Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

Iraqi vs American Lives: Comparing Relative Value of Lives Lost

April 28, 2012 2 comments

Are American lives the only lives that are of value? The most valuable? Do the deaths of other peoples, count? At all …

After 100 years of malintent towards the Islamic world, what does the US expect? Milk of human kindness from Pakistan?  |  Cartoon by Daryl Cagle; source and courtesy - msnbc.msn.com  |  Click for image.

After 100 years of mal-intentions towards the Islamic world, what does the US expect? Milk of human kindness from Pakistan? | Cartoon by Daryl Cagle; source and courtesy – msnbc.msn.com | Click for image.

Rhetoric apart

Is there is a difference in the value of a life?

Is an African life less valuable than an Asian life? Is a European life worth more than an Asian life? Are South American lives of no consequence, compared to US lives?

It appears so!

Lives less valuable

Thirty years after the Vietnam war ended, and forty years after the Vietnam war became serious, American media counts only 60,000 Americans killed. American media conveniently glosses over the 20 lakhs Vietnamese killed.

US soldiers trying to prop up the house of cards that Bush made  |  Cartoon by Clay Bennett; taking off on the iconic Joe Rosenthal’s Iwo Jima Pulitzer Prize photograph taken on February 23, 1945, of US Marines raising the US flag  |  Click for image.

US soldiers trying to prop up the house of cards that Bush made | Cartoon by Clay Bennett; taking off on the iconic Joe Rosenthal’s Iwo Jima Pulitzer Prize photograph taken on February 23, 1945, of US Marines raising the US flag | Click for image.

In Iraq, after 10 lakh dead Iraqis, the US Empire counts, its’ own less than 5000 dead.

Below is an excerpt from an interview with George Bush Jr., and Oprah Winfrey. Both Bush and Oprah talk of only the American dead.

What of the Iraqis? Libyans? Or the Viets!

Vietnam, Iraq or Libya did not invade USA.

As the invader, the responsibility of all killings and deaths in the war is with USA.

Although weapons of mass destruction were never found, President Bush says inspectors reported that Hussein was still very dangerous. “We may not have found the vials, but he had the capacity to make weapons,” he says. “The point I make is that Saddam Hussein in power today would mean the world would be less stable and more dangerous, and 25 million Iraqis would be living under the thumb of a brutal, ruthless dictator. My point is the world’s better with him gone.”

In 2007, President Bush made another controversial decision and ordered the deployment of more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq. Since the war began, 4,421 U.S. soldiers have lost their lives—a fact the former commander in chief says weighs on him.

“It weighs heavily because I know that the decision I made disrupted somebody’s life in a big way,” he says. “It would weigh more heavily on me, however, if I had cared more about my political standing and less about completing the mission.” (via President George W. Bush Talks About the Iraq War – Oprah.com).

For the last 30 years, US has been placing zero value on Afghan lives - starting with President Reagan  |  Cartoonist Kevin Siers / The Charlotte Observer (March 20, 2012); source: McClatchy   |  Click for image.

For the last 30 years, US has been placing zero value on Afghan lives – starting with President Reagan | Cartoonist Kevin Siers / The Charlotte Observer (March 20, 2012); source: McClatchy | Click for image.

Invasion of Iraq and Libya would have been justifiable if killings were to lessen.

Measured by numbers of people killed, Saddam and Gaddafi killed fewer people than the wars initiated by Pax Americana.


Media Role In Iraq War

September 26, 2011 2 comments

Looking at images of how US media presented the Iraq case to the US people.

Cartoonist Clay Bennett makes a case for leaders to take a polygraph test on the Iraq war. (Cartoon title - State of the Union Address; by Clay Bennett, for Chattanooga Times Free Press - dated 08/25/2003; source and courtesy - i78.servimg.com.org). Click for larger image.

Cartoonist Clay Bennett makes a case for leaders to take a polygraph test on the Iraq war. (Cartoon title - State of the Union Address; by Clay Bennett, for Chattanooga Times Free Press - dated 08/25/2003; source and courtesy - i78.servimg.com.org). Click for larger image.

American Triumphalism. (Michael Ramirez cartoon; dated 17th Dec. 2003; source and courtesy - cagle.com). Click for larger image.

American Triumphalism. (Michael Ramirez cartoon; dated 17th Dec. 2003; source and courtesy - cagle.com). Click for larger image.

The text on the printout reads,

“The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

A statement presumably made by GW Bush Jr. in his State Of Union address.

On the other hand, France was pilloried by cartoonist Michael Ramirez.

Reluctant to join the anti-Iraq alliance, France did not see any big contracts coming their way.

The same oil that the anti-Iraq alliance, led by the USA, was gunning for.

France looking at the Iraq war through oil-glasses. (Cartoon by Michael Ramirez, dated 28 Jan, 2003; source and courtesy - cagle.com). Click for larger image.

France looking at the Iraq war through oil-glasses. (Cartoon by Michael Ramirez, dated 28 Jan, 2003; source and courtesy - cagle.com). Click for larger image.

The Taking of Iraq

September 19, 2011 1 comment

Iraqis discovered America’s meaning of War on Terror. Your life and your oil seems to be Desert Bloc style of warfare.

Some in the Free Press of the Free World, jumped head first into painting Saddam as the devil. (Cartoon by Bill Day, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee; source and courtesy - cagle.com). Click for larger image.

Some in the Free Press of the Free World, jumped head first into painting Saddam as the devil. (Cartoon by Bill Day, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee; source and courtesy - cagle.com). Click for larger image.

Saddam’s atrocities

Western sources have documented and estimated Saddam’s atrocities cost to nearly 600,000 Iraqi deaths. The most commonly used link leads to the Stanford University. A small web page belonging to Stanford University.

Turns out that Stanford was relying on data by a group called gbn.org. What do we get at gbn.org. A brick wall. A dead-end. No website. The Stanford University link, is a dead link. A who.is search tell us that gbn.org is an inactive website.

Faux Stanford

The citation mentions unnamed ‘other human rights organizations’ and The Documental Centre for Human Rights in Iraq. A google-search on nytimes.com reveals no such report in nytimes.com.

The same Saddam was a 'friend' of the US, till April Glaspie misunderstood him, till he was fighting a war with Iran. (Cartoon by Michael Ramirez; source and courtesy cagle.com). Click for larger image.

The same Saddam was a 'friend' of the US, till April Glaspie misunderstood him, till he was fighting a war with Iran. (Cartoon by Michael Ramirez; source and courtesy cagle.com). Click for larger image.

After hours of trawling the net, there is one report of such a centre – from theage.com.au, Australia. But the centre is based in Iran – specializing in human-rights’ records of Iraq.

Digging deeper

Between the new power-grabbers which controlled the Iraqi prosecution and the US, they could pin 50,000 ‘deaths’ on Saddam Hussein. Not that 50,000 is less, but 50,000 too many.

Max van der Stoel, the Dutch diplomat appointed by the UN to investigate and deal with Iraq, who released a dozen reports in 8 years, closed the issue at ‘thousands of people were in danger of being executed’ as reported by nytimes.com.

Clay Bennet's exceptional cartoon, dated Friday, October 8, 2004; illustrated the complete bankruptcy of the war. (Cartoon by Clay Bennett; source and courtesy  - ditorialcartoonists.org). Click for larger image.

Clay Bennet's exceptional cartoon, dated Friday, October 8, 2004; illustrated the complete bankruptcy of the war. (Cartoon by Clay Bennett; source and courtesy - editorialcartoonists.org). Click for larger image.

Was the number of victims in a few thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, we are not told. And it is Stoel’s reports that GW Bush officially used to justify invasion of Iraq. Google search does deteriorate with age. Maybe I was unable to use the correct keywords.

Anyone? With any links to a report quantifying Saddam Hussein’s atrocities.

Shopping With Iraq’s $1.2 Trillion – What It Can Buy For The US

September 18, 2011 Leave a comment
Iraq was for US; Libya is for Europe. Spoils of War (Cartoon by Dave Brown; publication date - 26 August 2011; source - independent.co.uk). Click for larger image.

Iraq was for US; Libya is for Europe. Spoils of War (Cartoon by Dave Brown; publication date - 26 August 2011; source - independent.co.uk). Click for larger image.

Whatever number you use for the war’s total cost, it will tower over costs that normally seem prohibitive. Right now, including everything, the war is costing about $200 billion a year.

Treating heart disease and diabetes, by contrast, would probably cost about $50 billion a year. The remaining 9/11 Commission recommendations — held up in Congress partly because of their cost — might cost somewhat less. Universal preschool would be $35 billion. In Afghanistan, $10 billion could make a real difference. At the National Cancer Institute, annual budget is about $6 billion.

“This war has skewed our thinking about resources,” said Mr. Wallsten, a senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a conservative-leaning research group. “In the context of the war, $20 billion is nothing.”

As it happens, $20 billion is not a bad ballpark estimate for the added cost of Mr. Bush’s planned surge in troops. By itself, of course, that price tag doesn’t mean the surge is a bad idea. If it offers the best chance to stabilize Iraq, then it may well be the right option.

But the standard shouldn’t simply be whether a surge is better than the most popular alternative — a far-less-expensive political strategy that includes getting tough with the Iraqi government. The standard should be whether the surge would be better than the political strategy plus whatever else might be accomplished with the $20 billion.

This time, it would be nice to have that discussion before the troops reach Iraq. (via What $1.2 Trillion Can Buy – NYTimes.com).

Talk is not cheap

Discussion with whom, David?

I presume, not with the invadee nation? In this case, the Iraqi people. You are justifying discussions in the US Congress, between US political parties, by US bureaucrats, with the US President …

Right?

About the future of other people. People who have nothing to do with the US. In this case the Iraqi people.

Grave robbers

Coming to cost of this war. The primary education, the higher education, the medical research that you want funds for, will come from the graves of the Iraqi people. Like the Nordhaus report that you refer to, says,

Iraq’s oil resources could satisfy current U.S. oil imports for almost a century.

So, this money you want for primary or higher education, for medical research will come directly as a result of the nearly 1 million undocumented and estimated Iraqis dead or the documented 100,000 Iraqis dead. The number does not matter, because they are both huge numbers.

Or is it that Iraqis don’t count?

Altar of bones

I do hope that this education and this medical research benefits Americans. Otherwise, what would you tell those Iraqis who died? That they died in vain? That no one befitted from their death?

We cant have that, can we?

Pax Americana handles criticism

`Crowley was not even dissenting - unlike Bradley Manning? (Image courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com; cartoonist Matt Wuerker). Click for larger image.

Crowley was not even dissenting - unlike Bradley Manning? (Image courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com; cartoonist Matt Wuerker). Click for larger image.

The official spokesman at the US State Department, PJ Crowley, resigned. His

resignation followed Crowley’s remarks to an MIT seminar last week about Manning’s treatment in military prison.

Crowley had said: “What is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the department of defence.”

Glenn Greenwald, a Salon reporter who has been outspoken about Manning’s detention, tweeted that “detainee abuse is allowed, speaking out against it isn’t”.

Last week, Manning gave his own account of how he is being held, saying that it was harsh treatment designed to punish him even before he was put on trial. He said he was stripped naked every night after he made a sarcastic comment to guards about the absurdity of the regime he was under.

Manning has been charged with multiple counts relating to the leaking of thousands of secret US embassy cables, as well as videos and warlogs from Afghanistan and Iraq.(via PJ Crowley Resigns After Remarks Bashing Bradley Manning’s Detention, Ed Pilkington, The Guardian, March 13, 2011).

What is the real story …

Crowley was not a critic – or even dissenting. He was an establishment man – concerned that Manning’s treatment may ‘impact on global standing and leadership’ of Pax Americana. Was this display of power more important than the display of ‘freedom’?

Intriguing.

The G20 lacks legitimacy

Obama's media management 

The spirit of the Congress of Vienna, where great powers assembled to effectively govern the world, has no place in the contemporary international community. The G20 is sorely lacking in legitimacy and must change. 

A number of countries that have been central to international cooperation in the past, including Norway and the Nordic countries, are excluded from direct membership. Low-income countries and the continent of Africa are almost entirely without the needed representation. 

As the response to the financial crisis showed, there is value in having an effective, smaller forum of nations, equipped to act quickly when necessary. But, within that framework, there are simple ways to make the G20 more representative of the world it influences. (via The G20 lacks legitimacy). 

It is every man for himself

Caught in a vicious downward spiral, Europe is at a loss. Britain is moaning about the demise of its special relationship with the USA. Sarkozy is off to the US, to mend fences with the Americans. At Copenhagen, while the BASIC countries were negotiating a ‘deal’ with the USA, European countries were sitting out. Waiting for the Big Boys to finish their talks. Japan, China, Korea – along with the USA and India are meeting at Seoul in June to create a strategic oil reserve, against possible supply shocks. To be shuttered out like this, is an unfamiliar experience to Europe. 

The Norwegian appeal for inclusion in G20 is to be seen in light of the above reality. 

That man with a tan – Obama

Obama has been stressing that EU needs to get its act together and speak in a common voice. The days when 6-12 European countries walked onto centre-stage, are over, seemingly. And Norway is one such victim of the changed circumstances. 

The Greek crisis is stressing the weak links between European States. A ‘suspected’ withdrawal by Germany from the EMU would devastate Europe – and EU. Should the EU collapse, the Nordic countries would be shut out from many global forum. 

And it is this fear that fuels Norway’s plea for G20 membership!. 

In the doghouse

After a Nobel .. a grateful Obama was the least that Europe expected ...

After a Nobel .. a grateful Obama was the least that Europe expected ...

 

But it was not Obama who put European principalities (Norway, ruled by a king, is too small to be called country) in the doghouse. It started when George Bush railroaded Europe into Iraq and Afghanistan. And excluded the habitual European attendees from G20 – like Norway. 

On Dec 10th, 2009, President Barack Obama landed in Oslo, to receive the Nobel Peace Prize – an annual ‘price’ that is 

“decided by a secretive five-strong committee appointed by the Norwegian parliament. All current members are former politicians drawn from Norway’s four biggest parties. It is chaired by Thorbjørn Jagland, a former Norwegian prime minister.” 

It was noted that

“Worldwide astonishment greeted the decision yesterday to give Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize. The U.S. President has been in office for less than nine months, has yet to score a major foreign policy success. He had not even known he was among the record 205 nominations. The deadline for submitting candidates had come just 12 days after he entered the White House.” 

At the airport, he was welcomed by the “Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Kaci Kullmann Five, deputy chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.” In his acceptance speech, Obama admitted that maybe there were “more deserving” candidates. Was the Nobel price in anticipation of a Nordic inclusion in G20? For turning a more benign American eye towards Europe? 

Norway raised its claim for G20 membership, the Financial Times wrote 

a month before Barack Obama, the US president, visits Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.  Jonas Gahr Store proposed that members of the Nordic Council – Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland – could share a rotating seat together with the Baltic states and possibly Poland. 

Spain and the Netherlands have managed to secure invitations to all three summits since the financial crisis without being official members. But others such as Poland, Belgium and the Nordic countries have been excluded. 

So much for Norway’s Nobel price. 

The legitimacy of G20

Jonas Gahr Støre is stressing about the ‘legitimacy’ of the G20 group. If the G20 is indeed illegitimate, then in that case, Shri Støre, you should ask for disbanding the G20! Not make a desperate plea for inclusion into the G20. Will an illegitimate forum become legitimate by Nordic Norway’s inclusion? 

That reminds me. Norway was one of the ‘moving’ spirits’ behind the Copenhagen Circus on climate change. This Copenhagen Circus sought to impose a rule of Western NGOs on poor countries of the world.  Faceless NGOs, without accountability to anyone, were able to bring global political leadership, to the very brink of an agreement. How legitimate was that Shri Støre? 

Støre’s logic somehow escapes me. 

Norway- One Great Power

Media is falling over themselves - courting Obama

Media is falling over themselves - courting Obama

 

Shri Støre invokes the hoary spirit of the “Congress of Vienna, where great powers assembled to effectively govern the world” . Now, by what logic do ‘Great Powers’ derive legitimacy to govern the world? By Norway’s inclusion? 

Shri Jonas Gahr Støre has sent out copies of the same PR material, to Malaysia (published in the New Straits Times), in Canada (published in the Ottawa Citizen), and in the (as per the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway) in The Straits Times (Manila, the Philippines), 6 April 2010 – Al Hayat, 7 April 2010. 

Norway’s economy

God has been kind to Norway! Instead of thanking God for His kindness, for underground  wealth – and for natural beauty above the ground. Instead, Norway wants to be ‘recognized’ as a ‘Great Power’! 

Norway’s claim to fame is oil. Some 12%-15% of Norway’s  GDP is oil. A significant part of Norway’s wealth is “raw products mined and processed in Norway include iron ore, lead concentrates, titanium, iron pyrites, coal, zinc, and copper.” Is Norway’s claim to be a ‘Great Power” based on something buried underground! 

15% of Norway’s GDP is Tourism! With more than 1,1oo hotels and nearly 1,000 registered campsites, with picturesque coastline and fjords plus a number of well-known ski resorts. By the way, Norway’s population is about 45 lakhs – 4.5 million. 

Manufacturing accounts for an awesome, jaw-dropping 1 percent of Norway’s annual GDP. 

The world must listen to

Norway’s population is lesser than Haiti! If there is one country that the world needs to hear clearly and audibly, it is Haiti. Compared to Norway, Haiti has a far superior claim to be a Great Power. Single-handedly responsible for forcing the West to abandon slavery, Haiti has been a victim of Western vindictiveness. It is time that the world listened to Haiti. And for Norway to keep quiet! 

And be grateful to God!

U.S. Leads World In Foreign Weapons Sales – Report – NYTimes.com

September 8, 2009 Leave a comment

Citing a congressional study released on Friday, the Times said the United States was involved in 68.4 percent of the global sales of arms.

U.S. weapons sales jumped nearly 50 percent in 2008 despite the global economic recession to $37.8 billion from $25.4 billion the year before.

The jump defied worldwide trends as global arms sales fell 7.6 percent to $55.2 billion in 2008, the report said. Global weapons agreements were at their lowest level since 2005. (via U.S. Leads World In Foreign Weapons Sales – Report – NYTimes.com).

Can you stop me ...

Can you stop me ...

US in the Post WW2 world

In South East Asia from 1950-1975, Israel from the 1960 onwards and now in Iraq, Afghanistan, the US has been the in the middle of most expensive conflicts (measured in terms of lives lost) in post WW2 world.

This model of international relations is something that needs to change. The poor in this world has not become much safer, seen more democratic or significantly more richer. What justification does this policy have – apart from “I have muscles and can you stop me from flexing them” logic?

Gold – a non-military solution

As I see it, there are two simple solutions. One – everyone who disagrees with (or even if  you are worried about the economic consequences of) the US foreign policy should go out and buy gold. This will surely trigger a collapse of the US dollar. Just a 100,000 people buying a 100gm of of gold in the next 1 year will trigger the dollar collapse.

Drill for oil

The second solution will need more time and will need co-operation foron the BRIC Governments. The BRIC Governments must go out and drill oil wells all over the developing world. The collapse in oil prices will remove the petro-dollar funding of the US and simultaneously eliminate /reduce the trade deficit of the developing world.

Reclaiming America’s Soul – NYTimes.com

April 29, 2009 1 comment

For the fact is that officials in the Bush administration instituted torture as a policy, misled the nation into a war they wanted to fight and, probably, tortured people in the attempt to extract “confessions” that would justify that war. And during the march to war, most of the political and media establishment looked the other way.

