Saturday, April 05, 2003

When should we declare victory? (analysis)
...it is crucial for allied forces to find the weapons of mass destruction that Britain and the United States insist the Iraqi government has hidden away. Failure would not only make Mr. Bush and his British ally, Tony Blair, look a little foolish..., but it would also leave the lingering possibility that the weapons were smuggled out of Iraq...
Economic news bad and getting worse
Concerns mount that U.S. headed into second recession in two years.

Friday, April 04, 2003

'Who is the enemy here?
What happens when a government attempts to paint dissidence as treason?
Republicans revive Alaska oil drilling plan in House
Citing as justification 'this country needs oil,' House GOP members assail Alaska wildlife refuge again.
France, Germany and Russia want role in rebuilding Iraq
Commented French Foreign Minister, 'No country or countries can hope to win the war alone. Nobody can hope to build peace alone.'
The German blame for the war
Could this war have been prevented? Yes, say some [inspectors]. But with a surprising argument: Germany, France and Russia made war unavoidable with their purported peace politics. Read this German blogger's traslation of an article from Die Zeit.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

US plans reconstruction with UN money, but not help
After the war, some administration officials appear to believe they can impose this scheme over the protests of allies but still count on U.N. humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping contributions that would allow an early withdrawal of most U.S. troops.
Pentagon, not State would be in the lead.
A worried president
Aides say he believes history and heaven will judge him by his ability to prevent [another terrorist attack]....Still, even some of Bush's allies say privately that they wish the president would be a little less certain and more willing to reassess decisions... He's being hard on himself; he gave up sweets just before the war began.
"The more he sees people around him questioning him, the more he knows to hold the course," said a friend.
Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical
Why hasn't the United States found chemical or biological weapons in Iraq? The NYTimes answers your questions, with references to the Council on Foreign Relations.
We may use tear gas there. Use in a battlefield may or may not be a violation of the convention on chemical weapons. (Commentary: Iraqis may have memories of their own experiences with gas.)
Overtime for white-collar professionals: 40 hour work week in question
The Fair Labor Standards Act is changing: In essence, the government recognizes that workers are not being paid what they are owed and has decided that the easiest remedy is to change the law to let employers off the hook.
Employers now required to pay some workers overtime would be able to offer paid time off instead under legislation a House panel approved Thursday.
More than 650,000 managers, executives and other white-collar professionals will lose their overtime.
Iraqi crowd calls for supplies
"Democracy," the man said, his voice rising to lift each word to greater prominence. "Whiskey. And sexy!"... The people in the crowd had a more urgent request than liquor. They wanted water.
Tax plan takes its toll
The House plan offers the well-to-do $1.4 trillion in tax cuts, while demanding billions of dollars in cuts from programs that provide food stamps, school lunches, health care for the poor and the disabled, temporary assistance to needy families — even veterans' benefits and student loans. Some are calling for a compromise cut of just $350 billion.
Hunter S. Thompson on basketball, love, and war
'This is not going to be like Daddy's War, old sport... That is the dark silver lining in this blood-spattered cloud we have brought down on ourselves, and it leaves a lot to be desired.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Apparently, it's a holy war.
Arab volunteers go to Iraq; Indian papers and politicians come out more strongly against the war.
Tax cuts don't pay for themselves
The Congressional Budget Office has run the numbers through nine models, and in no case does Mr. Bush's tax cut come close to paying for itself over the next 10 years. (Original WSJ article; the CBO study)
Worrisome budget thoughts
From the Brookings institution says: The Administration does pay lip service to the goal of cutting the deficit, but the words are hollow. The Administration's own estimates show that its tax cuts will generate permanent, increasing deficits and an unsustainable budget path. (And the first round of cuts were problematic, too.)
Troops asked to pray for president
Enclosed with the pamphlet is a tear-out card "to be mailed to the White House pledging the soldier who sends it in has been praying for Bush." (Another source, and the brochure.)
Military softens stance on gays during wartime
the overall trend seems to be to quietly use highly trained gay service people in times of need, only to discharge them when it's more convenient (commentary). But it's during wartime that unit cohesion is most important.
Rumsfled on Kosovo and Iraq
1999: "There is always a risk in gradualism..." former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said. ".. it doesn't ... shock and awe and alter the calculations of the people you're dealing with."
2003: Rumsfeld: It is not helpful to have those kind of comments come out when we've got troops in combat, because, first of all, they're false, they're absolutely wrong, they bear no resemblance to the truth, and it's just harmful to our troops. . . .

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Who will profit from the war?
It may not be who you think. Sending an army halfway round the world is expensive... This is good business, but not for giant defence contractors.'
The battle at Diwaniya
'The man said the local militia forced civilians to fight the Americans. He said they were told their families would be killed if they didn't comply. And they were told that once the Americans left that the Baath Party and militia would return for revenge.'
Prince Saud Al-Faisal urges Saddam towards 'war ending sacrifice'
'Since Saddam has asked his people to sacrifice for the country... he should be the first to sacrifice for his country,” the prince said in an interview with ABC News, aired late Monday.'
Military analysts assess Rumsfeld war strategy
...nearly two weeks of war with Iraq, a chorus of critics have charged that Mr. Rumsfeld's principles have been applied and found wanting in Iraq.
Powell heads to Europe
Powell, facing uncertain reception, sites purpose of visit is to discuss aid and support for rebuilding Iraq after the war.
Human Rights lacking in the coalition of the willing
Powell announced the 2002 Human Rights Reports. It's worth double-checking against the coalition of nations to free Iraq and help install democracy. Uzbekistan. Ethiopia. Eritrea. Georgia. Azerbaijan.

Monday, March 31, 2003

A peace worth having
One individual's reflections on 'freedom and democracy' in the Middle East, and their feelings on sacrificing American lives for it.
Iraqi troops use fleeing families as human shied
'Civilians are afraid to leave their houses because police wearing civilian clothes form patrols with fedayeen,' said Nathim Jaber, 34, a fleeing oil industry worker. 'They find people, give them a weapon and force them to fight.'
Will war spread to Syria?
Colin Powell: 'Syria can continue direct support for terrorist groups in the dying regime of Saddam Hussein or it can embark on a different and more hopeful course. Either way Syria bears the responsibility for its actions and for their consequences.'

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Mistaking civilians for soldiers
With plain-clothed soldiers hiding among the towns, it's too easy to make mistakes. "We dropped a few civilians," Sergeant Schrumpf said, "but what do you do?"
War allows Bush to expand powers
"What we're really worried about here is something being proposed while all eyes are on Iraq. People are whipped up into a frenzy. The executive will propose what, at a certain time, it thinks it can get away with." And some of those powers are rather startling. (A more detailed report),
Planning conflicts hurt the war effort
Rumsfeld insisted at least six times in the run-up to the conflict that the proposed number of ground troops be sharply reduced and got his way. (And, it seems, they didn't tell the president: Dissenting views "were not fully or energetically communicated to the president." The prince "ought to be a constant inquirer, and afterwards a patient listener concerning the things of which he inquired"--Machiavelli, and more modern commentary.)
Fears of terrorism in the workplace sap productivity
'Concern leads to stress and that impacts productivity, so employers have to take a look at this.'
Recession fears mount
Concern is deepening in US financial circles about the prospect of the Iraq war getting bogged down and bloodier, sapping confidence and tipping the US economy towards recession.
Suicide bombers from Lebanon arrive in Iraq
Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan said such attacks would become 'routine military policy.'
Two U.S. Soldiers killed in renewed fighting in Afganistan
Taliban loyalists hiding in neighboring Pakistan said training camps were established in the Afghan mountains and anti-American forces had united. They warned of stepped-up attacks once the war in Iraq began.
Iraqi suicide bombings raise key issue: Who's a civilian?
'It's a shame they are doing that because now we're going to have to treat every civilian vehicle like it is hostile,' said Staff Sgt. Bryce Ivings of Sarasota, Fla.
Lessons of Lebanon
Striking parallels between current U.S. action in Iraq and Israel's invasion of Lebanon nearly 20 years ago offer postwar lessons. (commentary)