March 16th, 2012

The horrific shooting and the fallout

It is reported here that the US will not co-operate with the investigation on that awful shooting by the soldier, killing three families. It might be reporting bias, I don’t know. It seems to me that the “let us handle this, we know better” attitude, amplified by the man being flown out of the country, is simply making the US image abroad worse?

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying “toss the guy over to the Afghans”. I am not so ignorant. He’d probably be quartered or something. Somehow I do not believe (a supposed) metal disorder would be regarded whatsoever. But not co-operating in the investigation?

Jesse Helms in a micro cosmos. Sigh.


February 2nd, 2012

The Gun

I don’t like weapons. At all. I don’t like war (naturally), I do not like the excesses of war. I don’t appreciate violence (which is why I hardly watch any television anymore). Then on TED, with a definite Dutch accent, Peter van Uhm, the Dutch chief of defense, explains why he choose The Gun.

Maybe it is good to mention that in my country we have no tradition of “respect for the soldier”, the “honor of serving once country”, that is rooted far far deeper in US society.

Note: Van Uhm lost a son in the Afghanistan war in 2008.художник на икониИкони на светци

January 2nd, 2012

The casualties

I have no idea how “hot” Iraq is in the US after the withdrawal of the troops. Notwithstanding, IraqBodyCount published the latest data, all in interactive, informative graphs. Some data:

  • Total body count: 162.000
  • Civilian percentage: 79% those 162.000
  • Under age 18: 8.5% of deaths with obtained age record (45.779)

The number of civilian deaths in Iraq in 2011 was almost at the same level as in 2010 – there has now been no noticeable downward trend since mid-2009. As observed in IBC’s previous annual report, recent trends indicate a persistent low-level conflict in Iraq that will continue to kill civilians at a similar rate for years to come.1 While these data indicate no improvement, time will tell whether the withdrawal of US forces will have an effect on casualty levels.

July 19th, 2011

The last of the scumbags

My country has been involved in the balkan war in a weird way. The mass-murdering in Srebreniza and the inability of the troups (under UN command) to do anything about it has left rather serious wounds. On the other hand, we house the The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.

A few weeks ago, Serbia arrested Ratko Mladic and send him to the ICTY. This morning, Goran Hadzic, the very last on the wanted list of the tribunal was arrested and will be in The Hague soon.

Added: he is being flown here as I write this (Fri 7/19)

A good thing. These people are the worst. They commanded the execution of thousands of people, mostly innocent civilians. War criminals like that should be caught and sentenced.

More on the nest: They got him

June 20th, 2011

Blow your brains out with the help of “100.5 The Fox,” KBFX.

Enjoying the tunes that Alice Cooper is playing on his syndicated radio show broadcast tonight by KBFX, “100.5 the Fox.” KBFX is a “classic rock” FM station owned by Clear Channel Communications – a “right wing” media monopoly. I find the frequent Army National Guard commercials, broadcast by KBFX, commercials that feature a come on that enlisting in The Guard might provide a sign-up bonus that MIGHT provide enough money to pay off student loans to the many unemployed college grads (up to $50,000) a real downer. Don’t try contacting anybody at this Clear Channel station to complain, the contact link goes nowhere. BTW the military commercials on KBFX are sponsored, at least in part, by the Alaska Broadcasters Association; who are these people and what are they up to? Tell ‘em what you think.

January 27th, 2010

To not forget

Today, after 112 hours, the reading of 102.000 names of people who were transported through the Nazi deportation camp Westerbork in my country and then onwards by cattle train to the extermination camps in Poland came to an end with the last name on the memorial, Heinrich Zysmanowicz.

The youngest reader was 11, the oldest 80. A few by telephone from the US and Israël.

Let us not ever forget the evil that can be created and nourished by hatred. Let us not forget what administrations can do if they know too much (is that why they are called “administrations”?); the round up of Jews in WWII was ultra efficient in my country because of the wonderfully complete and precise record keeping.

January 24th, 2010

The legality of the invasion

After years of stalling, my administration finally caved in a few months ago and “allowed” a commission of wise men to investigate how we were led into the Iraq war.

Quick reminder: when the US started the 2nd Iraq war, we were asked to join the coalition. The administration cowardly refused to send our boys and girls in, but supported the invasion by mouth. The actual words were “we do not provide any military support, but do support the Iraq invasion politically. As soon as the “mission was completed”, read Saddam was pushed out of the way, our military did go in for “peacekeeping”, in the Basra area.

Last week, the commission produced its final report and concluded the principal argument to support the war (Iraq not acting according to the U.N. resolutions) was not enough juridical basis. One member insisted on stating that other reasons beyond i.e. self-defence might indeed condone going to war, but this argument was always firmly rejected by the administration.

The administration was not amused and after two days of serious political tensions issued a statement that “in hindsight, with the knowledge of today, another decision might have been taken”. A statement that was quickly dismissed by Davids, the commissions chairman, stating there were absolutely no new insights revealed to the administration by his commission.

This week, the same process is going on in the U.K., who did go in with the U.S. military. The Guardian:

Tony Blair’s decision to take Britain to war in Iraq was illegal, the Foreign Office’s former chief legal adviser will tell the Chilcot inquiry this week.

The Observer has been told that Sir Michael Wood, who was the FO’s most senior lawyer, is ready to reveal that, in the run-up to war, he was of the opinion that the conflict would have been unlawful without a second UN resolution. This will provide an explosive backdrop to the former prime minister’s appearance before the inquiry on Friday.

Don’t hold your breath: I very, very much doubt this will have any political consequences. The best we can hope is things will be done a tiny bit smarter in the future.

January 23rd, 2010

Stop Loss sucks

Search that on Google (or some other engine).

December 1st, 2009

It’s time for a military draft

If President Obama, who I voted for because I thought he was progressive, sends 30,000 troops into Afghanistan it’s time to institute compulsory military service in the United States. Our military has depended on “Stop Loss,” the ultimate Catch-22, to keep volunteers in the military seemingly for ever. I think that doctors, lawyers and bankers should be forced to have their sons and daughters placed in harms way. The Stop Loss policies first embraced by President George Bush the lesser and currently embraced by Barack Obama guarantee that so many military volunteers have no way of knowing when they have fulfilled their contract with The State. For the most part the folks that are fighting the battles resulting from the lip service paid to National Security by a rarefied group of elites that love to wave
“our flag,” come from the poor sectors of our society. Interestingly most of those elites huffing and puffing the loudest have never had to carry arms in battle. It’s time to spread the risk among all – rich and poor alike.

April 25th, 2009

Anzac Day – April 25

when will we ever learn?

Waltzing Matilda, performed by Redgum:

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