Wednesday, February 08, 2006

WAR NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, February 8, 2006 Update: Sorry about the broken links but the problem has now been fixed (this goes for the Monday Feb. 6 post too); thanks Grand Moff Texan for pointing out the solution to this HTML newbie who tried to bite more than he could chew in Blogger (damn quotes!). Bring ‘em on: Two U.S. soldiers died in Iraq at Al Husayniya on Sunday in a roadside bomb attack, the U.S. military reported on Tuesday. Bring ‘em on: Soldier dies in Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas from injuries received in a bomb attack in Baghdad last December. Bring ‘em on: Army soldier from the 4th Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment dies on Wednesday of wounds suffered three days earlier in a roadside bombing in Anbar province. Bring ‘em on: Marine assigned to the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) killed Monday in a bombing in Anbar. Bring ‘em on: Marine assigned to the 2d Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), dies in a non-hostile vehicle accident Tuesday during combat operations near Qaim on the border with Syria. Bring ‘em on: Bodies of four Shiite pilgrims shot repeatedly and dumped on Baghdad's northern outskirts found by Police. Bring ‘em on: Three bullet-riddled bodies found up in Baghdad's Sadr City. Bring ‘em on: Roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad misses U.S. convoy killing Iraqi passer-by and wounding another. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi policemen injured in bomb blast in northern Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: U.S. vigilance drone providing security coverage for Ashoura goes down near Sadr City on Tuesday. Bring ‘em on”: Gunmen open fire on Wednesday on a group of Shi'ites peforming religious rituals in Baghdad, wounding six people. Bring ‘em on: Car bomb explodes in central Baghdad as the Iraqi higher education minister's convoy passed on Wednesday but he escaped injury. Two of Sami al-Mudhafer's bodyguards wounded and a civilian bystander killed in the attack. The Mujahideen Council resistance group claimed responsibility for the attack. Bring ‘em on: Militant group Army of Ansar al-Sunna says it executed Iraqi special forces lieutenant general and posts video of the captive on the Internet. IRAQ NEWS Kerbala shrouded in black for Ashura: The Iraqi holy city of Kerbala was shrouded in black on Wednesday as hundreds of thousands of Shi'ite pilgrims converged to mourn the death of the Prophet Mohammad's grandson here 1,300 years ago. Most shops were shuttered and draped in black cloth as a sea of black-clad pilgrims thronged the streets carrying black, green and red flags symbolising mourning, Islam and the killing of Imam Hussein in battle. City officials said an estimated 2 million pilgrims were in Kerbala to mark Ashura, the main event in the Shi'ite calendar. To prevent attacks by insurgents who have previously targeted Ashura events, Iraqi security forces sealed off the city to vehicles and set up checkpoints to body-search pilgrims arriving from other cities, many having walked for days. Lawyer says U.S. army deserters unfairly denied asylum in Canada: Two U.S. army deserters were unfairly denied asylum in Canada partly because the refugee board would not consider the legality of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, their lawyer said on Wednesday. The soldiers want the Federal Court of Canada to overturn an immigration board decision last March that denied them refugee status in Canada. A decision on this round of the judicial process is not expected for several months, and it could take years to exhaust all legal appeals. US sets up Potemkin prison system in Iraq: The United States, which came under fire for abusing detainees in Iraq, has spent millions of dollars creating a new prison system there as part of a program to revamp the criminal justice system from top to bottom. A Bush administration official, who asked not to be named, said around 70 U.S. "correctional experts" including prison wardens, managers and instructors, had been involved in getting the new Iraqi Correctional Service up and running. The U.S. experts established a training academy for Iraqi guards and administrators near Baghdad in December 2004, and the first class graduated the following month. "They have now graduated 4,029 Iraqi correctional officers, including 20 women who have undergone nine-week training courses," the official said. The new prison service only houses a fraction of detainees held in Iraq, which is racked by violence across religious and ethnic lines and by a fierce insurgency against the U.S.-led foreign force there. U.S. and Iraqi troops uncovered two Iraqi Interior Ministry detention centers late last year at which prisoners had been tortured and abused. Protection of Iraqi women during military raids called for: NGOs are calling for the protection of women during military raids, accusing both the Iraqi army and police of humiliating female suspects and detainees. Since July 2005, the Women's Rights Association (WRA) of Iraq has registered more than 240 cases of women. They say they have have suffered "humiliation" at the hands of the army and police during raids on their homes, according to Mayada Zuhair, a member of the association. The WRA has also registered nearly 90 reports of mistreatment of former female detainees. WRA spokeswoman Sarah Muthulak noted that most cases involved sexual harassment or violence, including beatings. IMF demands ten-fold rise in Iraq’s fuel prices in 2006: Iraq will gradually increase state-controlled domestic fuel prices tenfold in 2006 to meet International Monetary Fund demands, an Iraq official said on Monday. The move is likely to spark public protests. Iraq already increased prices by 200% in December, igniting protests and creating a rift between the oil ministry and the government over external political pressure. “We have to meet demands from the IMF, they said the prices should be equal to the prices in neighbouring countries,” another source in the oil industry said. “The price of benzene (gasoline) will gradually increase in 2006 to reach about 600 dinars per litre,” said the Iraq official. Lights Out Chicago: In the middle of February, while most of us are dialing our thermostats up to the max, microwaving multiple cups of hot chocolate and huddling around our televisions, a few dedicated Chicagoans will give up electricity in order to draw attention to the electricity shortage in Iraq. These folks really mean it: their electricity fast, "Lights Out Chicago," will last from February 15 to March 20. They seek to experience some of the hardships and confront the difficulties that Iraqis are experiencing since their power has been cut short. The electricity fast forms a part of The Winter of Our Discontent, a 33-day food fast taking place in Washington DC, organized by the Uptown-based group Voices for Creative Nonviolence (VCNV). These fasters will call for an end to the US-led occupation of Iraq, reparations for the damage done by the war, and full funding for the reconstruction of Iraq, among other demands, according to Jeff Leys, one of the action's coordinators. In addition to fasting, VCNV activists will participate in civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance at the Pentagon, the White House, the Capitol and the World Bank, with quite a few risking arrest. Before the war on Iraq began in 2003, Baghdad residents had access to electricity 24 hours a day, and most rural areas followed a consistent schedule of four hours with electricity, then four hours without, says Gardiner. Now, according to the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs, most people in Baghdad have power for less than six hours a day. Moreover, access is fickle; Iraqis don't know when electricity will come on or shut off. In 14-degree-Fahrenheit weather, that unpredictability is no small matter. Electricity shortages have increased dramatically since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which critically damaged at least four power plants. The closure of a major oil refinery this past December has caused conditions to deteriorate further. U.S. officials originally decided to build Iraq's new electricity plan on a foundation of natural gas, installing gas generators in many Iraqi power plants. However, according to a December report in the Los Angeles Times, the pipelines to transport that gas power were never built. The US has made clear that filling the electricity gap is not a priority. Of the 425 projects originally planned to improve Iraq's power situation, only 300 will be completed, according to a report in late January by the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. Photo: Demonstrators holding white baloons and a banner reading 'Free Jill Carroll' gathered on the Human Rights square in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Tuesday Feb. 7, 2006 during a demonstration organized by 'Reporters without Borders'. REPORTS Pentagon covers up widespread sexual abuse: In a startling revelation, the former commander of Abu Ghraib prison testified that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, former senior U.S. military commander in Iraq, gave orders to cover up the cause of death for some female American soldiers serving in Iraq. Last week, Col. Janis Karpinski told a panel of judges at the Commission of Inquiry for Crimes against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration in New York that several women had died of dehydration because they refused to drink liquids late in the day. They were afraid of being assaulted or even raped by male soldiers if they had to use the women's latrine after dark. The latrine for female soldiers at Camp Victory wasn't located near their barracks, so they had to go outside if they needed to use the bathroom. "There were no lights near any of their facilities, so women were doubly easy targets in the dark of the night," Karpinski told retired U.S. Army Col. David Hackworth in a September 2004 interview. It was there that male soldiers assaulted and raped women soldiers. So the women took matters into their own hands. They didn't drink in the late afternoon so they wouldn't have to urinate at night. They