Friday, September 30, 2005

Corruption in America

John Gotti, Jr was recently acquitted (although by a hung jury) and House Majority Leader Tom Delay was recently indicted by a grand jury. Is it possible that the Mafia is more upstanding than our own Congress? If Delay is convicted will that be a sign that we need to change some of the fundamentals of the way we choose our leaders?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

A bigger safer budget

Does a larger defense budget make our country a safer place? The Skeptical Optimist hints that our reduced spending in the late 90s left the country vulnerable to attack, and could be responsible for our current entrenchment in two wars. Is this believable? Was Iraq emboldened by our cutbacks? Probably not, because evidence has shown that they had not resumed programs to created WMDs. Was Al Qaeda cowed by our impressive array of weaponry? Didn't look like it. We are currently involved in a "War on Terror", which makes our probable opponents terrorists. Terrorists by definition fight against overwhelming odds by attacking soft targets and avoiding direct conflict. Because of this, a military of immense size does little to deter their activities. But when the terror was connected to a state sponsor (Afghanistan's Taliban), surely our ability to shock and awe caused them to cringe? No. They still refused to hand over Bin Laden. We continue to fight insurgents in both of the countries we occupy, despite an overwhelming military superiority. So the War on Terror is not necessarily helped by building new aircraft carriers and stockpiles of missles. We are the world's biggest spender in terms of military budget. In fact, it takes the next 27 highest countries to equal our budget. Are we that much safer? Perhaps its time to focus more on providing security and quick response at home instead of expanding our network of over 700 overseas bases (not counting bases in Iraq or Afghanistan).


I hope the fillet Delay (here is a link on how to say that word if you your are a moron) .

As much as I like some of the things the republican party does, they are still politicians. As a rule, politicians are not a group I admire for their outstanding morals. Ohh sure their are some good ones, just like some people are innocent on death row.

The GOP should exorcise Delay for several reasons. I will concentrate on the one they might relate to (as morals and ethics don't translate when you are talking to politicians). It is bad for the party even if he wins.

Also, memo to Delay, saying your are innocent does not convince anybody of that fact. Remember OJ and Micheal both do that.


Go M-Town

Source: "Among those eligible to receive food stamps but not getting them, the widest gap was in Oakland, California, where an estimated 23 percent of eligible people in Alameda County get food stamps.

Next was San Diego County, California, with 26 percent of those eligible getting food stamps, and Houston, where an estimated 40 percent of Harris County residents got food stamps.

The highest levels of participation were in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, and the Memphis area in Shelby County, Tennessee. In those communities, 90 percent of people eligible for food stamps received them."

Go memphis...oh wait....that is not a good thing.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Today I watched "hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy". I was at the local blockbuster and I thought that I was in the mood for some Sci-fi. I then saw this movie and I thought I was in the mood for quirky Sci-fi. I now feel more depressed than I did before I watched the movie. You know sometimes Hollywood should just keep their hands off of books. Sometimes they do a great job of taking books to movies. I cite lord of the rings and the Harry potter movies as my evidence for that statement.

Other times they do a good job with the movie, but the movie fails to capture the magic of the book. I cite Hitchhiker as an example. The movie as a stand along piece was actually good. On a technical side of things, I could not find anything wrong at all. The fit and finish was good. They set was nice and the characters were fun. Though somehow this movie failed to capture even one percent of the greatness of the books. It could be that the book(s) took their time with the story. Or it could be the story in the books was better because it was spread over several books, which allowed for a better story. It could be that the magic of the book was just impossible to capture on film. I really don't know, but if you liked the books I doubt you will like the movie. If you have never read the books, I doubt that you will like the movie. You can't win with this movie, so don't even try.


Skeptical Optimist

Cube linked to one of his articles, and I have found several things that I take exception to. However, he has no functioning links for commentary, so I have decided to take up the debate here. I don't know where to begin. First, he argues that any amount of debt is ok as long as we are spending it on things that we need. He assures all of us that the United States will continue to have a large, prosperous economy for the rest of our lives, and any amount of debt can be carried by this economic colossus. Because we have never had a recession before, have we? He attacks one commentator for pointing out that China owns a significant amount of US debt. Japan owns more, and he is outraged that China was the only country singled out as a threat. Could that be because Japan's economy is for better or worse heavily dependent on ours and they have no military to speak of? Anyone else see that as non-threatening? He also says that we are in better shape economically now than at the end of the Clinton presidency because we spend less of our budget (percentage wise) on debt interest. And could that be due to the balanced budget that Clinton left? I don't see how Bush's rampant spending could be the thing that saved us from debt payments. This is getting long so I will wrap it up with a quote from Optimist's blog "Every time I see this chart it makes me wonder: What if we could have mustered the courage as a nation to keep national security spending on an even keel, and managed it effectively; might we have prevented a war or two?"
Wow. Because we have seen from Bush that a large military is the best deterrent, and we won't attack anyone preemptively, even based on evidence that is later proven to be nonexistent.

Mining the Moon

The only way that I could see NASA justifying their budget is if they began to produce some useful results. If they found a resource that we could use on the moon, or even Mars, then I would be all for them building space elevators and spending millions of dollars on old rockets and space shuttles. Even if they built a permanent base on the moon I think that would help to caputre the imagination of a country that hasn't noticed them accomplish anything significant for the last 36 years.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Because we have nothing better do with our money...

NASA is hoping to build an elevator to outer space. A carbon filament ribbon will stretch from a platform floating above the equator to a space station. A lifting device will carry cargo from the platform into space. If it works it will drastically decrease the expense related to moving equipment into space. Which makes sense, but do we really need it right now? And what is the purpose of going back to the moon? Is it just to prove that the space program has not slipped past their 1969 capabilities? I know there are a lot of happy sci fi fans out there, but we have much more pressing issues here on this planet, and there are millions of better ways to waste money.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Those crazy British

Now this comes from Drudge. Here he does what he does best; finds the crazy stories and brings them to our attention.

Source:""Many of these couples are simply not having sex or not having enough sex," he said. "Conception has become medicalised. It's too clinical. There has been a trend away from having sex and loving relationships towards medicalised conception.""

That is just odd. Which is more fun, going to the doctor or playing doctor. Which is cheaper, going to the doctor or playing doctor. There is no upside to medicalized conception, if you can conceive naturally.

"Mr Dooley practices at Westover House clinic and the Lister Hospital, both in south-west London, and a clinic in Poundbury, Dorset. He said: "I have people who come to me for IVF who haven't got time for sex. Those people don't care about looking for a lifestyle or maximizing their natural potential."
"People want everything now. If they can't have a baby now, they want IVF. They think it's no different from putting your name down for a handbag. Some people are horrified by the idea that they have to have sex two to three times a week. About 10 per cent of people I see don't have time to have sex. It's usually when you have two professionals who are based in the city and are very busy."

If you don't have time for sex, what makes you think you have time for kids! Before you have kids you had better have time to take care of them. Think of them as a particularly needy pet.

I wonder how long these doctor visits take. In Britain, people are going to private clinical, so their is probably very little wait time in the waiting room either due to the fact no one uses private clinics or they are better ran than the national health system. But remember that you still have to extract the genetic information from the donor to combine with the host. That takes time. Also, each participant in the medical process would still have to drive to the clinic or take public transportation. Come one people...JUST...GET...A...ROOM.

""Mothers might be working or their children sleep in their bed. I told one of my patients who is going through IVF that another IVF patient had just conceived naturally. She said: 'What? She's having sex? Bloody Luddite'.""

Send the kids to mothers. Call me traditional, but for me and my household we will choose the natural (if possible) method of reproduction.


