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Sunday, 30 May, 2004
Memorial Day

Technically my father is a veteran of World War II. He joined the Navy after he graduated from high school, at Boston English. About three weeks after. They gave you a month to make up your own mind about things, then it was the draft boards choice. The Navy said thank you, they would certainly be in touch. They had a lot on their plate at that time. Later that summer the war ended. Abruptly I believe. Eventually the Navy remembered my father. They had ships by the tens of thousands jammed into every port in the world, which were suddenly empty of sailors who had all demobbed. "Hey thats right," they told my father, "you signed up and now we need you - could you report to bootcamp at Bainbridge Maryland in December". Sometime in 1946 in either San Diego or San Francisco my father joined the crew of the USS Piedmont (AD17) and sailed away for the far east. A picture named USS_Piedmont.jpeg The USS Piedmont was a Destroyer tender, a supply and repair ship for a destroyer squadron. For the Navy; he repaired radars for two years. The most I've ever been able to get out of him about that is that it involved color coded wires and having to climb masts. All the time I've known him he was an accountant, with an associates degree from Bentley College.

Things I recall him saying about his years in the Navy. The Piedmont towed a Kaiser liberty ship back to port when its propeller fell off at sea. He saw the German Battlecruiser Prinz Eugen in Pearl Harbor. Mostly he recalls spending the winter of 46-47 in Tsing'tao harbor (Qingdao in current spelling) on the Piedmont. The Maoists had already taken over the city, at least sufficiently to make it too dangerous for sailors to go into town. The Navy was too stubborn to leave. They eventually sailed away in the spring. Nearly sixty years passed and my father is still bitter about that. It was a cold winter in Tsing'tao, the Piedmont wasn't that big a ship. My father is not the sort of person to let a good grievance go before its time. I saw the Piedmont in Subic bay when I was in the Navy. I asked people about her, no one could remember her ever putting to sea.

About ten years ago the Smithsonian toyed with the idea of putting the cockpit of the B29 superfortress Enola Gay on display in the Air and Space Museum downtown (the whole thing is on display at their new facility over by Dulles International). The curators wanted to put a exhibit up around it, to give it a little context. As it turned out no one wanted the Enola Gay to have any context, that show was canceled. In the summer of 1945 the army had a plan, that plan called for an amphibious landing on Kyushu in or around November followed up by one into central Honshu in the spring of 1946. My father spent the last few weeks of high school following the accounts of fighting for Okinowa, and Iwo Jima and Saipan before that. All that summer the War department transfered men ships and planes to the Pacific. My father is among those who has no problems with the dropping of the atomic bomb. He had already been taken up by the machine which sent the previous four classes into fires across the world. He was glad when that escalator stopped. General Marshall believed that the goal of unconditional surrender could not be achieved without invasion of the Japanese home islands. Unconditional surrender was our unconditional goal in that the last good war. The more I think about it, the more I listen to the actual voices of that generation. The more I have the feeling that by the summer of 1945 with Hitler dead and the Japanese fleet gone; the mood of the country for another effort equal to, or greater than Normandy and the Rhine breakthrough may have been passing. General Marshall may have realized that. President Truman as well.

I have absorbed World War two through pop culture all my life. The movies, the books, speeches, campaigns and memorial days. There have been many waves of remembrances not all if any alike. And there have been times slipped between remembrances. I recall third grade in my towns VFW hall, a period of satellite classrooms while my town built a new middle school and high school, (This is a story I mention also somewhere on my old site) . The bar in the basement was exempt from the counties liquor laws-VFW's were private clubs. By noon and not that occasionally. the troubled would come up the back steps and deliver small curse laden speeches to those close by until our teachers would chase them back down. Sometimes on a Saturday at the barber shop someone would remember Tunisia and it would be remembered differently depending on whether they noticed a small boy in the corner or not. The quality of the remembrances in my lifetime was mostly marked by a certain bravado, but now the past few years as the need for them passes, the masks of a lifetime fall away. The men and women speak less with the consensus voice more with individual voices. Their own questions and fears. Thoughts about what sort of world that grew out of the sacrifices of those years.
11:21:28 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Saturday, 29 May, 2004
Chattering Classes

