Iraq war and occupationof his new marching orders for Iraq society, "Order No. 2," ordering the immediate disbanding of the Iraqi Army, disbanding the Ministries of Defense and the Interior, and all of Hussein's bodyguards and special paramilitary organizations. (Reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn give the date as May 23.)
Iraq war and occupationAccording to the BBC report, the "story is one of the most stunning pieces of news management ever conceived." Contrary to Army claims that Lynch suffered gunshot wounds while fighting against savage Iraqi gunmen, the reality, according to her Iraqi doctor and later confirmed by the Army and Lynch herself, is that she broke her arm and her thigh when her vehicle crashed. "There was no [sign of] shooting, no bullet inside her body, no stab wound -- only road traffic accident," explains the doctor who treated her, Harith al-Houssona. "They want to distort the picture. I don't know why they think there is some benefit in saying she has a bullet injury." Two days before her "rescue," Iraqi doctors had actually tried to return her to an American unit; when the doctors' vehicle approached a US checkpoint, they were fired upon, forcing their return to the hospital.
Conservative media slant"There must have been two wars in Iraq. There was the war I saw and wrote about as a print journalist embedded with a tank company of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized). Then there was the war that many Americans saw, or wanted to see, on TV. I saw and wrote about a war that was confusing and chaotic, as are all wars. ...It was a war in which civilians died and were horribly wounded. It was a war in which soldiers questioned the intelligence they received, the logistics lines that had trouble supplying them with water and spare parts, and the reasons they were fighting the war. Apparently that is not the war the TV-viewing and occasional newspaper-reading public wanted to see or thought it saw. The war they saw, or thought they saw, on TV was meticulously planned, flawlessly executed -- and not a single member of the armed forces had a complaint or problem. Few civilians died in that war. ...When I wrote in one story about 'bloody street fighting in Baghdad,' it appeared the morning TV viewers were seeing jubilant Marines and Iraqi civilians tearing down statues of Saddam Hussein on the eastern side of the Tigris River. Some readers, believing all of Baghdad was like that, were livid. They did not grasp the fact that, on the western side of the river, pitched battles were still taking place. Because they did not see it on TV, it was not happening. And it did not fit their view of the war. Many who wrote me questioned not only my patriotism but my ancestry and my sexual orientation. Many fell back on the old canard that all media are left-wingers. 'Ron, if it's going so badly, why don't you just join the other side and cheer for them instead?' wrote one. 'Millions of patriotic Americans are just sick and tried of the constant hate the military, hate Bush, hate America drivel you spew forth masquerading as 'good' journalism,' wrote another. ...When I voiced complaints from soldiers about lack of mail, water, and spare parts, they were called 'whiners' and 'crybabies' [by viewers]. And when I quoted one soldier who had been under fire almost daily for four weeks complaining about faulty intelligence, one reader suggested he be stripped of his uniform and sent home in disgrace." (Editor and Publisher)
GOP's contempt for democracyafter being asked not to smoke cigars in a building owned by the federal government. When informed that smoking is illegal in federal buildings, DeLay snarls, "I am the federal government." (DCCC)
Iraq war and occupationBoth are worried about the combat continuing in the areas north of Baghdad; though the Iraqis still fighting are ill-equipped for the contest and are being slaughtered, they continue to fight a hopeless battle. Both agree that the quick installation of a new Iraqi government will encourage the fighting to come to a close, but that isn't happening. Garner then turns to the topic of de-Ba'athification, a policy ordered by new administrator Paul Bremer (see above items). "John, I'm telling you. If you do this it's going to be ugly. It'll take ten years to fix this country, and for three years you'll be sending kids home in body bags." "I hear you, I hear you," Abizaid says, and asks Garner to remain in Iraq. Garner says, "I can't stay."
Media manipulation and marketing by GOPCNN writes, "Officials of past Democratic and Republican administrations marvel at how the White House does not seem to miss an opportunity to showcase Mr. Bush in dramatic and perfectly lighted settings. It is all by design: the White House has stocked its communications operation with people from network television who have expertise in lighting, camera angles and the importance of backdrops." In a speech promoting his economic plan in Indianapolis a few days ago, White House officials asked people in the crowd behind Bush to remove their ties so that they would look "more like the ordinary folk the president said would benefit from his tax cut." Michael Deaver, Ronald Reagan's chief "image maker," says "They understand the visual as well as anybody ever has. They watched what we did, they watched the mistakes of Bush I, they watched how Clinton kind of stumbled into it, and they've taken it to an art form." The administration has spent lavish amounts on its self-promotion. For the prime-time television address that Bush delivered to the nation on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the White House rented three barges of giant Musco lights, the kind used to illuminate sports stadiums and rock concerts, sent them across New York Harbor, tethered them in the water around the base of the Statue of Liberty, and then blasted them upward to illuminate all 305 feet of America's symbol of freedom. It was the ultimate patriotic backdrop for Bush, who spoke from Ellis Island. For a speech that Bush delivered last summer at Mount Rushmore, the White House positioned the best platform for television crews off to one side, not head on as other White Houses have done, so that the cameras caught Bush in profile, his face perfectly aligned with the four presidents carved in stone. And for remarks Bush made promoting his tax cut plan near Albuquerque, the White House unfurled a backdrop that proclaimed its message of the day, "Helping Small Business," over and over. The type was too small to be read by most in the audience, but just the right size for television viewers at home.
War with IranBush has publicly encouraged the Iranian people to replace their Islamic theocracy with a more democratic and representative government, but privately he and his aides are known to be keenly interested in more direct methods of toppling the Iranian government. Several knowledgeable observers say that the alliance of warhawks seems to be winning the debate. "There is a pact emerging between hawks in the administration, Jewish groups and Iranian supporters of Reza Pahlavi [the exiled son of the former shah of Iran] to push for regime change," says Pooya Dayanim, president of the Iranian-Jewish Public Affairs Committee in Los Angeles and a supporter of US action against Iran.
Iraq war and occupationPaul Bremer's offices are across the courtyard. As the meeting begins, Bremer has Abizaid summoned from the meeting to discuss something in his offices. "As soon as we finish this meeting," Abizaid tells Bremer's envoy, Clay McManaway. "Now," McManaway says. Garner tells Abizaid to go ahead and report to Bremer. Minutes later, McManaway comes back and tells McKiernan he needs to report to Bremer. Garner tells McKiernan to leave. Another general asks Garner if they should even bother having the meeting. Garner continues, thinking that the issues on the table -- the Iraqi ministries, back pay, police, water, electricity, sewage, fuel, food, governance, health, and security -- are just the essence of Iraq's future. Who could give a sh*t? he muses. Garner's deputy Ron Adams later recalls that he was "disgusted" by Bremer's obvious tactics. "We were being marginalized," he later says. After the meeting, Garner storms into Bremer's office and, exerting restraint, does not slam the door. "Don't you ever do that to me again," he orders. Bremer feigns ignorance. "What do you mean?" Garner snaps, "If you ever have me in a meeting and you start pulling people out of it --" Garner cuts himself off and then says, "You give me more respect than that. I'll tell you what. I'll make it easy on you, Jerry. I'm going home." Bremer leaps out of his seat. "You can't go home," he retorts. "I can't work with you," Garner says, "and I'm leaving. What you just did in there -- I've never had anybody do something like that to me before, and I'll never let you do something like that again." "I didn't know what was going on," Bremer protests. "That's bullsh*t," Garner snaps. "You knew exactly what was going on." An apparently contrite Bremer finally convinces Garner to stay, but Garner warns him, "I'll work on a day-to-day contract with you. The next time you piss me off, I'm gone. There's a couple of things that I'd like to finish, and I don't think it'll take me long. And once I finish with these things then I'll come shake your hand and leave."
Iraq war and occupationthe US's refusal to let UN and IAEA weapons inspection teams back into Iraq. He and the UN's head weapons inspector Hans Blix (ElBaradei's predecessor as chief of the IAEA) have found themselves at odds with the US over the issue of Iraq's so-called WMD programs. The IAEA refused to bow to pressure from the US to declare Iraq in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. (Guardian)
Iraq war and occupationIn the days after the order, vehicles traveling the road between Baghdad and the airport begin regularly coming under attack. Large crowds gather to protest the order. "We demand the formation of a government as soon as possible, the restoration of security, rehabilitation of public institutions, and disbursement of the salaries of all military personnel," one protester, former major general Sahib al-Musawi, says. "If our demands are not met, next Monday will mark the start of estrangement between the Iraqi army and people on the one hand and the occupiers on the other." Colonel Paul Hughes, the member of Jay Garner's staff working on disbursing his proposed $20 emergency payments to the now-fired military soldiers, is told by the spokesman for the group of Iraqi military officers he has been working with, "We have men who have families. They have no food. We need to do something." Hughes promises he will try to get them the payments. (Bob Woodward)
"First, let me make it very clear, poor people aren't necessarily killers. Just because you happen to be not rich doesn't mean you're willing to kill." -- George W. Bush, May 19
Domestic spying"Terrorism Information Awareness" program, apparently feeling that such a name change will soothe the worries of angry citizens and groups who have protested against the prospect of surrendering large amounts of Constitutionally mandated privacy to TIA. The document says in part, "Previously known as Total Information Awareness, this name created in some minds the impression that TIA was a system to be used for developing dossiers on American citizens. This is not DoD's interest in pursuing this program. Rather, DoD's purpose in pursuing these efforts is to protect U.S. citizens by detecting and defeating foreign terrorist threats before an attack. To make this objective absolutely clear, DARPA has changed the program name to Terrorism Information Awareness." Congress suspended funding for the program in February 2003 pending a DoD review of its privacy implications. (DARPA, Electronic Privacy Information Center)