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Bipartisan Bashing

I have said enough about Republicans for the time being and would like to take aim at Democrats over two issues. The first one is opportunistic partisan finger pointing over the Hurricane Katrina disaster. The problems were more a failing of United States emergency response than any party related policies. The bickering between the two only obscured the actual issues that need to be addressed. Although Bush may have been slow to respond, I applaud his stand in taking the blame as head of state and moving on to recovery. The second issue is the appointment of John Roberts to the Supreme Court. I have been quiet so far because I have been exploring the arguments. But there don't seem to be any. I have yet to hear one complaint about his qualifications or views. The only thing I have seen him criticized for is the fact that he is not known well enough. He has had a long career in the judiciary system, and he did not seem to be holding back during his Congressional investigation. Either there is a reason to oppose him, or he should be supported and appointed with minimal fuss. There are a plethora of other issues that are far more deserving of public debate at this point. It's time to move on.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Rogue State?

Would you consider a nation that is currently in possession of nuclear weapons, and developing more, a rogue state if it declared its intention to use them preemptively, as it saw fit? What if that nation refused to abide by standards of international law, even charters and treaties that it had not only signed but actually sponsored? What if the nation declared its inalienable right to attack other nations unilaterally, and without publicly divulging its reasons for doing so? Would you be less likely to label this nation as "rogue" if you lived there? Check out an analysis of the new Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations at

That is one view point


""Criminalizing abortion requires women who have unwanted or nonconsensual pregnancies to go forward with the pregnancies, and there is nothing comparable with men," said Robin West of Georgetown University's law school. "The most straightforward constitutional argument is that mandatory or nonconsensual pregnancies impose a requirement of 'Good Samaritanism' that is not required of men.""

Except that the law also requires men to pay money for this child each month for a very long time. If that is not a requirement of "Good Samaritanism" for men then I do not know what is.

I love how the speaker wraps the "Oh damn, I pregnant" pregnancies up with the "Oh damn, I pregnant because I got raped" pregnancies. The issue of unwanted consensual pregnancies is completely different than the issue of unwanted nonconsensual pregnancies. Basically the woman had the choice to not get pregnant with the consensual cases. They could do any number of things: Not have sex, use birth control, or use a condom (male or female). They made their choice and used that card. They now should not beable to make a belated choice because they were irresponsible, especially when a another's life is involved.

""What strikes me as the most burdensome of this requirement of mandatory pregnancy is that it imposes on a woman that she use her body in a certain way. We're all required to pay taxes, etc., but we're not required to do with our body things we don't want to do. ... It is a striking anomaly in the law ," West told"

That is a load of bull crap also. The same people who are telling me I cannot smoke in some areas are the same people telling me that a woman has supreme right over her body because...well...she is a woman. We are a required to do things (or not do things) with our body that we don't want to do. Where do you think those taxes come from...from the time our bodies put in at work. There are probably some states where I girl can get an abortion but still cannot get a tattoo. I am forced to go the speed limit. I am sure I put some time on this list; I could come up with more items.


Can anyone say Mexico?

Source: "Only a few hours after those on the coast began fleeing the area news outlets were reporting that given the sheer numbers of evacuees there was not a hotel room available in the entire state of Texas. This means that people without relatives or friends outside the storm zone would have to go all the way out of state to the north or to the west to escape. The staggering amount of cars trying to flee the area means that such a trip could easily take 24 hours to get to a safe destination. Right now every single route out of the area is bumper to bumper in traffic that is barely moving, trips through Houston of just a few miles are reported to take over 5 hours! For many in the area there is simply nowhere to go."

I am fairly sure that if a large number evacuees tried to get into Mexico that they would quickly overwhelm the border infrastructure, though it does seem to be were people are NOT going. It is kind of like if you want lunch at noon. Where do you go? The worst place in town, their is always room there.



My girlfriend has two older sisters who are still in Houston. They did not leave two days ago, so there was not really much use in trying to leave through the chaos. They figured they were safer in their house than in their car. They have no guns, though they do have a few swords. I guess that is better than nothing. Their house has flooded before, so there is a real good chance that their house will flood again. One sister was sent to buy food and bottled water, it was chaos at the stores.

Prayers are in order.


Friday, September 23, 2005

Free Solar

I was having a conversation with a recent Hurricane Katrina victim. She said that FEMA is either paying for generators, or reimbursing people for their purchase if they lost electricity for a significant amount of time. She wondered if a solar generator would be covered as opposed to one that ran on gas or diesel. Solar generators have several advantages. One being the obvious environment-friendly, tree-hugger factor, but a more practical one being that they don't need to be refueled. If your electricity is knocked out, chances are that you also don't have readily available access to open gas stations (as they are also closed due to power outages). Even if you do, who would want to buy gas when they can have free sunlight? Hurricanes typically draw up most available moisture and provide a few beautiful sunny days after they pass. The added value of the solar generators would be that you could still use them to lower your monthly bills after your normal electricity is restored. Since the common complaint about solar energy is that it is too costly to purchase initially, this may be a great time to get it for free. If you have friends or family affected by a hurricane, mention the idea.

New project

The applications for this type of tool could be with out limits. If you are not going to click. Lets just say it is a homemade sentry gun. Like the kind they have in video games


A great fisking

Here is a great fisking by the The Skeptical Optimist.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

The first in a bunker series

Part One: Welcome to My Underground Bunker
Part Two: How to Hide a Fallout Shelter in the Middle of Suburbia
Part Three: Is There Good Reason to Hide Your Shelter?


About time

If you wanted a good shooting tip, this post (On Shooting) at Texican Tattler is a good place to start.

I personally think this might help out my girlfriend, who does not quite have the strength to control the recoil from my gun in the weaver stance I taught her. Heck, i did not even know there was a "modern isosceles" stance until i read that post.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

From a Friend

This is from the friend who left this in the comments.

Ain't nothing like mandatory evacuation. This really
sucks! Oh well, what can you do. Billy and I and
Billy's entire family (that has been living with us
for a month by the way)are trucking it up to south Ark.
tomorrow. Hopefully we will only be there till Sunday.
(let's pray)

Take care,

BTW: Just heard\read they are expecting Rita to turn into a Cat 4 storm.

I am back

I am back. Sorry I was gone so long. During my respite on this blog, I saw several interesting things.

I saw "Whistler: Art for Art's Sake", a truck that was caught on fire, and a rear axel of an 18-wheeler in the middle of the I-55 bridge over the Mississippi river.

I also read this article today: Hurricane Watch for Real Estate. I am wary of anyone saying there is a housing bubble and that is going to burst.

"To top it off, we are hardly preparing ourselves for the inevitable category 4 or 5 hurricane when housing prices do come down. Just ask those who actually lived through the stock market crash of 1987 and the ensuing savings and loans debacle, which caused a real estate depression in the early 1990s. Memo to those who didn't own property then: prices went down, not up."

Housing is fundamentally different than other investments because you live in it. I also have read numbers that say prices stayed level, but did not go down. Now they could have stayed level - not counting inflation, which means the "real" value dropped. So I do not know whose numbers are correct.

The magnitude of Katrina will certainly be felt, though claiming that it can begin a housing bust might be a little extreme. Though if you are thinking about buying a house, you could try to catch the housing market when it is down. It would seem that if you believed that a housing bubble was imminent, it could be worth they money to wait 2 years before buying a house in some cases.

The money that is lost is the money spent on rent and the money lost on a higher interest rate.

The money saved would be the value you saved on the house and the money saved on a lower interest rate (You had more money to put down on the house, so you got a lower interest rate.)

If the housing bubble was a sure thing, that could be a smart strategy to try.