It’s hard, then, not to be cynical when some of the people who should have spoken out against what was happening, but didn’t, now declare that we should forget the whole era — for the sake of the country, of course. (via Op-Ed Columnist – Reclaiming America’s Soul – NYTimes.com).

Paul Krugman in his true and real colours

I liked this Op-Ed peice by Paul Krugman. It shows him in his best colours – as a hypocrite, psuedo-moralist, with patently false concerns.

His concern is about the use of torture or 3rd degree methods, in a nation that “used to be, a nation of moral ideals”. He wants to do this “not just for the sake of our position in the world, but for the sake of our own national conscience”.

Much before the elections it was clear that all the three candidates were on the same side. Their wrangling was all a wrangling for the spoils of power.

A simple question?

Who exactly did the US of A use torture against? Reading Krugman, you cannot ever make-out that the victims were NOT American citizens.

Squeamish, or evasive? Or just a plain affliction of false delicacy? Krugman, you are not being escapist, are you? No “I” word at all. God forbid, but Krugman does not mention, not once – Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Islam, Muslim. Not even once. Good fer ya, Paul!

Krugman signing off …

what we really should do for the sake of the country is have investigations both of torture and of the march to war. These investigations should, where appropriate, be followed by prosecutions — not out of vindictiveness, but because this is a nation of laws. We need to do this for the sake of our future. For this isn’t about looking backward, it’s about looking forward — because it’s about reclaiming America’s soul.

Says Krugman!

I dont know much about ‘investigations,’ ‘America’s Soul,’ or ‘the nations of laws’ – but what I know is that the Rest of the World should do something about a rampant American gone horribly wrong.

And the answers are simple

Just do two things.

Go out  and buy gold. If all the readers of this blog bought one kg of gold, the US dollar (and all other paper currency systems) will crash. Phoooos! Yes that the sound of escaping air from the punctured dollar.

Second!

Just stop drinking Pepsi and Coke – and dont step into a McDonald’s. If Coke and Pepsi sales in China, India, Brazil and Russia collapsed, it will start a domino effect.

Just this!

Living in a timeless world

March 11, 2009 2 comments

Dreamers of the Day: A Novel (Hardcover) by Mary Doria Russell (Author)

Dreamers of the Day: A Novel (Hardcover) by Mary Doria Russell (Author)

Mary Doria Russell’s fiction has always dealt with power and the search for elusive lands as a means to further it. … For her fourth book, Dreamers of the Day, Russell shifts her gaze to the Middle East, specifically to the 1921 Cairo Peace Conference where a group of high-profile Europeans met to decide the fate of the region in the aftermath of the First World War. The reader’s guide along this fascinating trip is Agnes Shanklin, a 40-year-old spinster who lives the staid life of a schoolteacher in Cleveland, until she lands a huge pie of inheritance money. (via Living in a timeless world).

This book is, seemingly, a lot like Midshipman Mr.Easy by Captain Marryat – which set out to white wash slavery. This book by Mary Doria Russell seems to be another such book – going by reviews. The carving of the Middle East after WW1 by the victorius allied powers, a disgruntled Russia and straw figures selected by the likes of TE Lawrence and Gertrude Bell to misrule over the Middle East – and now propped up by the US.

Maybe, somebody should remind Mary Doria Russell about the real people who are paying a price of the Cairo Conference.

Canadian PM aide admits to plagiarizing

I didn't do it! He did ...

I didn't do it! He did it ...

The opposition Liberal Party released transcripts and video of a speech delivered by then-Australian Prime Minister John Howard on March 18, 2003, and one given two days later in the Canadian Parliament by Harper, who was then the opposition leader.

Liberal foreign affairs spokesman Bob Rae said nearly half of Harper’s speech was a word-for-word recitation of Howard’s comments supporting the U.S.-led war in Iraq.(Aide to Canadian PM admits plagiarizing speech, resigns – CNN.com).

The Actual Scandal

After all what is the worth of a typical political speech? Little or negligible! It is not copying the speech – it is the similarity in thinking.

To all those who think that the Anglo Saxon Bloc is imaginary, this is the proof!

%d bloggers like this: