Iraq isn't the only place with snipers running loose...
The references to SecDef Rumsfeld 'ignoring Pentagon advice' that more forces would be needed than were allocated are, on the face of it, troubling. Reading a bit further into the article summary, however, the tone of the source of the allegations sounds more like a disgruntled partisan in the ongoing internecine infighting that occurs within the five sided wind tunnel. And a pretty immature one at that. It is one thing to advocate a certain position during the decision making process, to make your case, and seek your contribution's incorporation, sometimes vehemently - that's what those folks get paid the big extra staff bucks to do. It is quite another to continue the knife fight into the public realm when your pet approach is dismissed or rejected. That's just plain petty, vindictive, and cowardly. So, Mr. 'unidentified senior Pentagon planner' got the satisfaction of dumping his load of sour grapes. Bully for him. Maybe he was just shooting his mouth off. That's ok, right? Sure, until you take that and combine it with 'an unnamed former high-level intelligence official' (translation - out of the loop, uninvolved with current planning or situation, but happy to pontificate to his bud Mr. Hersch about crap he really doesn't have the facts on) saying 'the war was now a stalemate' and..guess what, spin city time. So what have we got? The formula reads out as: disgruntled whiner + clueless loudmouth windbag + journo itching to dish dirt and sell copy. Final product? The steaming POS article going out under the New Yorker banner in it's 7 April edition.
A FORMER ISRAELI COMMANDO WRITES As he's now in private life in aniother country, he'd prefer to remain as low-profile as possible, but I know him personally and can vouch for his authenticity and military service.

Just to set the Sayeret Golani record straight. The Sayeret Golani are widely regarded as the best field fighting unit in the IDF. The Matcal are the hide and seek and semi-spook show whereas the Sayeret Golani are the IDF unit that was fashioned on the original SAS and has adapted using the SAS doctrine to meet the threats in their theatre. Some folk think its the Israeli equivalent of the US Rangers but this underestimates its levels of training which allow it an operational flexibility that far exceeds the Rangers. Apart from its recconaissance role, especially LRRP behind enemy lines, it is considered to be best strike unit in the IDF and is used for doing things like taking out terrorist bases and vital enemy positions behind lines, seek and destroy ambushes of targets of opportunity behind enemy lines, spearheading frontal assaults ahead of main assault forces to take out key defensive positions, and anti-terror operations in urban warfare environments. It can operate in patrols of 4 (ala SAS), as pairs (LRRP), as a unit of 12 (ambushes) or in a group of up to 60 (about its full non-reserve operational strength) to spearhead an assualt. A look at its history shows that it is by far and away the most active Sayeret in the IDF and has performed more operations than any other Special Forces unit...including Matcal...by a long shot. Even when the Golani Brigade was considered second rate to the Para's its Sayeret was always considered to be the best kick-arse, hard-driving and devastating unit in the IDF. It has never failed to acheive an objective in combat...even when this has meant taking very high casualties with as many as 1/3 killed and just about everyone else wounded to some degree. And now, back to matters at hand. I see that Rummy has picked up on the threat from Syria. You know that the Iraqis managed to slip out large numbers of WMD and delivery vehicles across the Syrian border before the inspectors got back into Iraq. I guess some of those weapons are being discretely repatriated. If Rummy is looking to draw Syria out into the open (and the Iranians too) he had better be prepared for one hell of a fight. The Israelis will target Damascus and the rest of the Arab world will rip itself apart as the 'street' demands other Arab governments come to Iraq and Syria's assistance. Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt will be in absolute turmoil. But maybe this is Rummy's plan...it would certainly get GW's born-again juices running. In the end we could see regimes deposed in Iraq, Syria, Iran and possibly several other Arab countries. Chaos will reign in the region. If that happens it will be a bloody mess for the US and alliance to sort out. Under those circumstances I don't know if the Alliance could -- or even should attempt to -- sort out the leadership vacuum in those countries...but then again...total defeat may make the population more willing to accept the hand-outs and patronage from America...amazing what the mother of invention (necessity) can do in sorting out people's poor attitudes. BTW: Why doesn't anyone at HQ think that these Baghdad market bombings are -- in fact -- container bombs being exploded by the regime (fedayeen) in market places during the wee hours to engender domestic and international outcry ad sympathy for the regime? The damage I'm seeing on television -- lots of pock-mark sized damage in the walls of buildings that are very low to the ground, shallow craters suggesting a street level blast without predetonation impact, burnt-out cars still largely intact -- does not look at all like the type of damage you'd expect from the explosion of a 1000 - 2000lb cruise-missile or bomb warhead. Damage from ballbearings, metal shavings with collected pieces of cruise-missile shrapnel taken from real missile impact sites and thrown into the shrapnel mix, and incendiary gel to make things burn, is what these market bomings look like to me. I'd say these are flimsy container bombs (which leave very little eveidence of their packaging) of approxmately 500kg and remotely detonated. Also, the bombs appear to be going off in overwhelmingly Shi'ite neighborhoods. Strange that. Could Saddam be trying to prevent a Shi'ite uprising by getting them even more fearful and pissed-off with the infidel Americans? NO! Surely not!

To add fuel to this theory, there's a bit more evidence coming to light that the market explosions were in fact staged by the Saddamites.

Saddam Hussein has sacked his commander of air defences after a series of surface-to-air missiles malfunctioned and landed on residential areas of Baghdad, Downing Street has claimed. The Prime Minister's official spokesman stopped short of saying that Iraqi missiles were responsible for explosions in two market places in the city this week. But he said that the new intelligence gave reason for "scepticism" over Saddam's claims that the Coalition was to blame for the blasts, which together killed around 65 civilians.

IS IT JUST ME... ...or is SBS newsreader Lee-Lin Chin looking even more like a frog in a fright-wig these days?
LITTLE BOBBY FISK Many years ago, in the mists of pre-history, or as they say here in Australia, back when the blacks were bad, a little boy called Robert Fisk thought he'd become a journalist and tell the truth to the world. You and I know that never happened, and time is running out for him to repent his sins. To show that he's always been an arrogant, self-opinionated prick, I present the following - Robert Fisk and the Magic Roadblock. On or about 1973, Northern Ireland was not exactly the cushiest post in the British Army. And in the whole of Ulster, South Armagh was regarded as quite possibly the worst place in the world to be a soldier. It was bandit country, with roadside bombs, ambushes, off-duty cops getting their throats cut...oh yes, the famous hospitality of the Emerald Isle was in full swing. As was the legendary ability of the locals to spin tall tales. The lies they told the security forces! It was amazing. Such inventiveness and cunning. Now this mate of mine was a downy-cheeked one-pipper of a 2nd Lieutenant at the time, and drew night patrol duty out of Crossmaglen during the height of the unpleasantness. A couple of nights before the incident I'm about to relate, he'd lost one of his men to a command-detanated mine. They'd managed to nail one of the bastards who did it when they spotted the hide, but the second Paddy decided (stupidly, naturally) to try legging it across a field when the section's recon by fire into the hide took the top of his pal's head clean off and splashed the brains over the fancy new camo clobber he'd got from the Che Guevara Spring Revolutionary Style catalogue. One of my mate's blokes brought the Paddy down by shooting his legs out from under him, and at the subsequent trial the Judge had to let the swine go, because the section hadn't actually see the guy leave the hide the mine had been detonated from (they tracked the wires back to it). The other guys brains were all over him, there was nowhere else he could have been, and he was a known dirt-bag in the district, but nothing could be done. Anyway, a couple of afternoons after this excitement, this patrol which my mate is in charge of (he's an old fella these days, but he was pretty young back then) is manning a roadblock. Up comes Bobby Fisk in his Mini, and they stop him. He packs a big sad, and starts yelling the place down about how he's an important journalist and this is British Army harrasment, and he's on first name terms with the Chief Constable and he'll have my mate's pips for this, just basically carrying on like the giant penis he's always been. Having failed the old attitude test, my mate decides the best thing for all concerned is if they subject this cock's car to the automotive equivalent of a full body cavity search. Any of you who have done this will know that it involves ripping the seats out, taking all the wheels off, turning it on its side...I mean, they basically take it apart. Fisk's head just about explodes while all this is going on, and demands that my mate get on the blower to HQ and have them order him to halt the search immediately, if not sooner. So he does that, gets the South Armagh Area CO on the horn and explains he's got a journo at his roadblock who seems to have a problem with HM Forces searching his car. "Oh Christ, it's not that fucking Fisk chap is it?" On being assured that it is, the CO asks what condition his car is in. Wheels off, no seats, tipped on it side, fuel tank drained sir. "I see. Well in that case Lieutenant, I order you to comply with the gentleman's wishes and stop interfering with his car. Immediately! Is that understood?" Ineed it was. So they halted the search, dismantled the roadblock, and wandered off across the fields, looking for more Provos to shoot. My mate reckons they could probably hear Fisk effing and blinding all the way over in Newry. True story.