Monday, September 19, 2005

Digging your own hole

Fallout shelters may again become fashionable as the United States releases its latest version of the Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations. It contains a number of ways that nuclear weapons could be used preemptively, even against countries or non-state actors that don't possess nuclear weapons of their own. Additionally, the US has pulled out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as the Pentagon continues to request funding for new nuclear weapons programs. Five years ago it was generally agreed that nuclear weapons should never be used again, and their only purpose was to deter other countries from using theirs, in support of the Mutually Assured Destruction theory. I don't see how our recent behavior could do anything but start a new arms race and make any country not closely allied with the US speed up efforts to secure their own nuclear arsenal.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Vanishing Point: How to disappear in America without a trace

I will read this and comment on the quality of it later on.

via Project Nothing

UPDATE: The writer at project nothing stopped really paying attention where the writer said hang out in biker bars. I stopped believing it when I read that you should hang out at gay bars. Then as of yesterday I caught a link from another source (Survival blog , sorry they do not have permalinks) Tim May's FuKit, in which the author also suggested hanging out in gay bars. Which I think both of the authors do state the point that you should not follow your regular habits if you are going to disappear. I guess I could make myself go to a gay bar if my life depended on it, but I would have to be in dire need of vanishing. Neither of those articles really gave me the info I wanted.

Then I found this book some how, "How to Be Invisible: The Essential Guide to Protecting Your Personal Privacy, Your Assets, and Your Life". This book supposedly gives you a step by step guide to disappearing.


Thursday, September 15, 2005


So I learn that Google has a blog searcher thingy. (Via riding sun)

So as any good blogger I put the URL of my blog in. Second hit is this.

"Have read my first academic article about blogs! And it was interesting the entire time. This is such a great topic. It's called "Political Blogs and the Bloggers Who Blog Them: Is the Political Blogosphere an Echo Chamber?" The author, Kevin Wallsten, studies a random-ish sample (random-ish because there is no master list of blogs, and no official definition of a "political" blog) of the relatively unpopular blogs written by ordinary citizens for a small audience. He compares their posts with media stories during 2004 to see whether these bloggers are acting as an "echo chamber," just focusing on the stories that the media promotes as important." Here is the important part.

"One of the fun things about this study is that you can actually visit the blogs he studied, most of which are still in operation, such as AgnostoLibertarianTechnoGeek, Sandcastles and Cubicles, Vulgar Boatman, and George in Denver."

I was part of an academic study. Shouldn't I get compensated for my work as a part of a double blind study.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

One man's relief effort

Here is one man's relief effort. If you have read one thing about the hurricane, this is what you must read.

Daybreak, up and at 'em. Spent most of the day clearing debris in Biloxi and Gulfport. The deuce makes a pretty good plow when you use a compact car turned sideways as a plow blade."

The older man waves. He's definitely waving at me. I hesitantly wave back. Caramba! It's George Bush! I really don't think stopping here would be a good idea. I turn right, around a huge pile of debris, and get out of Dodge. I feel like I just narrowly avoided disaster."

Up at dawn, coffee in belly, fire up the deuce, wave goodbye. Turn off the deuce, stagger in house, first time I sat on the throne in 7 days. Lots of blood, that's probably not a good thing. Can you say Too Much Information! Pop some more painkillers, fire up the deuce, wave goodbye, hit the road - Round 2."

Please pass this around.


Democrat's worse nightmare...

...Has just come true.

Source:""Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government and to the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility," Bush said during a joint news conference with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani."

So what are the dems going to criticize him for now. He is going to start an investigation, that panel is going to build a timeline (like the 9-11), and that panel is going to find out who did what, where they did it, and what they knew when they did it. Seeing how democrats were in charge of two out of the three levels which could have possibly responded to the hurricane, it looks like they would get hammered more in that investigation than anyone else.

I think the democrats overplayed their hand when they called for an investigation, there are too many eyes and different media outlets to allow them to get escape blame on this one. Admittly, the blame will be placed on local or state level democrats, but still that hurts the party in those areas.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Gun sales are up but that is not all

Here Say Uncle confrims that gun sales up. Though according to JC Refuge, who works in the prepardness industry, guns are not the only things that are selling.


Mixed Signals

Below is a release found on describing how the war in Iraq is supporting the War on Terror. The release is interrupted by discussion of each point.

1. With the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, Iraq is no longer a state sponsor of terror. According to State Department reports on terrorism, before the removal of Saddam's regime, Iraq was one of seven state sponsors of terror.

That very State Department report says that Iraq was providing aid to only two types of terrorist organizations. One type attacked Iran (which we supported for over a decade) and the other provided money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Saudi Arabia and several other nations were also implicated in this. Suspiciously absent from the list was Afghanistan. They have not been on State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism at any point since 1993.

2. Saddam Hussein's regime posed a threat to the security of the United States and the world.
Iraq did not have any weapons capable of reaching the United States. This fact has never been disputed.

3. Saddam Hussein would not uphold his international commitments, and now that he is no longer in power, the world is safe from this tyrant. The old Iraqi regime defied the international community and seventeen UN resolutions for twelve years and gave every indication that it would never disarm and never comply with the just demands of the world.
George W. Bush has not upheld his international commitments. We have backed out of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, the antiballistic missle ban, and have refused to participate in the International Criminal Court.

4. A senior al Qaida terrorist, now detained, who had been responsible for al Qaida training camps in Afghanistan, reports that al Qaida was intent on obtaining WMD assistance from Iraq. According to a credible, high-level al Qaida source, Usama Bin Laden and deceased al Qaida leader Muhammad Atif did not believe that al Qaida labs in Afghanistan were capable of manufacturing chemical and biological weapons, so they turned to Iraq for assistance. Iraq agreed to provide chemical and biological weapons training for two al Qaida associates starting in December 2000.
This could be a valid concern, although no biological weapons labs were found operating in Iraq. So it's a moot point. It's the same as saying that al Qaida is seeking death rays from alines.

5. Senior al Qaida associate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi came to Baghdad in May 2002 for medical treatment along with approximately two dozen al Qaida terrorist associates. This group stayed in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq and plotted terrorist attacks around the world.
Zarqawi became involved with al Qaida after the US invasion in Iraq. But I will concede that apprehending him is a step in the right direction.

6 A safe haven in Iraq belonging to Ansar al-Islam -- a terrorist group closely associated with Zarqawi and al Qaida -- was destroyed during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In March 2003, during a raid on the compound controlled by the terrorists in northeastern Iraq, a cache of documents was discovered, including computer discs and foreign passports belonging to fighters from various Middle East nationalities.
Most evidence points to large numbers of terrorists moving to Iraq since our invasion, so we have actually mulitplied whatever problems previously existed.

7. The al Qaida affiliate Ansar al-Islam is known to still be present in Iraq. Such terrorist groups are now plotting against U.S. forces in Iraq.
I don't see how the existence of a terrorist organization is a bonus for us. If we had wiped one out or captured one maybe, but allowing it to remain is not worth a point.

8. Law enforcement and intelligence operations have disrupted al Qaida associate Abu Musab Zarqawi's poison plotting in France, Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Russia. The facilities in Northern Iraq, set up by Zarqawi and Ansar al-Islam were, before the war, an al Qaida's poisons/toxins laboratory.
This contradicts the State Department report that terrorists from Iraq were only attcking Iran and Israel. But we have definitely introduced never before seen levels of terrorist activity within Iraq.

9. Abu Musa Zarqawi, the al Qaida associate with direct links to Iraq, oversaw those responsible for the assassination of USAID officer Laurence Foley in Amman, Jordan last October.
Had we caught Zarqawi, I would count this as a valid point, but since we haven't, and our efforts have actually increased the size and activitiy of his organization, no points.

10. Saddam Hussein's Iraq provided material assistance to Palestinian terrorist groups, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, HAMAS, and the Palestine Islamic Jihad, according to a State Department report. This included paying the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, according to testimonials from Palestinians and cancelled checks. Also, according to State Department reports, terrorist groups the Iranian Mujahedin-e-Khalq and the Abu Nidal organization were protected by the Iraqi regime protected by the Iraqi regime.
Mentioned about three times by now. This makes America safer how? And which has helped Israel more, the withdrawl from Gaza or the Iraq war?

So, basically, Bush gets one point. The rest of his points are saying that Iraq was continuing the policies we endorsed in the 1980s, and Zaqarwi came there for medical treatment. While those may be reasons to want to start a war, they are not points of how we are achieving victory.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Black refugees ask if Utah will really accept them

This was the funniest article I have seen about the relocation effort (because that is what it is turning out to be).

"So far the local community has welcomed the refugees with open arms, although they say they face an adjustment to life in Utah, stronghold of the socially conservative Mormon Church."

If "accept" them means allowing them throw Mardi Gras parties, buy liquor after 3 pm, or even wear shorts before lunch, I doubt they will. If accepting them means putting them to work caring for their many children from multiple wives, then probably so. Those black folks have no idea what they are getting into. I doubt hiphop is sold in the music stores.

Funniest line had to be chris rock "George Bush hates midgets."


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Less important genocide

In Rwanda, in 1994, 800,000 people were killed in less than three months. Did we help them? Oh, but that was the Clinton administration, right? The morally upstanding Bush administration will help people wherever it is needed. Because they wield "moral authority". What about Sudan? One year ago, the White House acknowledged that genocide was taking place in Darfur. At least 400,000 people have been killed, and up to 2 million displaced by violence. And this isn't over the course of 20 years like the Iraq situation. This is happening right now. West Africa has been a proven haven for terrorists. Osama Bin Laden operated there for years before going to Afghanistan. Why isn't the Sudan a priority? Why did we attack Iraq instead? If we are interested in promoting democracy, personal freedom, and safe living conditions for all people, then why don't we go where we can do the greatest good? Or maybe it isn't about that.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Iraq Conclusions

From the below articles, I think we can all see several things.

1) The reasons given for starting a war with Iraq were later proven to be false.
2) This war has been one of the costliest wars in America's history, adjusted for inflation.
3) America not only maintained diplomatic ties with Iraq during its genocidal attacks against its own people, but our government actually provided support. This should defeat any claims of our "moral authority" and our concern for the Iraqi people.
4) America was instrumental in Saddam's rise to power in Iraq.

Note that none of these articles is new. I believe the newest one is over a year old. None of these articles come from the "fringe liberal left wing". The sources are the Washington Post, United Press International, CBS, and the United States Senate.

Another Old Iraq Article

This one is from CBS, and only one year old. I can see how this breaking news has not yet reached some people.

CIA Blasted For Iraq Intel Flaws
WASHINGTON, July 9, 2004

The key U.S. assertions leading to the 2003 invasion of Iraq — that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons and was working to make nuclear weapons — were wrong and based on false or overstated CIA analyses, a scathing Senate Intelligence Committee report released Friday asserts.

"We would not have authorized that war with 75 votes if we knew what we
know now," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, the committee's ranking Democrat.

Intelligence analysts fell victim to "group think" assumptions that Iraq had weapons that it did not, concludes a bipartisan report. Many factors contributing to those failures are ongoing problems within the U.S. intelligence community — which cannot be fixed with more money alone, it says.

In Britain, an inquiry into the quality of British intelligence on Iraqi weapons will publish its report on July 14. The inquiry, headed by Lord Butler, a retired civil service chief, aims to establish why there is such a glaring gap between "intelligence gathered, evaluated and used by the government" and the lack of evidence on the ground in Iraq.

Sen. Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican who heads the Senate committee, told reporters that assessments that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons and could make a nuclear weapon by the end of the decade were wrong.

"As the report will show, they were also unreasonable and largely unsupported by the available intelligence," he said.

"This was a global intelligence failure."

Rockefeller said: "Tragically, the intelligence failures set forth in this report will affect our national security for generations to come. Our credibility is diminished. Our standing in the world has never been lower. We have fostered a deep hatred of Americans in the Muslim world, and that will grow. As a direct consequence, our nation is more vulnerable today than ever before."

The report repeatedly blasts departing CIA Director George Tenet, accusing him of skewing advice to top policy-makers with the CIA's view and elbowing out dissenting views from other intelligence agencies overseen by the State or Defense departments. It faults Tenet for not personally reviewing President George W. Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, which contained since-discredited references to Iraq's attempts to purchase uranium in Africa.

White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, traveling with President Bush on a campaign trip Friday, said the committee's report essentially "agrees with what we have said, which is we need to take steps to continue strengthening and reforming our intelligence capabilities so we are prepared to meet the new threats that we face in this day and age."

Tenet has resigned and leaves office Sunday.

Intelligence analysts worked from the assumption that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons and was seeking to make more, as well as trying to revive a nuclear weapons program. Instead, investigations after the Iraq invasion have shown that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had no nuclear weapons program and no biological weapons, and only small amounts of chemical weapons have been found.

Analysts ignored or discounted conflicting information because of their assumptions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the report says.

"This 'group think' dynamic led Intelligence Community analysts, collectors and managers to both interpret ambiguous evidence as conclusively indicative of a WMD program as well as ignore or minimize evidence that Iraq did not have active and expanding weapons of mass destruction programs," the report concludes.

Such assumptions also led analysts to inflate snippets of questionable information into broad declarations that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons, the report says.

For example, speculation that the presence of one specialized truck could mean an effort to transfer chemical weapons was puffed up into a conclusion that Iraq was actively making chemical weapons, the report says.

Analysts also concluded that Iraq had a mobile biological weapons program based mainly on the since-discredited claims of one Iraqi defector code-named "Curve Ball," it says. American agents did not have direct access to Curve Ball or his debriefers, but the source's information was expanded into the conclusion that Iraq had an advanced and active biological weapons program, the report says.

Before the war, British Prime Minister Blair was adamant that Saddam Hussein possessed stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.

"What I believe the assessed intelligence has established beyond doubt is that Saddam has continued to produce chemical and biological weapons, that he continues in his efforts to develop nuclear weapons," he wrote in a foreward to a September 2002 intelligence dossier, used by the government as it built its case for war.

According to British press reports, the inquiry will conclude that intelligence claiming that Iraq could launch chemical weapons on 45 minutes' notice — known to be from a single source — was vague and poorly sourced.

The British government has declined to comment.

More Iraq

This is a UPI article (also from 2003) describing the CIA's role in Saddam's climb to power. Note that Qassim and Kaseem are not diffrent people, it is just spelling variations.

Exclusive: Saddam key in early CIA plot
By Richard Sale
UPI Intelligence Correspondent
Published 4/10/2003 7:30 PM

U.S. forces in Baghdad might now be searching high and low for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, but in the past Saddam was seen by U.S. intelligence services as a bulwark of anti-communism and they used him as their instrument for more than 40 years, according to former U.S. intelligence diplomats and intelligence officials.

United Press International has interviewed almost a dozen former U.S. diplomats, British scholars and former U.S. intelligence officials to piece together the following account. The CIA declined to comment on the report.

While many have thought that Saddam first became involved with U.S. intelligence agencies at the start of the September 1980 Iran-Iraq war, his first contacts with U.S. officials date back to 1959, when he was part of a CIA-authorized six-man squad tasked with assassinating then Iraqi Prime Minister Gen. Abd al-Karim Qasim.

In July 1958, Qasim had overthrown the Iraqi monarchy in what one former U.S. diplomat, who asked not to be identified, described as "a horrible orgy of bloodshed."

According to current and former U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Iraq was then regarded as a key buffer and strategic asset in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. For example, in the mid-1950s, Iraq was quick to join the anti-Soviet Baghdad Pact which was to defend the region and whose members included Turkey, Britain, Iran and Pakistan.

Little attention was paid to Qasim's bloody and conspiratorial regime until his sudden decision to withdraw from the pact in 1959, an act that "freaked everybody out" according to a former senior U.S. State Department official.

Washington watched in marked dismay as Qasim began to buy arms from the Soviet Union and put his own domestic communists into ministry positions of "real power," according to this official. The domestic instability of the country prompted CIA Director Allan Dulles to say publicly that Iraq was "the most dangerous spot in the world."

In the mid-1980s, Miles Copeland, a veteran CIA operative, told UPI the CIA had enjoyed "close ties" with Qasim's ruling Baath Party, just as it had close connections with the intelligence service of Egyptian leader Gamel Abd Nassar. In a recent public statement, Roger Morris, a former National Security Council staffer in the 1970s, confirmed this claim, saying that the CIA had chosen the authoritarian and anti-communist Baath Party "as its instrument."

According to another former senior State Department official, Saddam, while only in his early 20s, became a part of a U.S. plot to get rid of Qasim. According to this source, Saddam was installed in an apartment in Baghdad on al-Rashid Street directly opposite Qasim's office in Iraq's Ministry of Defense, to observe Qasim's movements.

Adel Darwish, Middle East expert and author of "Unholy Babylon," said the move was done "with full knowledge of the CIA," and that Saddam's CIA handler was an Iraqi dentist working for CIA and Egyptian intelligence. U.S. officials separately confirmed Darwish's account.

Darwish said that Saddam's paymaster was Capt. Abdel Maquid Farid, the assistant military attach� at the Egyptian Embassy who paid for the apartment from his own personal account. Three former senior U.S. officials have confirmed that this is accurate.

The assassination was set for Oct. 7, 1959, but it was completely botched. Accounts differ. One former CIA official said that the 22-year-old Saddam lost his nerve and began firing too soon, killing Qasim's driver and only wounding Qasim in the shoulder and arm. Darwish told UPI that one of the assassins had bullets that did not fit his gun and that another had a hand grenade that got stuck in the lining of his coat.

"It bordered on farce," a former senior U.S. intelligence official said. But Qasim, hiding on the floor of his car, escaped death, and Saddam, whose calf had been grazed by a fellow would-be assassin, escaped to Tikrit, thanks to CIA and Egyptian intelligence agents, several U.S. government officials said.

Saddam then crossed into Syria and was transferred by Egyptian intelligence agents to Beirut, according to Darwish and former senior CIA officials. While Saddam was in Beirut, the CIA paid for Saddam's apartment and put him through a brief training course, former CIA officials said. The agency then helped him get to Cairo, they said.

One former U.S. government official, who knew Saddam at the time, said that even then Saddam "was known as having no class. He was a thug -- a cutthroat."

In Cairo, Saddam was installed in an apartment in the upper class neighborhood of Dukki and spent his time playing dominos in the Indiana Caf�, watched over by CIA and Egyptian intelligence operatives, according to Darwish and former U.S. intelligence officials.

One former senior U.S. government official said: "In Cairo, I often went to Groppie Caf� at Emad Eldine Pasha Street, which was very posh, very upper class. Saddam would not have fit in there. The Indiana was your basic dive."

But during this time Saddam was making frequent visits to the American Embassy where CIA specialists such as Miles Copeland and CIA station chief Jim Eichelberger were in residence and knew Saddam, former U.S. intelligence officials said.

Saddam's U.S. handlers even pushed Saddam to get his Egyptian handlers to raise his monthly allowance, a gesture not appreciated by Egyptian officials since they knew of Saddam's American connection, according to Darwish. His assertion was confirmed by former U.S. diplomat in Egypt at the time.

In February 1963 Qasim was killed in a Baath Party coup. Morris claimed recently that the CIA was behind the coup, which was sanctioned by President John F. Kennedy, but a former very senior CIA official strongly denied this.

"We were absolutely stunned. We had guys running around asking what the hell had happened," this official said.

But the agency quickly moved into action. Noting that the Baath Party was hunting down Iraq's communist, the CIA provided the submachine gun-toting Iraqi National Guardsmen with lists of suspected communists who were then jailed, interrogated, and summarily gunned down, according to former U.S. intelligence officials with intimate knowledge of the executions.

Many suspected communists were killed outright, these sources said. Darwish told UPI that the mass killings, presided over by Saddam, took place at Qasr al-Nehayat, literally, the Palace of the End.

A former senior U.S. State Department official told UPI: "We were frankly glad to be rid of them. You ask that they get a fair trial? You have to get kidding. This was serious business."

A former senior CIA official said: "It was a bit like the mysterious killings of Iran's communists just after Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979. All 4,000 of his communists suddenly got killed."

British scholar Con Coughlin, author of "Saddam: King of Terror," quotes Jim Critchfield, then a senior Middle East agency official, as saying the killing of Qasim and the communists was regarded "as a great victory." A former long-time covert U.S. intelligence operative and friend of Critchfield said: "Jim was an old Middle East hand. He wasn't sorry to see the communists go at all. Hey, we were playing for keeps."

Saddam, in the meantime, became head of al-Jihaz a-Khas, the secret intelligence apparatus of the Baath Party.

The CIA/Defense Intelligence Agency relation with Saddam intensified after the start of the Iran-Iraq war in September of 1980. During the war, the CIA regularly sent a team to Saddam to deliver battlefield intelligence obtained from Saudi AWACS surveillance aircraft to aid the effectiveness of Iraq's armed forces, according to a former DIA official, part of a U.S. interagency intelligence group.

This former official said that he personally had signed off on a document that shared U.S. satellite intelligence with both Iraq and Iran in an attempt to produce a military stalemate. "When I signed it, I thought I was losing my mind," the former official told UPI.

A former CIA official said that Saddam had assigned a top team of three senior officers from the Estikhbarat, Iraq's military intelligence, to meet with the Americans.

According to Darwish, the CIA and DIA provided military assistance to Saddam's ferocious February 1988 assault on Iranian positions in the al-Fao peninsula by blinding Iranian radars for three days.

The Saddam-U.S. intelligence alliance of convenience came to an end at 2 a.m. Aug. 2, 1990, when 100,000 Iraqi troops, backed by 300 tanks, invaded its neighbor, Kuwait. America's one-time ally had become its bitterest enemy.

Copyright © 2001-2004 United Press International

US Policy towards Iraq

The US backed Saddam's takeover in Iraq because the previous ruler, General Abdel-Karim Kassem, had pulled out of the anti-Soviet Baghdad Pact and legalized the Communist Party. The CIA saw this as a dangerous swing in the Cold War and supported the Ba'ath Party in their bid to control the country.

As for weapons of mass destruction and terrorists, we have not found any weapons of mass destruction. Even the White House has admitted that they are not here. We have also not found any facilities used to produce WMDs, and none of the UN weapons inspectors supported our charges about WMDs. And there have been no substantiated links between Saddam and Al Qaeda. I know that conservatives love to claim that these things exist, but after controlling Iraq for three years, where is the evidence?

The following Washington Post article further delves into our relationship with Iraq.