They're talking about chatter again. Or a least some of them are. That was a somewhat strange Washington moment, John Ashcroft and FBI director Mueller annnounce they are going to hold a press conference Sources: Major terror attack planned this summer. Then they appear replete with seperate flip charts of these suspect individuals we need to be afraid of. All arranged in a semi circle - subliminal inference Al Qaeada has you surrounded. U.S. Cautions Against Threat of Al Qaeda ( This leaves Tom Ridge, from the Homeland Security directorate to book his own time on the morning shows to say he thinks he's gotten all the same memo's but he's not sure its time to abandon our home and hearth and head for the hills just yet, Division follows terrorism warning. It did seem to take a full day before anyone seemed to know what to do with this story that Boston Globe Story and this one Ashcroft Assailed on Terror Warning (Post, May 28, 2004) from the Post didn't appear until Friday. It always used to astound when this administration was able to stay 'on message' so completely right down to the words and phrasing. I'm not sure it really makes me feel better when they all say different things.

The last time these dark and clouded warnings were passed among us was back at the beginning of the year. I thought between then and now what differences have occured. First I thought of the Madrid train bombings. It is possible for al qaeda or one of their farm teams to operate in the capital of a western nation and carry out a major attack. The other thing I thought about was the work of the 911 commission, and all the staff reports of theirs I read, as well as clarke and woowards book (from which I have only read excerpts). The other thing that as come to the fore is just how many people we and other allied states have locked up in the "war on terror" dragnet.

The continuing reduction of tactical and strategic intelligence gathering from something that requires care and analysis to getting the answers complete in themselves - out of somebody somewhere in plain english. That it's just a matter of getting people to talk. Its not that this isn't part of intelligence gathering, but the over emphasis on this grows clearer by the day. Even at that, its arabic not english al qaeda tends to speak and U S intelligence can't even reliably make sense of arab names let alone street coloqualisms. Ashcroft and Muellers press conference showed as well that the jealousy and intrangenance of bureaucratic infighting highlighted as key factor in intelligence by the 911 commission hasn't subsided any. Problematic as well is the penchant for taking intelligence data out of the stream of collection and analysis and bandying it about for poltical purpose, this is not only unhelpful it is dangerous. It also points to a reliance on gesture, grand or otherwise, over the unglamorous work of disruption of violence and unself-interested engagement which may not get you a seat in the grandstands of history.
8:46:37 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Thursday, 27 May, 2004
brooding x

The Lehrer Newshour did a piece on the Cicada's last night (wednesday) the correspondent was talking to a University of Maryland prof. MAGICICADA May 26, 2004. PBS Online Newshour. Jeffery Brown talks to entomologist Mike Raupp (UMD). So the story describes what I hear and see around me pretty closely. Ten Trillion cicadas to brood x alltogether. 100 thousand to a million per acre. My nephews kindergarten class was hatching goslings,my sister Susan reports, they looked cute and fluffy until they encountered some cicadas then they went into a feeding frenzy and startled the 'garteners somewhat. The piece did clear up one thing : there are three different species to brood x each with its own call, this matches the levels of noise I thought I was hearing. The PBS piece has a link to UMD's Cicada page which in turn has a link to a sound bite. This is for the benefit of those who do not live between DC and Ohio who already know what massed cicadas sound like.

Addendum: I see Letterman did an Al Cicada joke tonight. I thought of that first, on my own I might add.
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Tuesday, 25 May, 2004
Our Mr Brooks

I was starting to sketch out a post last weekend that would look at the slow replacement of the idealized vision of the Iraqi war, that whole noble burden, gift of democracy thing. How it is slowly rotating out and being replaced by a more realistic, more camel's-nose-under-the-tent-flap reality check vision. By the Neocon Cheerleaders who so enthusiastically championed it a year and a half ago. Not that this would be terribly original, still it could be a voyage of discovery. Since there is more than a small portion of this "wilsonian idealism" in me, I mediate my sarcasm before the mirror of my soul. All the same I find Democracy the ideal and democracy the practice two quite different things. The latter a historical artifact - the outgrowth of particular histories and instituitions. Precariously joined with the former in constitutions of state. You can give the idea of Democracy to someone, but you can not give democracy. They must take the idea, if they choose, and make it themselves -from within their own culture and history. Still! Even after the cake-of-custom has been broken.

Towards this end I had assembled four or so David Brook's New York Times opeds on my desktop a triumph of tabbed browsering. Why Brooks? Because George Will started having second thoughts weeks ago, William Safire is still churning out columns on how we have wronged that beautiful man Ahmed Chalabi (Safire: talk about your bitter-enders). Krauthammer? Krauthammer is just plain mad. You'd learn more from a barking dog. So Brooks it is. Then Metafilter turns up on Sunday with a thread on Brooks revolving around Michael Kinsley's review of his latest book 'On Paradise Drive': Sociology or Shtick?. Between Kinsley and the attending MIFi'ers many of the observation. I would make about Brooks were laid out already. You have to read Brooks carefully, watch for turns of phrase, pry out the meandering central thread of his columns or you will miss what he is really saying, and what he is really saying is rarely as unobjectionable as the general tone of his columns.

I wish I had a prepared process for Brooks, some solution I could dissolve his columns into to which a catalyst could be added that would cause all the pleasantries and fellow "Bobo" feeling-moves to sedimentize and settle out. Leaving behind a pure Brooks at his purpose. Kinsley's review made me want to look through this book and his previous "Bobo's in Paradise" just to check if my initial impression is valid. The convergent American that Brooks is describing with these books: JR "Bob" Dobbs. How many people remember slackness and the church of the sub-genius? It was a 70's or 80's thing, I never understood it myself. I'm not sure it was supposed to be understood. More seriously Brooks seems to be describing the perfect regime man. I sense a resonant vibration to the sort of characters that peopled French and English novels of the late nineteenth century. Encased in a materialistic middle class like an insect in amber, a bourgeosie to which all the world flowed. Europe had all the money in the world in those days, much of what was built in this country was built with British money until about 1920. This is Brooks's man. The Roman man. Augustus Caeser will be proud.
11:37:34 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Sunday, 23 May, 2004
al Ciqada

I've been meaning to get a picture of one of these little demons for the past few days. A picture named Cicada.jpeg You'd think that would be easy, there's only a few million of them out there. The squirrels have eaten most of the ones wandering around on the ground and their wings have dried so that they're flying now. Mostly they're up in the trees at this point. I went outside with a flashlight and this one flew down to me. The outside of my building is covered with cicadas as though with ivy. Maybe I'll get a picture of that tomorrow.

The main impression they leave on me is the sound. Its been building for a week and a half now and the intensity and quality of the sound has changed subtly each day. The first few days it was a faint background noise intermittent and stuttering. It sounded like someone trying to start up a car with a dead battery. Gradually its been changing into a constant and universal and inescapable) sound. An omni-directional 60 hertz hum. Its a very strange sensation to be walking or biking outside and hear this sound that doesn't come from any particular distance, that doesn't get closer to you or further away as you move and no matter how you turn your head or your body around never seems to have a direction of origin. My friend Robert maintains that this background chirping has the quality of coming from a mid distance - as though it was coming to you from a constant fifty yards off. I thought that was apt, but to me it seemed to be further out. In the last day or so the sound has seemed to possess layers. Two inside the main one, one that raises and lowers in pitch periodically (which can startingly loud at times), and a positive buzzing close at hand that still isn't coming from any of the little buggers you can see.
11:47:45 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Friday, 21 May, 2004
all the rage

This is an old post I was writing last week that I abandoned when: a) it got so over-covered you could say it was 'beat to death', and b) I realized it was going to require that I stop and think, which I try to avoid. I return to it because, I forgot to delete it.

Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), finds it necessary to tell us he's heard all he wants to.

as I watch this outrage, this outrage everyone seems to have about the treatment of these prisoners...I'm probably not the only one at this table more outraged at the outrage than the treatment Senator Critical of Focus on Prisoner Abuse
He goes on from there to rant about his outrage at the many ...humanitarian do-gooders right now crawling all over... It probably seems like I took that last quote out of context and it would look better in context. No, it would show that is his way of referring to the Red Cross. He has no use for the Red Cross himself: they don't carry reptile blood.

The good Senator, sincere in his feelings and feeling the need to share them gets expanded treatment for his theme in the next day's Washington Posts Style section The Scandal Scandal? Sen. James Inhofe's Opposing View. This makes sense, his problems seems more like a "lifestyles" issue to me, than news. Between this article, an Alternet piece Waiting for 'Torture Fatigue' and some fill-in "jitney" coverage by Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post Wed. and Thu.. I hear a plea for everyone to have a little "perspective" on this war. Either that or maybe the sound of people rounding up the usual suspects Abu Ghraib Denial, Part 2 - Right-wing culture warriors are on the case. By Timothy Noah. Perspective. Yesterday Al Jazeera was carrying a headline Bloggers doubt Berg execution video I saw this on the Google news page. If this is any indication the Arab media has as little taste for rigorous self examination as anyone else. I used to think al Jazeera wanted to be the Fox news of the middle east; headlines like this led me to think they doubt the need to be as classy an operation as Fox. Perspective may be up to us.

What is the meaning of this perspective then? The implicit case inside all these pleas for perspective is that what we have done is not bad, not so bad at least. When we are done trying to deny or mitigate what we have done, we will turn to what some other has done and tell you: now this is bad. Yes it is bad. So this perspective asks that we be aware of others behavior and judge one act in terms of another. The issue of who is better - better seemingly a comparative term and exercise (an indistinction of common usage) is something, that I believe, really sorts out separately: determined by individual independent choice and action. One party's evil, cared for and nurtured, does not make another party's good.

Following evil apace down the path of humiliation, violence, murder, and destruction, devoid of human empathy, regarding that some kind of absolvement lies in the distance between you and them. In the long run this leaves only one indistinguishable group on that road. Distance and difference on that path are meaningless. In the short run it defines you as a follower. Those ahead of you determine and direct your actions, because your acts are in reaction to theirs and you justify yours by theirs. It is ensured that you will eventually pass every way point they pass, inevitably because there is ever only one choice on that slope: Down. Fundamentally this is not human endeavor directed towards justice searching towards the good. It is a game of circles and lines. Take any atrocity imaginable and try to keep it outside the diminishing line you stand by. It will always be behind you; inside your chalked circle.

There is an almost pleading tone to this NYT editorial from last week The Abu Ghraib Spin, unheeded. The military and administration circles their wagons and try to express uniform puzzlement and paucity of information Military denies pattern | in the gray zone of war (notwithstanding with some defection Army, CIA want torture truths exposed) while those outside step up the sibilant murmur of small asides trailer-park porn as they work to divide the previous "us" to provide a further them who can be pushed out into the wilderness.
1:59:46 AM    comment [];trackback [];

Tuesday, 18 May, 2004
Never look back

Made the mistake of looking over the posts here on my front page. I realized between the typos misspellings, convoluted grammar, syntax; in all an approach to writing that displays a certain aggressive antipathy towards the english language, that much of it is nearly unintelligible. Going without editors was supposed to give web logs that - je ne sais quoi quality. Additionally web loggers were supposed to demonstrate what mensch they were by being their own editors. Ha ha, I laugh until I give myself hic-ups. At best I will end up on somebody's chalkboard at some point as an example of a "curious psuedo-communication by an apparent neoprimitive homonid subspecies : blogus eratticus."

I will be breaking one of the rules of the road by going through over the last month or so and trying to fix some of the more annihilating errors. Meantime I should probably stop trying to finish posts late at night when most of my faculties have already called it a day.
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Monday, 17 May, 2004
A day in the New Territories

I'll continue from my last post with a short anecdote which doesn't really address this issue at all, probably.

At one point the carrier (USS Ranger CV 61) pulled into Hong Kong for four or five days. I have several moments I remember indelibly from this period, but this story is from the third day when I took a day long bus tour around Kowloon and the "New Territories" with two of the DP techs from our section (who were brothers). My friend Mark Edmunds is not in this story as he opted to stay in the Philippines with the squadron the previous month. The attractions of Olongapo being to attractive to give up. At one point we came to an overlook where the bus stopped and you could look out over the border: the Sham Chung River, into the People's Republic of China. The road leading from the look-out point to the bus in the parking lot was lined with venders with numerous small souvenir items. It seemed a curious tourist attraction, but the place did have a certain degree of cold war charm. There was a road and rail line leading into China that we could see below us. So I bought a pencil. I was looking at the pencil and noticed it said "made in the PRC" on it, helpfully it said this in english. Scandalized I cried out "why this pencil was made Communist China it's a communist pencil!" The old man who sold it to me said something and began to laugh, then everyone around him began to laugh. In a moment I was surrounded by a fair sized crowd of chinese people, all laughing at me. I turned very red and stood there. Finally a women stepped in to explain: "he said that not just the pencil, but he too was made in the Peoples Republic of China." It turned out that all those venders came across the border every day to sell stuff to tourists.

I went back down to the bus with my pencil, where my companions already were. "Everyone in China is a comedian", I said, "and I'm their straight man". Somewhere, I still have a slide I took of our tour guide on that bus trip, she was very cute.
10:40:29 AM    comment [];trackback [];

Friday, 14 May, 2004

Mir from Dim Sum Diaries left a comment on my last post. pointing out that the KBR narrowing of the internet pipeline from (and to) Iraq may not be occurring. At least not in the sense that Kathryn Cramers possible source indicated. Citizen Smash was the blog Mir pointed me to. In a post titled Rumor control Central he lays this at the feet of a nother milblogger (to use the nomen-de-guerre) Ginmar. Long story short blogging from the front is a hit or miss propisition. Many units and bases seem to have set up internet cafes to get connecticity - by passing the hat - using the units morale fund etc. Ginmar's unit seems to have done it by war-chalking a KBR WiFi network. If true- more power to 'em I say, but you have to be able to move on if they bitch and cut you off. I came away from that dicussion again just stunned by the changes in the way the information/communication revolution has changed. In my day as I've said before we had regular mail we would direct our folks to send to one of two or three "Fleet Post Offices" which would take about three weeks to catch up to the ship. From shore you always had the option of phone calls - at international rates. Or from the bases, Subic in the Philippines or Yokuska in Japan there was the Mars network which was a pre internet network of ham radio operators in and out of the the service. You would tell them the town and telephone no. and they would try to set up a chaining link of hams extending across the world until they got within a local call then that person would dial into the phone network at patch the signal through to your momma. You had to say "over" every time you finished speaking and it was quirky for sure, but it was free. Old School. The only computer on the Ranger was a water cooled univac that read punch cards.

The military was not any smaller back in those days. There were a lot of us out there on the waves, its just that little was going on and no one was paying much attention. We lived in a separate world and I think that suited us. Anytime that something happened to us that the people back home would hear open it would just leave us feeling vaguely uncomfortable and exposed. Like running into the oil tanker, MV Fortune, causing that major spill in Singapore. An article on Phattya beach turning up in Newsweek the same month we were there. Over the course of the four years I was in the Navy, I changed considerably as as a person. Mostly this was toward the end. The years I was in the fleet - the year overseas on the carrier I was nineteen who or what was going on in Washinton DC was of no concern of mine. I couldn't even tell you who was secretary of Defense at that time. I didn't care. The military was a parallel universe. What did we care about then? The work, there was always the work. Explaining ourselves to each other, comparing stories of growing up in different parts of the country (and one of the things you learn there is that it is a big country with a lot of different looks and feels). One of the things that united us is that we had all rolled out of high school with the crisply phrased words "not college material" hanging about our ears. We were focusing on the moment and not the life of limited possiblities that awaited us. It wasn't just a job - It was an adventure. I look on the soldiers and sailors in Iraq and the Persian Gulf, and wonder what the nineteen year old I was would do and believe among them.
11:33:15 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Wednesday, 12 May, 2004
Tying down loose ends

I think I plucked this item out of blogdex a few days ago. It's from a web log of a Kathryn Cramer Kathryn Cramer: Halliburton Pulling the Plug on GI Communications where she points to some military weblogs that state that Kellog Brown and Root (KBR), whose servers seem to be one of the main conduits for E-mail and net surfing from installations in Iraq, are limiting connectivity to only "essential" access for ninety days. This apparently at the order of the DoD. Connect this with the dot reported by Time magazine Military Personnel: Don't Read This! which reports that the DoD circulated and e-mail forbidding personnel from downloading or reading the report by General Taguba - its classified. Time links to a copy of the E mail. The Pentagon apparently is working on the doctrine that if there is no good news don't let there be any news at all. The article notes that the e-mail was promptly turned over to the press by CPA officials in Bagdad.
._._. pb _._
There was a thread on metafilter that I scanned earlier this evening (13May04) Leaking self-doubt built around a article in the British web mag Spiked that much of the story we know- the pictures of the 372nd at Abu Ghraib, the Taguba report.- was leaked from inside. I might add the CPA memo by that AEI person the Village Voice had as well. The Spiked piece it seems was playing up the Niall Ferguson theme that Americans lack the intestinal fortitude to take the reins of the empire we are in already receipt of, and our bleeding heart watery weakness and denial are the real problem.
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Monday, 10 May, 2004
In the Penal colony

("what else can I be, but all apologies"- Nirvana) The other night wednesday, Ted Koppel rounded up his broadcast by mentioning Hannah Arendt, This was nice they don't they mention Arendt enough on network TV. Her mentioned her in reference to her phrase the banality of evil which comes from her observations of the Eichmann trial. Her point was that it was not that evil was to be denied, but that one of its enduring facets was the way it could be scaled and accomplished in the most routine, organizational, dutiful, and pedestrian manner, by the most ordinary human beings, even and maybe often accompanied by vague feelings of righteousness.

Currently the Washington Hot Seat belongs to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The President spent the week in the midwest, and the Secretary of State is making few public statements. Powell at least resisted the temptation to draw a rhetorical ring around a handful of enlisted people and brand them fundamentally un-american, and blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhuman even, as Rumsfeld did. The President took care to distance himself from the Secretary both physically and politically - being in a different state while leaving an private reprimand of Rumsfeld behind to be officially leaked across the media. He also ramped up his rhetoric through the week toward something akin to a genuine apology Bush Again Apologizes for Abuse of Iraqis

As an ordinary citizen there was little to do this week but watch glumly from the side lines as this played out. This being of course the treatment of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison complex. Having been a junior enlisted person myself I can't imagine the notion of the President having to apologize to the world for something I did. In the news hollow of the week end. Its worth trying to abstract a few general lines out of this situation. First this situation is turning around the activities of one unit, individuals within one company, but this is only because of the pictures. It is really the pictures driving this not the activities. The question is whether reservists of the 372 Military Police Company are an assortment of anomalous bad apples or rather the one weak link in extended regular army, reserve army, contract interrogator chain that couldn't stay with the program and broke down. there are a couple of perspectives to take on that last.