Good anti-war bashing flash presentation...
Posted over at Samizdata. Zips through some of it quite rapidly, but it isn't hard to follow. Oh, but it is in Spanish, though I think even Murray might like it, as you don't have to speak Spanish to get the point. Para mi, no hay ningun dificultades comprenderlo, pues.
BE NOT TENDER WITH AMALEK We have seen all this before, have we not? In the story of the Exodus from Egypt, the original story of escaping from slavery to freedom, the story so powerful that we re-enact it every year to this very day, more than four thousand years later, we still remember the tribe that used filthy tactics to murder us. Christians tend, on the whole, not to be hugely aware of the name of Amalek. Their Big Bad is Satan, although in Judaism Satan tends to be thought of, if at all, as simply a prosecution attorney - an officer of the Highest Court. You always knew Old Nick was a lawyer, right? For Jews though, a Bronze Age encounter during a trek through the wilderness provides us with a focus for rage and hatred that may prove to have very modern echoes. Jack Englehard provides some commentary.

"Remember what Amalek did to you when you came forth out of Egypt...how he met you by the way...and killed the hindmost of you...all that were enfeebled in your rear, when you were faint and weary." Is this not Scriptures all over again? Is this not Amalek we again face, whether we're Americans, British or Israelis? In a word, the Amalekites were not only cruel, they were "sneaky." Throughout the generations, scholars have wondered why Providence singled out the Amalekites as a nation undeserving of forgiveness and to "utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven." Now, nine Americans are dead after an Iraqi unit "surrendered" and then opened fire as the unsuspecting Marines approached. In Israel, they sneak up on school buses filled with children before blowing them up. Back in Iraq they sneak into hospitals and hide behind doctors, nurses and patients. They sneak up on the unarmed, the blameless, the young, the very old, yes -- the enfeebled, the weary. These are Amalekite tactics and therefore this must be Amalek.

It all ended rather badly for the Amalekites in the end. God said "Kill them. Kill them all!", or words to that effect. Once we had our own country, and a monarchy, King Saul was sent to finish the little bastards off. But he didn’t finish the job. He kept some of the loot, and didn't kill the Amalekite King, Agag. The prophet Samuel dropped by, had a little chat, told Saul that God expected his orders to be followed, and as a result of his disobedience, he would lose the Kingship (to David, as it would turn out). The Samuel finished the job himself. 32 Then Samuel said, "Bring Agag king of the Amalekites here to me." And Agag came to him haltingly. Agag said, "Surely this is the bitterness of death." 33 But Samuel said, "As your sword has made women childless, so your mother shall be childless among women." And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal. 34 Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. 35 Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the LORD was sorry that he had made Saul king over Israel. Harsh words and harsher deeds. That was the Bronze Age though. Amalek had broken the unwritten law through its actions in deliberately picking off the stragglers, the wounded, the sick, the women and children. In all ages, there are codes of conduct, even between warriors. Civilians should not be killed. A warrior should not kill an opponent who has surrendered or cannot fight back. Some of these things transcend time. Amalek was deemed worthy of being wiped out to the last man, woman, child, cow and goat because it could not be trusted to behave correctly. It was a danger to everyone while it existed. Rather like the McGregor’s in the Scottish Highlands, they were a menace to everyone and simply had to go. Indeed, showing mercy to those who cannot comprehend the concept is no mercy at all to potential future victims.