U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup
Trade in Chemical Arms Allowed Despite Their Use on Iranians, Kurds

By Michael Dobbs
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 30, 2002; Page A01

High on the Bush administration's list of justifications for war against Iraq are President Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons, nuclear and biological programs, and his contacts with international terrorists. What U.S. officials rarely acknowledge is that these offenses date back to a period when Hussein was seen in Washington as a valued ally.

Among the people instrumental in tilting U.S. policy toward Baghdad during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war was Donald H. Rumsfeld, now defense secretary, whose December 1983 meeting with Hussein as a special presidential envoy paved the way for normalization of U.S.-Iraqi relations. Declassified documents show that Rumsfeld traveled to Baghdad at a time when Iraq was using chemical weapons on an "almost daily" basis in defiance of international conventions.

In the Kurdish village of Halabjah in northern Iraq on March 20, 1988, a father holds his baby. Both were believed killed by an Iraqi chemical attack.

The story of U.S. involvement with Saddam Hussein in the years before his 1990 attack on Kuwait -- which included large-scale intelligence sharing, supply of cluster bombs through a Chilean front company, and facilitating Iraq's acquisition of chemical and biological precursors -- is a topical example of the underside of U.S. foreign policy. It is a world in which deals can be struck with dictators, human rights violations sometimes overlooked, and accommodations made with arms proliferators, all on the principle that the "enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Throughout the 1980s, Hussein's Iraq was the sworn enemy of Iran, then still in the throes of an Islamic revolution. U.S. officials saw Baghdad as a bulwark against militant Shiite extremism and the fall of pro-American states such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and even Jordan -- a Middle East version of the "domino theory" in Southeast Asia. That was enough to turn Hussein into a strategic partner and for U.S. diplomats in Baghdad to routinely refer to Iraqi forces as "the good guys," in contrast to the Iranians, who were depicted as "the bad guys."

A review of thousands of declassified government documents and interviews with former policymakers shows that U.S. intelligence and logistical support played a crucial role in shoring up Iraqi defenses against the "human wave" attacks by suicidal Iranian troops. The administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush authorized the sale to Iraq of numerous items that had both military and civilian applications, including poisonous chemicals and deadly biological viruses, such as anthrax and bubonic plague.

What makes present-day Hussein different from the Hussein of the 1980s, say Middle East experts, is the mellowing of the Iranian revolution and the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait that transformed the Iraqi dictator, almost overnight, from awkward ally into mortal enemy. In addition, the United States itself has changed. As a result of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, U.S. policymakers take a much more alarmist view of the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

U.S. Shifts in Iran-Iraq War

When the Iran-Iraq war began in September 1980, with an Iraqi attack across the Shatt al Arab waterway that leads to the Persian Gulf, the United States was a bystander. The United States did not have diplomatic relations with either Baghdad or Tehran. U.S. officials had almost as little sympathy for Hussein's dictatorial brand of Arab nationalism as for the Islamic fundamentalism espoused by Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. As long as the two countries fought their way to a stalemate, nobody in Washington was disposed to intervene.

By the summer of 1982, however, the strategic picture had changed dramatically. After its initial gains, Iraq was on the defensive, and Iranian troops had advanced to within a few miles of Basra, Iraq's second largest city. U.S. intelligence information suggested the Iranians might achieve a breakthrough on the Basra front, destabilizing Kuwait, the Gulf states, and even Saudi Arabia, thereby threatening U.S. oil supplies.

To prevent an Iraqi collapse, the Reagan administration supplied battlefield intelligence on Iranian troop buildups to the Iraqis, sometimes through third parties such as Saudi Arabia. The U.S. tilt toward Iraq was enshrined in National Security Decision Directive 114 of Nov. 26, 1983, one of the few important Reagan era foreign policy decisions that still remains classified. According to former U.S. officials, the directive stated that the United States would do "whatever was necessary and legal" to prevent Iraq from losing the war with Iran.

The presidential directive was issued amid a flurry of reports that Iraqi forces were using chemical weapons in their attempts to hold back the Iranians. In principle, Washington was strongly opposed to chemical warfare, a practice outlawed by the 1925 Geneva Protocol. In practice, U.S. condemnation of Iraqi use of chemical weapons ranked relatively low on the scale of administration priorities, particularly compared with the all-important goal of preventing an Iranian victory.

Thus, on Nov. 1, 1983, a senior State Department official, Jonathan T. Howe, told Secretary of State George P. Shultz that intelligence reports showed that Iraqi troops were resorting to "almost daily use of CW" against the Iranians. But the Reagan administration had already committed itself to a large-scale diplomatic and political overture to Baghdad, culminating in several visits by the president's recently appointed special envoy to the Middle East, Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Secret talking points prepared for the first Rumsfeld visit to Baghdad enshrined some of the language from NSDD 114, including the statement that the United States would regard "any major reversal of Iraq's fortunes as a strategic defeat for the West." When Rumsfeld finally met with Hussein on Dec. 20, he told the Iraqi leader that Washington was ready for a resumption of full diplomatic relations, according to a State Department report of the conversation. Iraqi leaders later described themselves as "extremely pleased" with the Rumsfeld visit, which had "elevated U.S.-Iraqi relations to a new level."

In a September interview with CNN, Rumsfeld said he "cautioned" Hussein about the use of chemical weapons, a claim at odds with declassified State Department notes of his 90-minute meeting with the Iraqi leader. A Pentagon spokesman, Brian Whitman, now says that Rumsfeld raised the issue not with Hussein, but with Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz. The State Department notes show that he mentioned it largely in passing as one of several matters that "inhibited" U.S. efforts to assist Iraq.

Rumsfeld has also said he had "nothing to do" with helping Iraq in its war against Iran. Although former U.S. officials agree that Rumsfeld was not one of the architects of the Reagan administration's tilt toward Iraq -- he was a private citizen when he was appointed Middle East envoy -- the documents show that his visits to Baghdad led to closer U.S.-Iraqi cooperation on a wide variety of fronts. Washington was willing to resume diplomatic relations immediately, but Hussein insisted on delaying such a step until the following year.

As part of its opening to Baghdad, the Reagan administration removed Iraq from the State Department terrorism list in February 1982, despite heated objections from Congress. Without such a move, Teicher says, it would have been "impossible to take even the modest steps we were contemplating" to channel assistance to Baghdad. Iraq -- along with Syria, Libya and South Yemen -- was one of four original countries on the list, which was first drawn up in 1979.

Some former U.S. officials say that removing Iraq from the terrorism list provided an incentive to Hussein to expel the Palestinian guerrilla leader Abu Nidal from Baghdad in 1983. On the other hand, Iraq continued to play host to alleged terrorists throughout the '80s. The most notable was Abu Abbas, leader of the Palestine Liberation Front, who found refuge in Baghdad after being expelled from Tunis for masterminding the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro, which resulted in the killing of an elderly American tourist.

Iraq Lobbies for Arms

While Rumsfeld was talking to Hussein and Aziz in Baghdad, Iraqi diplomats and weapons merchants were fanning out across Western capitals for a diplomatic charm offensive-cum-arms buying spree. In Washington, the key figure was the Iraqi chargé d'affaires, Nizar Hamdoon, a fluent English speaker who impressed Reagan administration officials as one of the most skillful lobbyists in town.

"He arrived with a blue shirt and a white tie, straight out of the mafia," recalled Geoffrey Kemp, a Middle East specialist in the Reagan White House. "Within six months, he was hosting suave dinner parties at his residence, which he parlayed into a formidable lobbying effort. He was particularly effective with the American Jewish community."

