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November 28, 2004

More info on Fallujah

The Blogosphere Truth Squad has links to an interesting slide show prepared by a Marine Effects Exploitation Team with pictures of what they found in Fallujah. (Hat tip to INDC Journal.)

November 28, 2004 at 02:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Anatomy of a Fraud

Details on how the vote was fixed in the Ukraine, from today's UK Telegraph.

November 28, 2004 at 12:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bad sushi or Soviet-era dirty tricks?

I'm betting it wasn't the sushi. I've never seen anyone look like this after scarfing down some over-ripe uni. (Scroll down to see the before and after shots.)

November 28, 2004 at 02:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 27, 2004

The Real Face of the Iraqi Insurgency

Over the last eight days, Coalition forces have discovered 65 bodies of Iraqis killed, execution-style, in Mosul. More than 20 of those killed have been identified as members of the Iraqi security forces, who were murdered because of their support for the interim Iraqi government.

As in South Vietnam, Algeria, and most other insurgencies, terrorizing supporters of the existing government is a key goal of the rebels. Unfortunately, this fact is overshadowed (at least in the foreign press), by the easier-to-cover stories about combat with American or other counter-insurgent forces. Thus the insurgents gain an international image as fighting against foreign oppression and occupation. Their ruthless murders of domestic rivals remain obscured.

While it is easy to blame the media for this imbalanced perception of the reality on the ground, it is not entirely fair. It is hard to locate family members of the murdered loyalists who are willing to speak up, for fear of reprisals by the insurgents. Similarly, it is very easy to interview family members or comrades of US soldiers killed or wounded in battle or to describe the physical carnage on the battlefield. Not surprisingly, the true human dimensions of the conflict remain hidden.

November 27, 2004 at 02:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 24, 2004

Zarqawi under pressure?

Bloomberg's Caroline Alexander reports from London that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has posted statements on several Islamist web sites complaining that Iraq's Sunni religious leaders have abandoned jihad.

``You have betrayed us in the darkest circumstances,'' said a statement posted on the Internet. ``You have left the mujahadeen alone to confront the biggest enemy.''
Good! Now who will be the lucky Iraqi that steps up and collects the $25 million reward for delivering Zarqawi's head on a platter?

November 24, 2004 at 12:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 23, 2004

Death in Fallujah

The BBC's Paul Wood describes his experiences embedded with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment in Fallujah. Here is an excerpt:

Just before dawn, Alpha Company blew a large hole in an outer wall, and entered the police station right in the heart of Falluja.

It was still pretty quiet then but as the sun rose the marines found themselves surrounded and under attack from all sides.

Lt Malcolm's squad went up on to the highest roof top they could find - but not higher than the two minarets on either side with snipers.

There was a wall about 40cm (16in) tall for cover. Everyone tried to get close to it while bullets skipped across the paving stones.

When he heard his men were in trouble - the men he'd been giving chess tips just the day before - Lt Malcolm came to get them.

As he ran onto the roof, one of the sniper's bullets hit his helmet, bouncing off.

He kept going, and did not leave until he had shepherded all his men down.

He was killed by the second bullet. It got him in the back, just below the flak jacket, as he jumped down the stairwell.

He must have thought he was home free.

November 23, 2004 at 11:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How did Iraqi troops do in Falluja?

The LAT's Patrick McDonnell is generally upbeat about their performance, but lots of work remains to be done before they can fully protect Iraq.

November 23, 2004 at 11:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Quote of the Day: Our Friends, the Wahabbis

"They act according to their own religious edict: If you kill a Shiite, you go to paradise."
-  Assad Qassim, Iraqi taxi driver on Sunni roadblocks South of Baghdad
From a typically insightful Anthony Shadid piece in today's WaPo.

Saudi Arabia and its religious leaders have a lot to answer for in spreading this poisonous version of Islam throughout the world.

November 23, 2004 at 09:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The cameraman from Fallujah speaks out

The freelance cameraman/reporter on assignment for NBC who captured the footage of the Marine killing the wounded Iraqi has broken his silence about the incident. Today's UK Guardian reprints some of his comments about the incident from his website.

The cameraman, Kevin Sites, wrote his explanation as an open letter to the Marines of the 3rd Battalion 1st Marine Division with whom he had been embedded.

It is worthwhile to read Mr. Site's statement in full. It is clear that he has been emotionally torn by the incident and feels a deep sense of responsibility to the honorable Marines that he has lived with throughout the Fallujah engagement. Here is his conclusion:

I interviewed your Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Willy Buhl, before the battle for Falluja began. He said something very powerful at the time-something that now seems prophetic. It was this:

"We're the good guys. We are Americans. We are fighting a gentleman's war here -- because we don't behead people, we don't come down to the same level of the people we're combating. That's a very difficult thing for a young 18-year-old Marine who's been trained to locate, close with and destroy the enemy with fire and close combat. That's a very difficult thing for a 42-year-old lieutenant colonel with 23 years experience in the service who was trained to do the same thing once upon a time, and who now has a thousand-plus men to lead, guide, coach, mentor -- and ensure we remain the good guys and keep the moral high ground."

I listened carefully when he said those words. I believed them.

So here, ultimately, is how it all plays out: when the Iraqi man in the mosque posed a threat, he was your enemy; when he was subdued he was your responsibility; when he was killed in front of my eyes and my camera -- the story of his death became my responsibility.

The burdens of war, as you so well know, are unforgiving for all of us.

I pray for your soon and safe return.


Wretchard, from the Belmont Club, has a couple of excellent posts about Kevin Sites' statement. As the blogosphere's Fallujah expert, I should have known that he would have something valuable to say on the subject.

November 23, 2004 at 02:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 22, 2004

They don't call it liberal arts for nothing

I have been remiss in failing to remark upon this recent NYT article by John Tierney reporting on a recent study documenting the sad truth that American colleges and university faculties have about as much ideological diversity as Brezhnev's Politburo.

One of the studies, a national survey of more than 1,000 academics, shows that Democratic professors outnumber Republicans by at least seven to one in the humanities and social sciences. That ratio is more than twice as lopsided as it was three decades ago, and it seems quite likely to keep increasing, because the younger faculty members are more consistently Democratic than the ones nearing retirement, said Daniel Klein, an associate professor of economics at Santa Clara University and a co-author of the study.
Some links for further study: Personally, I think affirmative action for conservatives in the social sciences would be an excellent idea; if only to bring back real debate and exchange of ideas on campus.

November 22, 2004 at 01:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack