June 20, 2008 (No Responses)
WAR IS IN THE WIND. Or at least that’s what the IsraeliÂ military want everyone to think since Israeli forces have just staged an ‘exercise’ which pretty much replicates a full scale attack on Iran and in particular the Iranian nuclear facilities. Read more
March 24, 2008 (4 Responses)
THE PAPERS and online news sites are full of stories today relating to the mounting death toll in Iraq, specifically the US troops death toll, because the official figure has reached 4000 deadÂ apparently; the latest to die were four soldiers whose patrol vehicle was blown up by a bomb in southern Baghdad on Sunday last weekend.
Most of the commentators and journalists are drawing comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam at this point, and reaching conclusions such as the US cannot successfully fight more than 2 “small wars” at once with any chance of emerging victorious.
I’ve written previously about the mounting civillian casualties and deaths in Iraq which just continues to spiral out of control and out of sight for most people. Back in October 2006 I posted an article citing the estimated civilian casualties at over 650,000, and things have only gone from bad to worse since then.Â Multiple sources seem to agreeÂ thatÂ this estimate is reasonably accurate and yet it still continues to be largely ignored.
What struck me as odd today however – because I suffer from the same infomation overload and statistic fatigue that everyone else does when talking about Iraq – is that of those 4000 US dead 97% of them happened after Bush declared victory in the “battle for Iraq” back on May 1st 2003 when he said that “major combat” was over.
Anyone else think this is just a teensy weensy bit of a PR problem for the outgoing el presidente and the republican party in general?
To quote from his speech directly:-
The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001 — and still goes on. That terrible morning, 19 evil men — the shock troops of a hateful ideology — gave America and the civilized world a glimpse of their ambitions. They imagined, in the words of one terrorist, that September the 11th would be the “beginning of the end of America.” By seeking to turn our cities into killing fields, terrorists and their allies believed that they could destroy this nation’s resolve, and force our retreat from the world. They have failed.
That was then and this is now. Fast forward to 2008 and el presidente is still making victory speeches about the “successes in Iraq” on the five year anniversary of the
illegal invasion war conflict in Iraq.
I’m sure the families of the dead 4000 US soldiers, the families of the 650,000 dead Iraqi civiliians and probably the relatives of US troops still on the ground over there in Iraq are really looking forward to his next victory speech…. oh wait, that’s right, he’s out of office at the end of the year isn’t he?
I guess it will be someone else from the Whitehouse making the regular victory speech in a year or soÂ and all we will have to do is update the death toll figures again in response.
March 1, 2008 (3 Responses)
October 9, 2007 (One Response)
IT’S NOT THAT LONG ago that I wrote a piece on the latest trend towards handing over everything to the machines (you laugh now, but stick around, it’s coming!) and in that instance it was the UK military in the frame with their latest unmanned hunter killer robots.Â Eh no – this is not a piss take, it’s actually happening.
Today it’s the turn of the yanks in the endless quest towards outsourcing everything a soldier could do to a machine instead. I refer of course to the so-called “Master Plan” from the US Navy to develop and deploy a fleet of unmanned surface vessels (USVs) to help win the global war on yawn, boring, etc; you get the idea. This master plan – no really, that’s what they call the document – was published back in July 23rd this year and includes multiple types of surface robotic and heavilly armed vessels.
Don’t you just feel safer all ready?
Still, not to be outdone by those water-lovers the US land lubbers (aka the Pentagon) has been developing tiny insect like robots as well, and as recently as yesterday there have been reports of seeing these little buggers in the wild, as printed by the Washington Post. These insect drones can be used for recon work, for spying on people, they can be used to help guide some nice big fat missiles to a target, hell they could even be used to kill someone directly, and now they areÂ out and about in the population and streets of the USA.
Still clinging to that illusion of safety?
There used to be a time we were all woried about the Russian commie pinko bastards taking over the world. Then it was the turn of the Chinese. Then it was the aliens with their fiendish rectal probes, and now it’s the machines.
I guess some things never change, but really – do we have to help speed upÂ the rise of the machines toÂ world domination by handing it to them on a plate?
September 25, 2007 (No Responses)
I REMEMBER many years ago talking to an Irish army ranger buddy who was about to sign up for his third tour in Lebanon. He had a wife, a young child and pretty decent family to support him back here, but each time the opportunity came, he went back into the mouth of hell for another tour of duty.
I knew that the pay was better, much better than simply serving here at home… but that wasn’t what drew him back each time. It was much more basic than that, but yet something I’d never actually considered until then.
What pulled him into harms way every time was the opportunity to do what he had been training to do all his career, but never really getting the opportunity to do it since Ireland is basically a neutral country. Basically he got to get his gun off, for want of a better way of putting it… and it became addictive. Where else was he going to try out all the new techniques and get to do some fun gun stuff?
Today, as I read that the latest tactic being put to use by some elements of the US forces in Iraq is what’s called “baiting”, I’m reminded of that conversation with the Irish ranger. Baiting involves essentially planting some potentially interesting items in the vicinity (detonation cords, weapons, expolsives, ammunitionÂ etc.) and then staking the area out from a distance with snipers. Any poor sods who happen to come along and pickÂ something up are then classed as an enemy and promptly shot if they try to walk away with the item in question.
In other words, target practice for the lads… fun gun stuff out where the rules don’t apply any more.
When I read about this today I just thought to myself… here we go again. In the middle of a war zone the rules tend to go out the window when it suits, and right now what better way to get some real honest-to-gawd sniping practice in than to basically bait some traps around the place and wait for the perfect shot. Where else are these lads going to get that sort of practice? As the t-shirts over at Tshirtinsurgency.com say, could this be the Best War Ever? Read more
June 16, 2007 (One Response)
LANGUAGE IS A WONDERFUL thing, but it’s also a convenient way to mask the truth sometimes. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter yes? Are they prisoners of war or “Enemy Combatants” over there in Gitmo? When does Iraq become a civil war and not a police action? Actually when does a conflict become a war? The list is endless.
The use of language has always been a very powerful weapon in the politics of persuasion and the media generally laps it up and plays along because it’s all good press and sells newspapers and TV advertising slots. It’s a perfect symbiotic relationship between the media, the politicans and the consumers. The politicians invent the lie, the media propagates it and the public eat it up willingly and convince themselves that they are “informed” as a result.
So how informed are you about the
cyberwar cyberterror information warfare denial of service issue which occurred in Estonia earlier this year? Did you realise it was the beginning of the end? Have youÂ started buildingÂ your electronic proof bunker yet?
In April Estonia’s government moved a Soviet-era war memorial commemorating an unknown Russian killed fighting the Germans. Not a big deal you would think, but you’d be wrong. Estonia broke away from the then Soviet Union back in 1991 and has been making it’s own decisions and carving it’s own future ever since then. This seemingly innocuousÂ decision to move the statue sparked off riots in the country between the ethnic russian communities and those who couldn’t care less about the “old country”. To make matters worseÂ in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin very publicly criticized Estonia and demonstrators blockaded the Estonian embassy.
And that’s about the point when things started to go all cyberpunk and weird and the cyberwar broke out… Read more
June 13, 2007 (2 Responses)
IT’S ALL GOING WRONG for Bush & Co. these days. Last week the prosecutions’ cases against the first two Guantanamo detainees fell apart due to the language used in the Military Commissions Act. As if this wasn’t embarrasing enough for the current US administration, a court in Richmond, Virginia last night ruled that President Bush cannot order the military to indefinitely imprison a suspected al-Qaeda operative as an “enemy combatant“.
Given that all the 380 odd remaining detainees at Gitmo are currently classed as “enemy combatants” this poses a bit of a problem for ol’ Dubya and his cronies.
As enlightened as this ruling sounds, it’s not all clear sailing however. The powers that be could simply just decide to transfer the prisoners from Gitmo to somewhere in the mainland USA and then process them from there. At that point the government could still transferÂ detainees to civilian authorities to face criminal charges, initiate deportation proceedings, holdÂ them as witnesses in a grand jury case or detainÂ them for a limited period under the Patriot Act – so basically there are still options, however perverted, to the legal beagles in Bush & Co. should they wish to take them… but it’s still a hugeÂ embarrasment on the part of the administrationÂ in failingÂ actually bring a single successful case against any detainee thus far. And it just goes from bad to worse… Read more