didn't get raped. But some died of dehydration in the desert heat, Karpinski said. Karpinski testified that a surgeon for the coalition's joint task force said in a briefing that "women in fear of getting up in the hours of darkness to go out to the port-a-lets or the latrines were not drinking liquids after 3 or 4 in the afternoon, and in 120 degree heat or warmer, because there was no air-conditioning at most of the facilities, they were dying from dehydration in their sleep." "And rather than make everybody aware of that -- because that's shocking, and as a leader if that's not shocking to you, then you're not much of a leader -- what they told the surgeon to do is don't brief those details anymore. And don't say specifically that they're women. You can provide that in a written report, but don't brief it in the open anymore." For example, Maj. Gen. Walter Wojdakowski, Sanchez's top deputy in Iraq, saw "dehydration" listed as the cause of death on the death certificate of a female master sergeant in September 2003. Under orders from Sanchez, he directed that the cause of death no longer be listed, Karpinski stated. The official explanation for this was to protect the women's privacy rights. Sanchez's attitude was: "The women asked to be here, so now let them take what comes with the territory," Karpinski quoted him as saying. Karpinski told me that Sanchez, who was her boss, was very sensitive to the political ramifications of everything he did. She thinks it likely that when the information about the cause of these women's deaths was passed to the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld ordered that the details not be released. "That's how Rumsfeld works," she said. The Ohio Insurgency: From the beginning of his quixotic campaign in a special election for U.S. Congress this summer, Paul Hackett relished taking swings. His rhetoric was scorched-earth: “I don’t like the sonofabitch that lives in the White House,” he told USA Today, “but I’d put my life on the line for him.” He declared in a debate that the biggest threat to America is “the man living in the White House,” and he slammed President Bush and Vice President Cheney as “chicken hawks.” He described Bush’s infamous taunt to Iraqi resistance fighters—“Bring ’em on”—as “the most incredibly stupid comment I’ve ever heard a president of the United States make. He cheered on the enemy.” The flame-throwing rhetoric belies an analytical attorney with an (often) understated persona; apologetic, however, Hackett is not. “I said it, I meant it, I stand by it,” he said when I asked if he regretted any of his comments. “Bush is a chicken hawk, okay? Tough shit.” As for the SOB barb, Bush “talks the tough talk. He should appreciate that.” A major in the Marine Corps Reserve fresh from a tour in Iraq, Hackett proved to be that rarest of modern political animals, a fighting Democrat. Storming through a deep-red district with freshly minted veterans from his Marine unit, smacking down the religious right, ripping into President Bush, he transformed what was supposed to be a sleepy exercise to fill a safe GOP seat into a rowdy brawl that blindsided the national Republican and Democratic establishments. While he lost the election in a 52-to-48 percent squeaker, he scored decisive wins in the white, lower-income, high-unemployment rural areas that Democrats long ago abandoned—and took one-third more votes in the district than John Kerry had pulled in just eight months earlier. His near upset would turn the state that handed George W. Bush his 2004 victory into a much-discussed bellwether for 2006 and 2008. Could Ohio be signaling a shift in the political winds, at last? COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS "The good Shia": What sets Muqtada apart from the other Shiite leaders -- and makes him a potentially crucial, if supremely unlikely, ally for the United States -- is his close ties to the Sunni insurgents. With sectarian tensions in Iraq and the region increasing, Muqtada may be the only Shiite leader in Iraq who can reach out to Sunnis, who see him as "the good Shia." His Mahdi army fought the American occupiers, establishing street cred with the Sunni resistance. Much of Muqtada's appeal is his fervent nationalism. Unlike the leadership of Dawa or the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), Muqtada was not in exile and, like his father, has condemned foreign-born clerics based in Iraq. On the crucial issues that divide Shiite and Sunni, Muqtada sides with the Sunnis. He opposes federalism, which he believes will lead to the breakup of Iraq, and supports amending the constitution. SCIRI and the other main Shiite party, Dawa, support federalism and refuse to amend the constitution. Bushwhacked in Bushworld: Just in case you hadn't noticed, we're in a Bushworld too absurd for words. But that hasn't stopped this administration from yakking its collective head off. Over the last week: The President came out for an ethanol-powered globe -- that's corn on the cob to you, buddy -- while his Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld announced that our poor planet had somehow gotten more terroristically dangerous since George took the helm. (No fault of his, natch.) Last Tuesday night, of course, the Great Helmsman stood on the congressional deck of state -- perhaps confusing it with the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln (Didn't anyone hear me? Mission accomplished!) -- and declared that we were on nothing less than the "road to victory" in Iraq. (Unfortunately, the message seems not to have gotten through to Iraqis lining that road with IEDs, possibly due to power outages in that country.) Intelligence "Tsar" John Negroponte visited Congress to deliver the news that Earth was virtually swarming with terrorist groups which already had their hands on WMD. (Sleep well, Virginia.) At the same time, multitasking like mad, the administration continued its noble war on T-shirts; the Pentagon put political cartoonists on notice that the military high command wasn't going to take a pen jab lying down (no sir!); and KBR, one of two subsidiaries of the Halliburton Corporation (the other being the U.S. government), received an almost $400 million dollar contract to build emergency "detention facilities" in the homeland (after much practice at Guantanamo). Oh yes, and in their spare time, the President and his closest advisors happily continued to exercise another of those handy prerogatives of the Commander-in-Chief in wartime by essentially amending the Constitution to wipe out the odd check or balance. Am I going too fast for you? Be afraid… very afraid: Anyone who doubts the determination of key elements of the US-led imperialist bloc to wage a 'preemptive’ war against Iran should read the recent opinion piece by Gerard Baker from <>The Times (it was reproduced in <>The Weekend Australian 28-29 Jan 2006). Not much appears in <>The Times by accident, and certainly not a piece of such resounding bellicosity. Until I read Baker’s article I had been persuaded that the Bush government would not be quite so loony as to launch a war against Iran, for the simple reason that its puppet Iraqi government is dominated by pro-Iranian politicians and that it relies heavily (in some areas completely) on the militias of the Iranian-backed Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution In Iraq (SCIRI) for recruits for the Iraqi puppet police and army units. To wage war on Iran, would be to wage war upon the US-led occupation’s only ally in Iraq (apart from the Kurds, who really just want to secede). The anti-secular Shiites are, to be sure, not enthusiastic and reliable allies, but they are, at the moment, the occupation’s indispensable counterweight to the Sunni and Baathist Iraqi resistance. In spite of this reliance, the neo-conservatives are now determined to wage war upon their allies. That is a measure of their willingness to use the most barbaric measures to subdue the entire region. Baker writes "The unavoidable reality is that we need urgently to steel ourselves to the ugly probability that diplomacy will not now suffice: one way or another unconscionable acts of war may now be unavoidable". Be afraid of Baker’s words … very afraid. They are flagrantly, apocalyptically, wickedly, mad. They counsel an irresponsible, almost eager, embrace of death and destruction that pays no heed to the unpredictable consequences of such a war. To my knowledge, nothing quite like these sentiments has been heard since the extremists of German expansionism, French revanchism, Tsarist reaction, Austro-Hungarian intransigence and Serbian nationalism stoked the tensions that plunged the world into the Great War. I can recall nothing similar during the cold war. By "unconscionable acts of war" Baker means that another blatant act of super-power aggression against a small sovereign state is imperative. What he does not spell out is that this aggression will necessarily take the form of an enormous aerial offensive designed to bomb Iran back to the Stone Age – an offensive unlikely to stop short of nuclear weapons. He readily acknowledges that this act would have "devastating consequences for the region and for the world", and that it would "entrench and harden the Iranian regime" (actually, for better or worse, it’s an elected government with a popular mandate). He admits that even the young intellectuals who oppose this theocratic government "will pause at the sight of their country "burnt and humiliated". "A war, even a limited one", he continues, "will almost certainly raise oil prices to recession-inducing levels". Note here that he envisages that the strike against Iran will not necessarily be "limited". But even these weasel words mask the reality that such an attack carries the extreme risk that Russia, China and Pakistan (among others) will see their vital interests under threat. But Baker goes further. He acknowledges that the offensive he wants "will foster more violence in the Middle East, strengthen the insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan, fuel anti-Western sentiment among Muslims everywhere and encourage terrorism against us at home". And then comes his most chilling and irrational rhetorical exhortation: "All true. All fearfully powerful arguments against the