Also what we're seeing here is the nexus of a number of different threads that have marked the current approach to the wars we are fighting. The abstraction and objectification of the enemy as the damned, pre stripped of their humanity. This is true of any war, but its never completely natural and always requires a bit of manufacture. This feed directly into the next thread is is the very large number of prisoners of the "war on terror" which despite its bellicose nomenclature does not produce prisoners of war, but rather detainees. These detainees are not accorded the formal rights that a prisoner of war would receive, they don't in fact have any formal legal status at all. They are at the mercy of a bureaucracy that does not see them as having reason, cause, or culture, only information. This has spread from the initial campaign against active Al Qaeda terrorists, to everyone rounded up in the Afghanistan war, and from there to the war on Iraq and continuing insurgency. It has been passed on by the Supreme court has has passed onward to becoming an American institution. As a Washington Post editorial A System of Abuse, an NYT Editorial The New Iraq Crisis: The Military Archipelago And the Guardian all sketched out last week This is the new gulag.

The Washington Post also weighed in with a large recapitulation of the the events with a time line on Sunday Search for Solutions Had Opposite Effect. Although most of this information did not go beyond what weblogs like Whiskey Jar had written up by midweek (something the Post actually admitted - they even referenced Alternet - on page e7 of the "webwatch" column of the Sunday business section). All this data make one thing clear the general policies on place; the 20 approved methods were approved at the highest levels of government. All this was thrown into the chaos of occupied Iraq; deliberated extended on the advice of General Miller - in contrapoint to the report of General Tagbula ( NPR : Taguba: 'Failure in Leadership' Led to Iraqi Prison Abuse). The Officer corps of the military police seeing responsibility for detainee's given to military intelligence seemed to have decided to stay away from Abu Ghraib and other prisons alltogether.

This last strain is the most problematic: Military Intelligence like so much else in Iraq and in the New Model Military seems to have been largely outsourced to civilian contracted entities. In the interest of avoiding a lot of unneccesary words on this, the purpose of this is very obvious, it is not a cost-cutting measure. It is for the purpose of shortcircuiting accountability and placing the civilian leadership of the War Department in direct and out-of-sight control of American foreign policy. It is a trend which is on a very straight and downsloping road towards privately operated militaries.

Donald Rumsfeld has said that this, while being cruel and in-humane was not torture. If that is so, may I take him by the hand and lead him into his penal colony through the doors Abu Ghraib, the kids of the 372nd strip him bare and douse him with freezing water and leave him in an empty cell and in the morning they take him down to my "special" room. Here I have my borrowed creation - one of a kind really. It is like a sewing machine. I place him on the gurney below it strap him down and start the motor. It reads his heart and begins: the scapel hand lowers and makes the rectangular incision, through the skin, on a separate rotor a device similarto garden shears reaches down and snaps away the masking bones of the rib cage. There the machine and needle embroider on the naked flesh of his living heart. "I was outraged - when I saw the photographs."
._._. pb _._
Added a few more links I intended to put in and, cleaned this up a little when I got home from work circa 11May04 20:00 edt.
11:33:35 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Tuesday, 4 May, 2004
Emperor of Ice Cream

I've hit one of those phases where just reading the news wears me out. And I flip over to iTunes when I'm done and get Dizzy Rascal to explain the world to me, or StrongBad to tell the tale of Trogdor (the burninator) one more time. Some things remain a needle in the back of my mind. I keep reading descriptions in the papers, of reporters - media people of one stripe or another - coming across one of the administration's players, a luminary such as a Rumsfeld, Rice, or a Wolfowitz. Liberal or conservative, republican or democrat they feel they have to convey over to their readers their earnest sense of awe at being in the presence of such imperial grandeur.

Candle-powered apocolocyntosian yard walkers! If I had my d'ruthers Paul Wolfowitz would be in a carefully locked padded room wearing no doubt a jacobin hat set low on his head, decorated with Dollar Store ribbons of many colors, and a securely tied strait-jacket. Flinging spittle and foam across the room as he mutters clever put-downs and cackles to no one obvious: "Murat, we will never retreat from Moscow. Whether the days grow short or long, Never!" This as he pushes little plastic soldiers into place with his tongue. and watches the encroaching tide of encircling vinyl avatars with wild eyes. "I am your Emperor, your emperor of the new world order, emperor of the New American Century. The Emperor of Ice Cream."
11:46:24 PM    comment [];trackback [];

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