Just as the memory of Amalek had to be wiped out for its cowardly and unprovoked act so, too, must the Children of Israel learn to respond appropriately. Indeed, the result of weakening one's resolve on this issue -- as with king Saul, when he refused to kill Agag the descendent of Amalek (Sam.1: 15: 4-35) -- has dire consequences. Martin Buber could never reconcile himself to this response, opining that Samuel had simply misunderstood God's word. Contrariwise, a midrashic tradition states that if you show mercy to the cruel, you will invariably end up being cruel to the kind. (Kohelet Rabba 7:36)

It's odd, don't you think, that if we've been commanded to "blot out the name of Amalek", we seem to remember it so vividly. Perhaps that's because Amalek is always with us. I can certainly see Amalek alive and well in modern Iraq.

Jack Engelhard is the author of the international bestseller "Indecent Proposal" and is a former radio and newspaper editor covering the Mideast and former American volunteer in the Israeli Defense Forces. His columns can be read online at http://www.comteqcom.com/jackcolumn.php and he can be reached at JackEngelhard@ComteQcom.com.


In other Current English War News
Argentina Lifts Falklands Embargo, according to this 1999 Reuters story the WaPo still has active from their menu. Guess there hasn't really been anything new since then, and glad to see their right on top of things.
THE DAMASCUS OPTION Not wishing to be paranoid or anything, but the suggestion below, from John R (an Israeli citizen, veteran of Sayeret Golani) strikes me as very possible. It assumes Boy Assad is paranoid and prone to making suicidal decisions, but he certainly wouldn't be the first Arab leader to fall prone to that syndrome.

If I was Bashir al-Assad I'd be thinking about attacking this 300 mile supply line while its western flank is unprotected. Cutting off the 15,000 - 20,000 strong spearhead and then decimating them at the gates to Baghdad. Afterall, if Syria is next on the US hit list surely it is better for them to hit the US and alliance now, on someone else's territory, rather than waiting for them to come knocking on Damascus's door with MOABs and B52s. A defeat of the alliance in Baghdad would make sure the US had nothing strategic to do with the Middle-East for at least another 30 years. It would be the best 'f--k-off yanky imperialists' ever. Besides, the Arab Street will love Assad (win or lose) if he opens up a third front with his 700 modernish jet fighters, 5,000 tanks, 3,000 artillery pieces and over half a million soldiers. The US wasn't counting on having to deal with Syria as well as Iraq. If I was in charge of US and alliance forces I'd be shit worried. And such a scenario would likely draw the Turks in and completely f--k things up in the north. This is not such a far-fetched idea. Assad has been making remarks in recent days indicating that he might have nothing to lose by getting involved now. Frankly, the only thing that could save the Alliance would be Israel massing troops on the Golan and threatening Damascus. That might put Assad back in his cage. Fascinating.

I think in the event of the Syrians doing this, we'll see the Israelis in Damascus within a short period, as full members of the Coalition of the Willing.
No, no bias here...
The Sydney Morning Herald has a sideline feature on their war coverage front page that's listed as 'a very clever set of spoof war posters based on 1940s originals.' Follow the link to the thumbnails, and you find that they are all not so subtle rehashing of some of the most pedantic anti-war screeching around. They do show creativity, and some would be hilarious if they were simply sarcasm or parody. While pointing to them at all is neither here nor there, not identifying their bent up front is a pathetic omission, on the level of a cheap spammer's ploy. Very un-professional.
So the fat prick won an Oscar... don't get mad, get even! Now THIS is a worthy cause! Does anyone ahve contact information for Fat Mikey? Wouldn't want him to miss out on knowing he's reaching people and spreading the message.


New Zealand Prime Mister, Helen Clark (Dear Leader Helen) has finally gotten the fence post out of her ass and picked a side. She has announced that New Zealand will provide NO aid of any kind to Iraq until the situation as been taken over by the UN. The following is a detailed analysis of why an ethinically diverse, heavily armed, unstable area should on no accounts be placed under UN control. Srebrenica
Open letter to the anti-war protestors: People and governments lie, it's a fact of life. The way around all the lies, propaganda and "disinformation" is to do some research on the issues. Read everything you can get your hands on. Then listen to and read scientists, engineers and weapons experts, lawyers and politicians debate the issues and decide which is the more plausible argument. Form an argument of your own and test it against the current conditions to see if it makes sense. Reasonably try to conjure up any future conditions which may affect the ultimate outcome. Have you constructed a viable argument? Is it a policy which can be implemented? Has our government lied in the past? Yes. Are they most likely lying about some things now, or spreading anti-Iraqi/Hussein propaganda? Yes. However, simply because they have lied and most likely are lying to some degree right now, does not mean that the issues in front of us aren't worth doing something about. If you have a better idea of how to 1) rid Iraq of WMD, 2) depose Hussein, and 3) give the Iraqis the right of self-determination (a nice side-effect of the first 2 conditions), then I'm all ears. So far, none of the anti-war proposals have demonstrated a very high likelihood of accomplishing these things. Is war brutal and evil? Of course. Are some things worth fighting for regardless of the evil inherent in war in order to prevent greater evil? Yes. Is this an easy war? No. Most wars aren't "easy." Will the ensuing peace and the attempt to set up some sort of judicial system which respects the rule of law be easy? No. But, is it worth it to try? Is going to war, when we've exhausted all diplomatic means over the past decade, our last remaining option? I believe it is. Again, if you have a better idea, I'd love to hear it. Many of you say that you don't want people to die. Well, no one does. But what are the prices of inaction? If, like I and most of the world believe, Hussein is trying to acquire and continuing to develop these weapons, then for what purpose? We've already seen him behave aggressively in the past - that's obvious. We have some reason to believe he's not playing with a full deck. We know he supports suicide bombers. We've heard and read the transcripts of his speeches regarding the "Zionist Entity." Some think he might support al-Qaeda. (I think that may be stretching things a bit, but who really knows?) Can you imagine what'd happen if somehow terrorists were to bomb Israel, not with a suicide bomber, but with chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons? How do you think the Israelis, a nuclear power, would respond to such an attack? Nuking Baghdad comes to mind. And who could blame them? How many future millions of mothers will pay for your hesitance to stop this now - before it spirals completely out of control? Some of you also claim that fundamentalist zealots like bin Laden would never cooperate with Saddam, because Hussein runs a secular government, and they consider him an "infidel." Well, these same fundamentalists also regard the US to be the Great Satan, but they didn't hesitate to accept our help in the '80s against the Soviets in Afghanistan. So tell me again why they wouldn't cooperate with Hussein? Another anti-war argument is that between us, the French and the Soviets, we pretty much made Iraq and bin Laden what they are today. Ok, yeah, we supported Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War as part of the Cold War. However, this isn't an anti-war argument as much as it is a foreign policy fuck up. We fucked up. Bad. Really bad. We were short-sighted, stupid and failed to recognize and respond to the early forms of terrorism. But, acknowledging this will not help us fix the problem before us today.
Identity crisis is rampant...
Not just around here, with Murray claiming to be Spartacus. Bobby Mugabe is also has aspirations...
"If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold. Ten times, that is what we stand for."
Taking the bait
Looks like the RG is coming out in the open. Be prepared for 'highway of death' footage soon.
SCENES FROM A PROTEST The Left's collective brain, unable to cope with the reality that is even now crashing in on them, is responding in its characteristic stimulus-response mode. Operating only on a very basic signal-recognition/motor-skills level, they went nuts on the streets of Sydney today and attacked the cops. No particular reason, it's just what they do. The schoolies thought this was a big hoot, and as their teachers tend to be bong-addled 60's retreads, the place was awash in truants. A grand old time was had by all.

A NSW Police officer was struck in the head by an unidentified object as students threw cafe chairs, rocks, bottles, eggs, firecrackers, marbles and golf balls. Hundreds of students ran amok through city streets, taking their protest to the front of Prime Minister John Howard's office shortly before 3pm (AEDT). [ ... ] Other peaceful protesters knelt in front of the Prime Minister's office and chanted prayers while others hoisted Palestinian flags. Some of the younger children were hurled up into the air before being caught by protesters. NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Dick Adams said a large group of young men were largely responsible for the violence. "A large group of Middle Eastern males as the television footage will quite clearly show ... were aggressive towards police," Mr Adams told ABC radio.

There was indeed a definite ethnic slant to the protests, and plenty of anti-Police aggro. No doubt Assistant Commissioner Adams is going to have to issue another statement tomorrow apologising, and promising to attend a meeting with "leaders of the Arabic community" to re-emphasise the long-standing commitment to blah blah blah, I'm sure we're all familiar with the drill by now. Channel Nine news did something indescribably cruel, and in itself this shows how much public opinion has swung against the demonstrators. On A Current Affair, they showed an interview with one of the 13 year old foriegn policy mavens. "Do you know what he did to the Kurds?" "Who?" "You're protesting against the war. So how would you get rid of Saddam Hussein?" "Um. Peace!" "But how would you get rid of him peacefully?" "Um.....maybe ask him to resign?" When Ray Martin turns on the demonstrators, they've lost the battle. And very possibly the war. The other money quote: "We shouldn't invade Iraq! I mean, it's Saddam's country, isn't it? How would you like it if someone came into your house?" In a few years, these people will have the vote. Chilling.
DON'T MENTION ISLAM! We have an example here in Australia of the sort of bullshit political correctness which is successfully whitewashing terrorist crimes committed by Muslims, for overtly Islamic reasons on the United States (and the 101st Airborne encampment in Kuwait). Muslim slaughterman responsible for overseeing halal methods at a country abbatoir here in Australia went nuts the other day. Note how carefully the newspaper account drops hints, but can't actually come out and use the world "Muslim".

One man is dead, two are seriously injured and another is under arrest after a dispute at the Ovens River abattoir at Yarrawonga in which a slaughterman turned his knife on other workers. The abattoir, about three kilometres outside the town, has been doing a brisk trade supplying Halal meat to the Middle East. But just after 7am yesterday, soon after opening time, one of the two slaughtermen attacked co-workers. At the end of the attack, maintenance worker Peter Murphy, a father of three boys, was dead. Two other workers, Michael True, 24, and Jamie Regan, 47, were flown to Melbourne with serious injuries. The small Yarrawonga community is awash with rumour about what started the attack.Abattoir workers said the attacker and another man had kept largely to themselves. "We never really spoke to them. They would eat lunch together, and not really mix or anything," one said. "They didn't really live in town or anything like that." A worker who was in the room at the time of the attack said: "It just got out of hand. He just went berserk.

The assailant's name? Mohammed Mohammed. Don't mention the bloody war. At what point are we going to wake up?
BUGS BUNNY SEZ... ..you realise, this means war!


Bruce Hill, Mild Mannered International Reporter or Prepubescent Pyromaniac The Truth Revealed! Yes he’s had you all fooled for years, this mild mannered reporter from down under. He’s lulled you into thinking he’s just some Joe going about his every day life but now by popular public demand – and to take the heat of me for ten minutes – the truth is out! Bruce Hill is none other than the Boy Bush Burner of Bayswater, AKA “The Torchey Kid”. You are shocked gentle reader but the truth is a harsh mistress, with a whip and pointy heels! Let me take you back to a time many years ago to a land far far away… well far away from you, not me, I still live here. Err… moving along. We have a species of native flora by the name of “toi toi” (pronounced toy toy). If you are familiar with pampas grass its like that only on steroids or a nuke blast from in a 1950’s sci fi movie. Huge? This stuff is not only as big as Mike Moores ego but it spreads out like human shield in an air raid. Now toi toi is an integral part of growing up in New Zealand and has been for around a thousand years now. Known to kids as “cutty grass” for its ablity to lay the fingers open on anyone silly enough to grasp it, it has a multitude of applications for entertainment of the young inventive and dare we say, mischievous. The leaves themselves can be woven to fashion functional if hazardous shelters. The bushes, being spread accross vast swaths of land make mysterious and alien landscapes remote from parents, home school and older siblings fit for untold adventures. But the crowning glory of the toi toi is it’s stems rising from the heart of the bush like so many feathered spears. As indeed many of them become, both spears and flags. Also arrows for crude bows, decoration for helmets (WWII steel along side a plastic roman one not uncommon), the framework for the aforementioned shelters. And if you have the knowledge, you can even make kites from them. Truly a vegetational gift from the gods. Many is the school field and playground strewn with the white tattered remnants of the toi toi bearing mute witness to the epic battles that were waged by heroes of great standing (4’6”) till their mothers called them in for dinner. Actually I’m sure its was part of some great plan to make toi toi so attractive to kids so that they would spread the seed heads, which we did and the current generation still do when their batteries go flat. So much for the innocent victim in our tale, let us turn to… the villain. Subject: Bruce Hill, age 7.5, occupation full time brainiac and know-all (life advisor to younger sibling “Murray”. The day in question was in 1969 a Saturday, mid summer, about lunchtime as I recall. We were not too much of a handful as navy brats go, about a 5.9 on the Bart Simpson scale. Although I had been known to wander off at get lost, this wasn’t a problem since my mother always gave me a little packed lunch to put in my little pack before sending me off on these expeditions err hey... Also there was the opening up Bruce’s foot with a chisel (he fainted on the way to hospital too, pussy! The time I got stuck in the mud flats when the tide was coming in and had to be pulled out by father. Just the usual stuff for any out-doorsy pre six year old. Bruce on the other hand had been known to attend dinner, sit in front of the TV for an evening, wash and then go to bed without ever raising his eyes from the book he was reading. Our mother therefore trusted us (well him anyway) to burn the paper rubbish (most mothers have a nurturing protective instinct, not sure what happened there.) The only possible preventative power to divert the coming horror, our father - a god like man in a uniform who dropped by for a few months when the navy wasn’t using him – was, as history shall record sadly a little too far away to intercede. Japan in fact. Curse cruel fate. Another bitch mistress in leather attire. Trusted with the beast fire in the form of a box of beehive matches we made our way to the place sacrifice, our own little volcano, a concrete incinerator. Located handily as it turned out, right next our rather large toi toi expanse (it’s since been sub divided into three suburbs to give you an idea of the size. At the time we were both cubs as well and Bruce always felt the need to share his wisdom of advanced years and four extra merit badges with me. So he took this opportunity to explain to me why green leaves do not burn. This was graphically demonstrated to me as the burning paper in the incinerator was consumed a number of items were sacrificed in the pursuit of science and higher knowledge. A dry leaf (all moisture has gone you will observe), quickly devoured by the red monster. Another leaf, green and plump, fresh from the tree, hisses and curls yet fights off the flame. Education can be fun! Then, oh unhappy chance! The toi toi, a fast growing and quickly spreading plant, normally kept in check by the absent father has grown close to the incinerator. Searching for more experimental material, one of the long leaves from the heart of the plant is grasped, pulled forward then touched to the flame. The leaf, although green, is nevertheless, very very dry. The beast flame breaks forth from the surly confinement of its concrete prison, leaps cat like up the leaf and dives victoriously into the heart of the long summer dried bush. I was shocked. Disillusioned even. I assumed nature was in error and my brother would identify and correct the error directly. I looked at him… I was not encouraged. At that moment the toi toi bush took on a canine like quality and went WOOF. To his credit Bruce did take charge. “Stay here” he commanded and bolted for the house. I was stuck with a sensation I was to feel again in the army during a succession of indifferent platoon commanders. At the time I assumed he knew what he was doing so I stayed, enjoying the now 12 to 15 foot flames shooting from the bush. He returned – unlike some of the previously mentioned indifferent platoon commanders – with a jar of water – about as useful as some of the previously mentioned indifferent platoon commanders. He hurled the jar of water vigorously at the flames, I swear I heard a burp. “Err,” he uttered in consternation. “I think you better tell mum” I squawked happily. (I ain’t taking the rap for this one baby). From then on my afternoon was a happy blur, I’d always wanted to be a fireman and there were sooooo many of them. Three fire engines (on our side of the blaze anyway). A clear blue sky scored with a massive plume of white smoke – the kind you get from really dry stuff burning, green or otherwise – attracted all our school friends. I was a celebrity to the under sevens for residing at the place that provided so much entertainment. Hoses, water, radios, big men (when you’re five they’re huge) saying “gidday sport”, axes, more water, more hoses. Imagine the squeaking of a dozen tiny voices imitating the Tim Taylor grunt. It was so cool… and it wasn’t my fault. About 12 acres went up that day, thousands of rats died as it turned out. The place still smelled like a bad barbeque when my father got home some weeks later. Ah yes, father, a man with a great skill to adapt to rapidly changing situations. You see by this time Bruce had been located en route as it were to “somewhere else”. Having witnessed father’s wrath for things like taking a hammer to the house foundations (because it was THERE ok! It was good enough for Ed Hillary on Everest). Bruce was overcome with reluctance to find out what the penalty for wholesale arson was and was making the most of his three-week head start. This was back in 1969 remember, ship to shore calls were by radio, not good quality, not easy to get organised and expensive. My mother had approximately 29 seconds to explain what had happened and that he had to say to Bruce that he knew about it and that Bruce would not be terminated with extreme prejudice from half way down the gangplank on return home. Quick as flash he came back with “err righto”. Bruce was convinced he would get an eighth birthday, there were tears and no doubt some smirks on the bridge of HMNZS Royalist when father hung up since it was all on the speaker. I learned a valuable lesson that day myself. Its FUN watching someone else fuck up. Of course a month later I tried to flash up a light bulb by jamming two wires into an open three pin plug blacking the house out so we were back to normal, such as it was. Wood smoke always takes me back to that day and I smile.