use of the military option. But multiplied together, squared and then cubed, the weight of these arguments does not come close to matching the case for us to stop, by whatever means may be necessary, Iran from becoming a nuclear power" (my emphasis). Let’s be quite clear about what Baker (only recently recruited to Rupert Murdoch’s most influential newspaper) is proposing here. He is seriously counselling – with a kind of mad fatalism – that Britain, the US and their allies must reduce Iran to a smoking radioactive ruin, even though that action might trigger a global war. Such a strategy is made necessary by the fact that the volunteer professional armies of the coalition that invaded Iraq – tied down as they are by the Iraqi resistance – could never assemble enough troops to manage a conventional invasion and occupation of Iran. What is envisaged is a return to the strategy of "control without occupation"used by the British RAF in the years between the First and Second World Wars (see here). It was a policy of brutal aerial bombardment designed to neutralise centres of opposition or even protest and tax evasion. This time around the strategy would not be at the level of tribes and mud-hut villages but would aim to cripple an entire nation. Clearly, the word is out from the White House and 10 Downing St – public opinion must urgently be prepared for a preemptive strike against Iran. Within days of Baker’s piece, George Bush renewed his rhetoric against Iran in his State of the Union address and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a statement that betrays a total lack of historic perspective, labelled the Iranian government as being as bad as the Nazis. Baker ends his histrionics on a fearsome note, calling on all in the West to embrace "a psychological readiness, a personal willingness … to bear the terrible burdens that [war] will surely impose", and in a bizarre touch calls this "the last real chance" to avoid war. Actually, it’s dangerous, hysterical, madness, and as Baker well knows, the war has already been decided upon. WORLDWIDE Global Gaullism: No one in Downing Street or Washington will admit it publicly, but Jacques Chirac has turned out to be right. His global Gaullism, the notion that the world has several power centers, and it is no longer just "the west versus the rest", offers a more accurate picture than the image of the lone cowboy acting in the name of us all. The analysis is not Chirac's alone, of course. The French president is in most ways a discredited figure, little loved even at home. But he is the most prominent European to dare to embrace multi-polarity as the new reality of international politics. Leaders of the non-aligned nations have been saying the same thing for a long time, as have Washington's latest bugbears, such as Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. In his soft-spoken way, Kofi Annan has also been calling for a new recognition of the dispersal of international power. In a little-reported speech in London this week, he took issue with even the concept of a five-nation power centre made up of the permanent members of the UN Security Council. "Do not underestimate the slow erosion of the UN's authority and legitimacy that stems from the perception that it has a very narrow power base, with just five countries calling the shots," he pleaded. UN reform is a slow process, and it is doubtful whether the new claimants for permanent security-council seats, such as Brazil, India and Japan, will get their way soon. But the trend is in their direction, regardless of whether it is formalized by the UN now or in several years. CARTOONS AND THE “CLASH OF FREEDOMS” Danish paper refused Jesus cartoons, vows to publish Holocaust ones: The Danish newspaper that first published caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad, infuriating Muslims worldwide, previously turned down cartoons of Jesus as too offensive, the cartoonist said on Wednesday. The newspaper's editor said the Jesus cartoon was unsolicited. He added that he hoped to publish Holocaust-themed cartoons that an Iran newspaper has solicited as a challenge to free-speech principles championed by Western media. How violent they Arabs be?: While Arabs and Muslims continue to show how violent they can be by torching embassies, killing a Catholic Priest in Turkey, and burning flags, the tragedy in Iraq continues. According to media reports, which are now buried, these are the following incidents in Iraq in the past two days only: * A prison manager is shot and killed in Basra. * An Iraqi interpreter is killed in Basra. * Sunnis begin to build their own militia after 14 murdered Sunnis found. * Iraqi detainee dies in US custody at Abu Ghraib. * Police find the bodies of two Sunni Arab brothers seized from their Baghdad home late Sunday by men claiming to be Interior Ministry commandos, said Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razzaq. * Iraqi soldier kills member of Sadr's Mahdi Militia. * Sadr visits Syria, pledges support against common enemies - US, Britain and Israel. * Iraqi policemen killed in Kirkuk. His brother, also a policemen, is wounded. * Three bodies found bound and executed near Diyala. * Six members of Shia family injured in attack. * Eleven Iraqis killed in roadside bombings and drive-by shootings. * Five US soldiers killed in various attacks. * A second Iraqi Kurd dies of Bird Flu - Iraq has no capacity to fight the disease. * No word on fate of two kidnapped Iraqi journalists - western media ignores story. * No word on fate of Carroll or CPT members kidnapped. * No word on fate of two Germans kidnapped. * Danish soldiers shot at and stoned by angry crowds in ancient city of Al-Qurnah. Arabs and Muslims have definitely grown pathetic in the past several hundred years. Iraq is invaded, its infrastructure is absolutely destroyed, its women and children are raped, terrorized and murdered by a US army that makes the SS look like Santa's elves. The country is robbed of its natural wealth. It's people are humiliated, shot at, tortured and forgotten. Where is the Arab valor and honor now? How many Embassies did the valiant Arabs burn when the horrific tortures of Abu Ghraib came to light? More than 100,000 Iraqis mostly MUSLIMS were killed in Iraq and the Arabs did ... nothing. Yet one stupid cartoon mocks the Prophet Muhammad and all hell breaks loose. "Cartoongate" and the Clash of Civilizations: Yes, tens of thousands of Muslims have marched in protest against the cartoons; but out of 1.4 billion, that's not exactly a huge number. And death threats have been made by some extremist groups. But however upset they may be, most Muslims have not taken to the streets, and those who are protesting are doing so through democratic methods: demonstrating and threatening to take their business elsewhere. More interesting than these dynamics, however, is the response to them. Why is it that practices considered perfectly respectable when done by environmentalists or evangelical Christians seem so undemocratic when done by Muslims? And before we shake our heads at how backwards Muslims are for wanting to silence those who would insult the founder of their religion, let's remember that our hands aren't exactly clean when it comes to freedom of the press whenever it might threaten our core interests. Indeed, the US has admitted targeting al-Jazeera bureaus, and has arrested, detained without trial, and even killed reporters (accidently, of course) for daring to report news that challenges the official American version of events, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq. To cite an equivalent American example, should a newspaper print an op-ed calling African Americans "niggers" just because it's legal to do so? Of course not. Nor would any newspaper worth the paper it's printed on print something similarly insulting about Jews. Or publish pictures of President Bush naked in the shower, or Princess Diana being autopsied, or any of an infinite variety of images which, while surely within the bounds of free speech to publish, serve no journalistic purpose. So while it should be legal to insult people, one can ask what purpose is served by printing a picture of the founder of Islam as a blood-thirsty terrorist. How is doing so fulfilling any role of the newspaper in a free society? Particularly disconcerting are the newspaper editors across Europe who have reprinted the cartoons "in solidarity" (as the editors of the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has urged) with the Danish newspaper, comparing the depictions of Muhammad to caricatures of a priest or rabbi. Exactly what are they standing in solidarity with? Aside from the fact that non no mainstream paper in Europe has ever depicted a rabbi with a bomb in his yarmulke, the comparison more broadly only underscores the combination of Western arrogance and ignorance at the heart of “cartoongate”. Mohammad is not the equivalent of a priest or even of a Pope. There's no Jewish equivalent to his place in Islam; even Jesus, while a step above the Prophet theologically (since he's divine), isn't revered by Christians on a human level the same way as Muhammad is. Ironically, the same day that editorial pages of American newspapers began criticizing Muslims for their lack of respect for freedom of speech, peace activist Cindy Sheehan was arrested and removed from her seat at the State of the Union speech (she was invited by Representative Lynn Woolsey), simply for the "crime" of wearing a t-shirt under her jacket that listed the number of dead US soldiers in Iraq as of last Tuesday--2,245. A security guard saw the number on the shirt, screamed "Protester!" (perish the thought!) into his walkie talkie, and out she went. Nary a word of protest was uttered by the US media. For most of the Muslim world, America's willingness to kill tens of thousands of Iraqis and see killed thousands of our own children for a war launched on a series of half-truths and outright prevarications (which almost no one in our own journalistic establishment had the courage to expose, despite clear evidence at the time) is as "crazy" as their willingness to boycott, or even threaten violence against Westerners, because of a few religiously insulting cartoons.


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