnutrition among younger children in Iraq has doubled since the invasion. The study estimated that 400,000 children were suffering from "wasting" – chronic diarrhea and serious protein deficiencies.

If the US were "liberated" to the tune of 1 million+ civilian deaths (and who knows how many casualties), along with 4 million children slowly dying of malnutrition and worse, would we be welcoming the cause of this as liberators?

Invasion of Iran? The US is going to lose the War in Iraq.

-Vulf

Hard to believe... 

OK, now I'm in a cynical mood. Much as I'd like to believe that dolphins saved the lives of some New Zealand swimmers, why didn't the swimmers report it for 3 weeks?

Besides, I have a lot of respect for dolphins and their intelligence.

-Vulf

I was kind of hoping... 

That just once, *once*, one of these recounts would have a Dem win.

But, once again, the "official recount" ends in an apparent Republican win...for the governor of Washington State. Of course, with a machine "recount" (and why, pary, is it different?), the margin is down from 261 to 42 votes. And the Republicans don't want the Dems to push for a hand recount? Let's see, the machine recount reduced their margin by 84% and they don't want the Dems to follow on that?

Until one of these "close calls" goes the other way, the smell is going to get worse and worse.

Of course, the "chaos" in the Ukraine offers a nice smokescreen for the Republicans to show "righteous indignation" about a fixed election. They oughta know.

-Vulf



Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Stranger and stranger still... 

The audacity of our "W" apparently knows no bounds.

George W. Bush is now, with presumed righteous indignation, asking that the election results in the Ukraine not be certified! The man who rushed to have the results in Ohio and Florida and elsewhere certified here. The man who has, in all likelihood, stolen the past two elections here.

His "spokesperson" said:

"The United States is deeply concerned by extensive and credible indications of fraud committed in the Ukrainian presidential election," White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan told reporters at a briefing in Crawford, Texas, where President Bush is spending Thanksgiving.

Nice smokescreen. Take out the word "Ukrainian" in that sentence, and act upon it, "Planet Claire". Otherwise, shut up.

-Vulf

Monday, November 22, 2004

Ukranian Voting Irregularity... 

It's not just in the the U.S. Worldwide, it seems, the results are the same: Exit polls show a "liberal" (meaning centrist) candidate winning handily, but the "official" polls (not coincidentally in the hands of the "victorious" incumbent) show the incumbent (right-wing, conservative) winning.

The difference...the US is calling the results in the Ukraine suspect.

-Vulf

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Florida Voting irregularity... 

OK, CommonDreams has, perhaps inadvertantly, misled us before...the Dixiecrat votes, for example.

Still, this one sounds really, really bad.

This is the sort of thing that, if it were occurring in Bolivia or Peru, would lead to US condemnation and the sending in of storm-troopers.

Complacency being what it is, nothing will come of this. Thousands of women and children die every month in Iraq, and we--as a nation--don't care. Why is that?

Stay tuned. I have an idea.

-Vulf

Pixies rock 

Alternet.org got it right:

http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/20548

The Pixies were the last great influential band. What is to emerge from the current morass of a music scene is anyone's guess, but the Pixies cleared the path for bands like Nirvana and maybe even Jet.

Aside from Sleater-Kinney and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, is anything really happening out there?

-Vulf



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