One of Hamdoon's favorite props, says Kemp, was a green Islamic scarf allegedly found on the body of an Iranian soldier. The scarf was decorated with a map of the Middle East showing a series of arrows pointing toward Jerusalem. Hamdoon used to "parade the scarf" to conferences and congressional hearings as proof that an Iranian victory over Iraq would result in "Israel becoming a victim along with the Arabs."

According to a sworn court affidavit prepared by Teicher in 1995, the United States "actively supported the Iraqi war effort by supplying the Iraqis with billions of dollars of credits, by providing military intelligence and advice to the Iraqis, and by closely monitoring third country arms sales to Iraq to make sure Iraq had the military weaponry required." Teicher said in the affidavit that former CIA director William Casey used a Chilean company, Cardoen, to supply Iraq with cluster bombs that could be used to disrupt the Iranian human wave attacks. Teicher refuses to discuss the affidavit.

At the same time the Reagan administration was facilitating the supply of weapons and military components to Baghdad, it was attempting to cut off supplies to Iran under "Operation Staunch." Those efforts were largely successful, despite the glaring anomaly of the 1986 Iran-contra scandal when the White House publicly admitted trading arms for hostages, in violation of the policy that the United States was trying to impose on the rest of the world.

Although U.S. arms manufacturers were not as deeply involved as German or British companies in selling weaponry to Iraq, the Reagan administration effectively turned a blind eye to the export of "dual use" items such as chemical precursors and steel tubes that can have military and civilian applications. According to several former officials, the State and Commerce departments promoted trade in such items as a way to boost U.S. exports and acquire political leverage over Hussein.

When United Nations weapons inspectors were allowed into Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War, they compiled long lists of chemicals, missile components, and computers from American suppliers, including such household names as Union Carbide and Honeywell, which were being used for military purposes.

A 1994 investigation by the Senate Banking Committee turned up dozens of biological agents shipped to Iraq during the mid-'80s under license from the Commerce Department, including various strains of anthrax, subsequently identified by the Pentagon as a key component of the Iraqi biological warfare program. The Commerce Department also approved the export of insecticides to Iraq, despite widespread suspicions that they were being used for chemical warfare.

The fact that Iraq was using chemical weapons was hardly a secret. In February 1984, an Iraqi military spokesman effectively acknowledged their use by issuing a chilling warning to Iran. "The invaders should know that for every harmful insect, there is an insecticide capable of annihilating it . . . and Iraq possesses this annihilation insecticide."

Chemicals Kill Kurds

In late 1987, the Iraqi air force began using chemical agents against Kurdish resistance forces in northern Iraq that had formed a loose alliance with Iran, according to State Department reports. The attacks, which were part of a "scorched earth" strategy to eliminate rebel-controlled villages, provoked outrage on Capitol Hill and renewed demands for sanctions against Iraq. The State Department and White House were also outraged -- but not to the point of doing anything that might seriously damage relations with Baghdad.

"The U.S.-Iraqi relationship is . . . important to our long-term political and economic objectives," Assistant Secretary of State Richard W. Murphy wrote in a September 1988 memorandum that addressed the chemical weapons question. "We believe that economic sanctions will be useless or counterproductive to influence the Iraqis."

Bush administration spokesmen have cited Hussein's use of chemical weapons "against his own people" -- and particularly the March 1988 attack on the Kurdish village of Halabjah -- to bolster their argument that his regime presents a "grave and gathering danger" to the United States.

The Iraqis continued to use chemical weapons against the Iranians until the end of the Iran-Iraq war. A U.S. air force intelligence officer, Rick Francona, reported finding widespread use of Iraqi nerve gas when he toured the Al Faw peninsula in southern Iraq in the summer of 1988, after its recapture by the Iraqi army. The battlefield was littered with atropine injectors used by panicky Iranian troops as an antidote against Iraqi nerve gas attacks.

Far from declining, the supply of U.S. military intelligence to Iraq actually expanded in 1988, according to a 1999 book by Francona, "Ally to Adversary: an Eyewitness Account of Iraq's Fall from Grace." Informed sources said much of the battlefield intelligence was channeled to the Iraqis by the CIA office in Baghdad.

Although U.S. export controls to Iraq were tightened up in the late 1980s, there were still many loopholes. In December 1988, Dow Chemical sold $1.5 million of pesticides to Iraq, despite U.S. government concerns that they could be used as chemical warfare agents. An Export-Import Bank official reported in a memorandum that he could find "no reason" to stop the sale, despite evidence that the pesticides were "highly toxic" to humans and would cause death "from asphyxiation."

The U.S. policy of cultivating Hussein as a moderate and reasonable Arab leader continued right up until he invaded Kuwait in August 1990, documents show. When the then-U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, April Glaspie, met with Hussein on July 25, 1990, a week before the Iraqi attack on Kuwait, she assured him that Bush "wanted better and deeper relations," according to an Iraqi transcript of the conversation. "President Bush is an intelligent man," the ambassador told Hussein, referring to the father of the current president. "He is not going to declare an economic war against Iraq."

"Everybody was wrong in their assessment of Saddam," said Joe Wilson, Glaspie's former deputy at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, and the last U.S. official to meet with Hussein. "Everybody in the Arab world told us that the best way to deal with Saddam was to develop a set of economic and commercial relationships that would have the effect of moderating his behavior. History will demonstrate that this was a miscalculation."

My generation

My generation is being defined by tragedy before my very eyes.

9-11, Afghan and Iraq wars, bombings in England and Spain, Tsunami, and Katrina. The ways in which these tragedies are going to affect my generation, will probably be innumerable. I am sure that other generations have experienced similar things, but the past experiences of earlier generations do not matter to the present generation.

In my opinion, death is what devalues life. When there are very few deaths from any number of causes (disease, war, or accidents), death becomes the abnormal. This causes us to value life more dearly. Once death becomes common place, life becomes less valued. A couple more disasters and I am afraid that my generation might value life just a little less than the one before it.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Our own problem

The Iraqi Constitution post generated so many responses that I wanted to address it again. First, while I am not defending Saddam, you cannot hold him accountable for each death that occurred in his country while he was in office. Anyone that wants to attribute "4 million in mass graves" should provide some link to back that up. Also, let us not forget that the US helped put Saddam in power, and supported him throughout the 1980s, when all of these genocidal acts were occuring. America sold him most of his weapons. I also thought it was funny that Iraqis killed by American forces in Desert Storm were attributed to Saddam instead of the US. My main point is that we did not go to Iraq to "help people". No one talked about "moral authority" three years ago. We went to Iraq to find weapons of mass destruction (we found none) and shut down terrorist training camps (we found none of those either). We are now stuck in one of the most expensive wars in the history of our country, and have announced our intention to abandon any sense of international law. To blame any of this on the UN, the Iraqi people, or anyone but our own government is stupid.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Preparedness - Options

One of the underestimated advantages of being prepared is that preparedness it gives you options.

For example,

""What do you say, I'm a survivor," John Carolan says with a laugh, thinking of the reality TV show. "Hey, give me the million bucks now."

How long can Carolan and the others hold out?

Hackett has enough gas and food for a month. Carolan says they have weeks' worth of food and bug repellent, and he will siphon gas from left-behind cars to keep his electricity going.

"Everything we have is in our homes. With the lawlessness in this town, are you going to walk away from everything you built?" Carolan says. "A lot of people think we're stupid. They say, 'Why did you stay?' I say, 'Why didn't you stay?'""
(emphasis mine)

Well Carolan, let me attempt to answer that questions for you. At least some of the people were not able to stay because they were not prepared. Their only option was to leave when everyone else did. You on the other hand had options and you still have you house. Your neighbors should pay for the time you spent protecting their house while they were gone. My hat goes off to you and your neighbor Hackett


Monday, September 05, 2005

Food for thought

A friend brought up the question of what are they going to do if the refugees do not want to go back home. Are they going to force them to leave? What happens if the 10,000 people in the Huston dome say they like Texas better anyways?

