September 17th, 2007

Undoing the past

A friend sent me a link to a story by John Fisk that details the destruction and looting of archaeological sites in Iraq. Because of the looting there is so much history that we will never know. Bush and the U.S. Congress have once again, through the consequences of their actions “out Orwelled Orwell.” For an example of what Fisk is talking about check out this website where for a mere $200 you can buy your very own cylinder seal from Ur.

How depressing.

August 1st, 2007

The end of an occupation (sorta)

Yesterday, after 39 years, the British army left Northern Ireland, leaving security to the Police force. Mind you, these were “English against English” (Don’t ever say ( Brits against Brits”), what I am saying is it was a conflict not blurred by intense foreign occupation. Yes, the N.I. catholics will surely think differently. 39 years. I think a congratulation is appropriate. The other question of course is: what does this learn us regarding, say, Iraq? I do of course realize there are immense differences, one being oil, but the religious divide is certainly an issue in common.

United Kingdom Northern Ireland

July 25th, 2007

The brits in Iraq

Fair use excerpt from the Guardian:

In what will be seen as an assertion of the importance of multilateralism in Mr Brown’s foreign policy, Mr Alexander said: “In the 20th century a country’s might was too often measured in what they could destroy. In the 21st century strength should be measured by what we can build together. And so we must form new alliances, based on common values, ones not just to protect us from the world, but ones which reach out to the world.” He described this as “a new alliance of opportunity”.

He added: “We need to demonstrate by our deeds, words and our actions that we are internationalist, not isolationist, multilateralist, not unilateralist, active and not passive, and driven by core values, consistently applied, not special interests.”

With some neocons in the Bush administration nervous at the direction of Mr Brown’s foreign policy, following the appointment of the former UN deputy secretary Lord Malloch-Brown as foreign minister, Mr Alexander went out of his way to underline the special relationship, but challenged the US and its partners “to recognise the importance of a rules based international system”.

Rumors are growing that even the Brits will leave, now that Blair is gone.

July 25th, 2007

The Danish army left Iraq

The small (400+ troups) Danish contribution to the “liberation” of Iraq has withdrawn, taking around 250 Iraqi’s with them, being translators and their family member, out of fear they would be targeted after they had left. The Iraqi’s will have asylum status in Denmark.

June 18th, 2007

The boys in Afghanistan – part 2

As I wrote earlier, we have about 1500 soldiers in Afghanistan. Today, the 8th died. 4 in accidents, 1 suicide, 1 roadside bomb, 1 attack in a suicide-attack with a car-bomb, that also killed 5 children. Todays victim was probably killed in an accident with ammunition, news is still sparse.

Let me see. 8 dead in 10 months on a group of 1500, so that is 6.4 killed per 1000 per year. As a comparision, 3526 US soldiers died in Iraq in 1550 days *), on a force of I think (correct me pls) 200.000, that makes about 1.1 killed per 1000 per year. Another math trick? How about killed per year per 1.000.000 inhabitants? Our boys: approximately 0.56, US troops in Iraq about 2.8. Kinda logical is we’ve sent about 1/10000th of our population to Afghanistan, where the US deployed approximately 1/1500th.

*) I am not entirely sure if this number also includes the non-combat deaths.

Tough eh? War in numbers?

Added: As you realize, I like to find links between the US and my country. David Axe is a US correspondent based in the Dutch stronghold, called “Camp Holland”. Here is one of his reports.

May 21st, 2007

The ranch

Jaap de Hoop-Scheffer. Who? Jaap de Hoop-Scheffer. He is the NATO secretary-general and a Dutchman. OMG!!! He is visiting the ranch! OMG!! How coooooooool!

George’s agenda: get more NATO servicemen into Afghanistan so American soldiers can be diverted to Iraq. Why? Well erm, the Brits will call it a day soon. Yoohoooooo, darlings, THE WAR IN IRAQ IS LOST, get it in your skulls.

May 20th, 2007

The top from under

Today, “Peace mom” Sandy Sheehan, mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, who got famous by fiercely camping at the entrance of George Bush’s ranch, was in Amsterdam today, to speak to the crowds of a very broad anti-G8 top demonstration, called “The top from under”. With our boys long gone, but an absolute refusal by our government to investigate the decision to support the war, she claimed “Anyone refusing military support, but still giving political support, bears the same responsibility for the crimes committed”. Sheehan turned out to be gifted speaker. The only serious mistake she made was when she said “Bush, Blair and Balkenende [our prime minister] should rot in hell”. That doesn’t go very well here.

On a related subject. With Blair with one foot out of Downing Street 10, his successor Gordon Brown is expected to announce withdrawal of British troops from Iraq soon. Lesson #1: if you loose the people, you loose the war. The Brits really tried in Basra, but of course it all went wrong. Time to face the hard truth my friends, the war is lost.

Added May 29th: Sheena resigned, probably totally disappointed by the Democrat leadership’s folding to the funding bill. As I understand, the patch of land she bought to circumvent the local authorities ban on camping, of course only instated to “think her away” from the ranch’s entry and to be used to build a rehab center for veterans, is up for sale. Sad.

May 9th, 2007

The gas

Frans van Anraat is a country man of mine. He is, or maybe I should say was a businessman. Today he was sentenced by the appeal court to 17 years of imprisonment for the trade of hundreds of tons of thiodiglycol (TDG) in the 80′s,  a crucial ingredient of the gas Sadam Hussein used to kill tens of thousands of Kurds. He showed no remorse at all. Justice at last. A bit.

May 6th, 2007

The micro or macro view question

Macro view (simplistic)

In Iraq, the Shiites are our friends, the Sunni’s are the enemy. Reasoning: Hussein was a Sunni. Please note that this is the same simplistic reasoning as “Iran is our enemy, Hussein fights Iran, ergo Hussein is our friend”. The Kurds in Northern Iraq, wanting their own state and in conflict with both Iraq as wel as Turkey, are viewed benevolent. Right? RIGHT? Think for a second please if this corresponds with your image of this part of the Middle East.

Micro view (simplistic)

I must confess I stumbled over the video is the day before yesterday before the story appeared on Boing Boing, but then decided it would not post it as there was no caption where it happened and why, and it actually made me sick, not my goal for this blog. The Amnesty report is the most objective I guess, but then, who wants to be objective?

In a short mobile video clip which appears to have been taken by locals at seen of the murder, the girl is seen being ambushed on her way home by a group of up to 1000 men who were waiting for her to return; the men killed her in the most brutal way possible, by throwing large stones on her head. The following clips show that while she is alive and crying for help she is taunted and kicked in her stomach until someone finishes her off by throwing a large stone on her face.

One moment there is a 17 year old girl, maybe bright, maybe stupid, maybe beautiful, maybe ugly, but certainly promising. 30 minutes later, after a barbarian scene, there is only the smell of fear and death and a pulped body. It is so, so wrong, no matter the “crime”.

March 13th, 2007

The numbers turned visual

I usually don’t repost Boing Boing entries, as I suspect most readers will look there too, but this one needs to be. Images say more than a 655.000 words. Java viewer. Big. I feel sad.