The funniest thing I heard yesterday, was an reader emailed into fox news to request that fox stop calling the people displaced by the hurricane refugees. The definition of refugees is "one that flees; especially : a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution" according to the web version of Webster.


Sunday, September 04, 2005

Preparedness - Sun Oven II

In my earlier sun oven post, I described the basic use of the sun oven and some possible advantages.

It took me about an hour to build the cardboard base. It was a little harder than I thought, if you are going to build one from cardboard, I would suggest that you get the largest single piece you can, as it will aid the overall structure stability of you oven. It took me around 30 mins to duct tape the foil to my cardboard base. This is where you will find out if you built you oven strongly, because the foil adds a bit of weight. I would suggest handling the foil inside, in low light conditions, or with sunglasses on.

I placed my bowl of oatmeal on the oven at 1:55 pm. It jumped up to around 110 degrees Fahrenheit very quickly. I checked it a little before 4:00 pm and my oven was at a whooping 140 degrees Fahrenheit. I stopped my experiment around 5:00 having topped off around 145 degrees Fahrenheit. I tried it with a cover and without one and it did not seem to make much of a difference.

Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit and bringing water to a boil is adequate for disinfection. I believe form my limited tests that if you could bring large amounts of water to boil it could be very useful to have a large sun oven. I would consider a large amount of water a days supply for a person or an entire family. If you could do it for an entire family at once it could be very useful. In a permanent survival situation a child could be placed in charge of watching the water to see when it boiled and could go tell an adult. I do not think it would be much use for cooking because of the time involved. You would also have to live in an area with enough sunlight, which you can compensate for sunlight by using a larger area to collect the sunlight. Another advantage is that you can make many of them and sell them and novelty items or use them to barter with when necessary.


Friday, September 02, 2005

A comment from a friend

Angel said...
[My husband's] cousin was locked up in a hospital operating room last night. She is having a baby. Her, her husband and 4 year old daughter and others were shut inside with shot guns. People were trying to break in to steal meds and stuff. Most of the family is scared to go back. They are letting the heads os house go in and get stuff and then have to leave.


Playing the blame game

People have already started to blame bush. Funny, thing is that New Orleans had 40 plus years to prepare for this. Every single year it only became more and more likely that this would occur.

Have you seen the videos of people talking? Shepherd smith is asking people what they need they then say they need water, food, or a place to sleep. I understand that people where unable to get out, what I find funny is that those same people apparently have plenty of energy to wade through water to get out now.

Secondly, you knew there was a hurricane coming and you choose to stay, why didn't you run as much water and buy as much food as you possibly could. You can't even survive 4 days with our electricity or water when you have at least 4 days to prepare for it.

Tonight Bill O'Reily was complaining that the national guard should have been there day one. I guess they could have flown them though the tropical Strom that katrina became or maybe driven then on the same roads people were using to escape. Though the could have followed behind the storm, I still do not know how feasible that really is.

One lady was complaining that the meals she was being served at the superdome were cold. WTF. I know the situation in the superdome is bad, but a little street justice should solve that.



I went shopping for a place to donate. This blurb by Michelle Malkin sold me on mercy corps, where you can donate by credit card (big plus for me).

"I've donated to and am recommending Mercy Corps, which is teaming with Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) to meet the immediate and longer-term needs of people displaced from their homes in coastal Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. Mercy Corps consistently ranks as one of America's most effective and efficient charitable organizations. Last year, more than 92 percent of its resources went directly to programs serving people in need."


Other sites with links

Hurricane Katrina Update

Over at survival blog there is an "Hurricane Katrina Update"

Serach for "Hurricane Katrina Update (SAs: Disaster Preparedness, Disaster Relief, Lessons from Katrina)"

Some first hand accounts show that it may be getting worse as far as the looting is concerned.

1.) In New Orleans, looters are shooting at police stations, in one instance with a semi-auto AK-47. The looting is completely out of hand, and spreading.

2.) Jefferson Parish Louisiana Sheriff Harry Lee has issued a "shoot to kill" order.

3.) At the Super Dome (cum Relocation Center) there have been countless armed robberies, suicides, rapes, and three murders in the past 72 hours. Conditions are intolerable there (with no running water and no sanitation, so it has been ordered evacuated. Several thousand Super Dome evacuees are being bussed/trucked to the Houston Astro Dome. At least the electricity is working there...


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Preparedness - Sun Oven

As part of a wider preparedness strategy, you goal should be find new and novel ways of doing things outside the normal trappings of your comfortable life. In the most extreme preparedness situations, you are going to be with out power and fuel (gas, diesel, wood) could be limited or useless...Or....In a long term survival siuation where you were completely prepared, you might want to ration your stored fuel in an efficient manner.

Sunovens hold some promise from what I have read. I know the dialogue concerning sunovens is controlled by the radical environmentalist, but as a student of the preparedness doctrine you should evaluate all options, even if the ideas come from people you think are crazier than you.

Sunovens could play a role in a permanent survival situation by reducing the need for electricity to purify water and other cooking chores. I doubt they would be of much use to the freedom fighter, the person in the midst of a temporary disturbance, or a person in an unstable situation. They require a time to build and use on a large scale, which if you were in a permanent stable survival situation you might just have to time to attempt such a project.

For my introduction I have chosen a simple model to build and test. Presently my resources are limited. I do not have a workshop to attempt to build a large one, so I have chosen a simple small sample to test.

I do not have a protractor so I am going to wing it from the picture. I also have no glue, so I will see how it works with the items I have (duct tape). I will build it, test it, and report.


Other sunoven links:
Principles of Solar Box Cooker Design

NOTE: There are much more efficient designs than the one I am building. I would think it wise to store large amounts of plans and directions in your future retreat, so that you will have a information store to use when you have the time.

Why I carry a gun

Source: "He [a godforsaken pimp who sent his boyz to beat up a woman after gettin dissed] got mad. That's about when the videotape begins, with an unidentified narrator saying the young woman in the car had "ratted out" local gang members [not true]. A mob begins jumping on top of the car and beating at the windows. Within minutes, the young woman is assaulted by several people as she sits in the car trying to defend herself. Her attackers rip at her hair and punch her face and body. Some of her clothes are torn off.

She is then pulled from the car and beaten on the ground by at least 12 people. The video ends with the narrator saying the woman was "fighting for her life." [The woman lived and came forward after seeing the tape on the news, but the assialants have not been caught] "

Last Entry


Should it be rebuilt?

Blake over at Nashville files as the question I was asking myself this morning: Should it be rebuilt?

I fall on the side of let it go. I am not saying do not help the families affected (they are just going to end up on welfare anyways), because they need help. I am just not sure we should help them rebuild in the same spot their house just got destroyed. There are not many upsides to rebuilding in this case.

Maybe parts of New Orleans could be rebuilt, the part that did not get flooded. Maybe a partial rebuilding could occur? Leave the most dangerous areas alone and use them as a buffer zone against future storms. I am sure some rebuilding will occur, but we could also use this opportunity to restructure the surrounding area to better protect it from future storms.


Link round up from what i have read

Looting Solutions

Katrina Disaster Continues in Slow Motion, and It Is Teaching Us Lessons

The Democratic Underground Thread Of The Day: Pro-Looting Liberals



Scenarios of possible terror strikes read like doomsday plan

Democratic Underground: Let the People Loot!