Carpet Bombing
Now that Murray has so delicately broached the subject... While I wouldn't advocate indiscriminate carpet bombing of the entire country, can think of a good use for the technique. Getting the impression that some of the heavier Iraqi elements are not hiding in villages and towns, per se. Instead of headlong engaging them with ground forces, in spite of firepower and directed fires superiority, use the big sticks, as in sticks of bombs. Simple. Probe forward to find the forward defensive edges of the Iraqi units. Pull back a click or so. Have a three ship of BUFFs or Bones bracket them, front and rear, and maybe some around the sides. Inform them they have one chance to lay down their arms, and come forward empty handed, or the next batch goes right on top of them. And if they don't, it does. Repeat the offer to any survivors (if they can still hear). Should weed out the hard core ones fairly quickly, albeit somewhat Darwinistically. Less that we, or the rest of the Iraqis, have to deal with afterwards as well. Bonus. This kind of carpet bombing is not only all right in my book, but highly encouraged.
LEGAL NOTICE This site "Silent Running" was established and is run by Murray Hill of Wellington, New Zealand. The central principle of this site is freedom of speech to that end: The content is attributed to a number of individual authors. These individual authors are responsible for the content of their individual posts. Any legal action arising from any such content should be directed to the author of that post. The general issues relating to the content of the site should be directed to me. Threats of any nature directed at any person other than the original author are both spurious and legally actionable. Any attempt to influence the content of one of the authors, based on the content of another author, will be dealt with as an attempt to violate that person's individual right to have, hold and express an opinion. This right exists in law in New Zealand, Australia, and as freedom of speech in the United States. M.R.Hill
That's why we like him so much...
No one generates calm, rational discussion with quite the flair that Murray has. That, and he's willing to run the boobies contests. btw, to add my two cents to Tom's, the reaction of the administrator in the country that has the First Amendment, to those 'demanding' that Murray's post be taken down. Let me be as eloquent and thoughtful about this to give you exactly the response that your demand deserves. Hmmm. Oh yes. Here it is. Kiss my ass. For the record, I. like Tom, do not agree with Murray's advocacy of carpet bombing, nor do I take him seriously that he would, if he had the ability to do so, implement such an action, but I also understand his venting. I will however defend to the last his ability to vent such a rant, on this blog, hosted in this country, controlled (in part) by an American citizen. Anyone that doubts that should review exactly how I got involved in this travelling circus in the first place.
TOO TIRED TO SUM THIS UP IN A NEW POST, BUT: Some of the reasons I unfortunately agree with Murray. And I sincerely hope that I am wrong.
UM, NEWS THINGY: Walla (Hebrew): a senior French Muslim leader warned today that the war in Iraq will outrage the French Muslim community, and will undermine the French government's efforts to advance a tolerant Islam.
WORLD REACTION TO MURRAY... ...has been, er, mixed shall we say. In the United States, his post seems to have been responsible for a marital difference of opinion between Sasha and Andrew. Andrew posted what Murray said, but Sasha has put up a disclaimer.

The thoughts of Murray Hill below do not coincide with mine. I believe we should fight to victory, but the citizens of Iraq are not responsible for the actions of their depraved and cruel leader and his army. Don't take it out on the civilians. If the Iraqi army is using dirty tactics, that just leaves less of them around for tomorrow because surely our soldiers will wallop their lousy asses. Please don't say things like "Just fucking carpet bomb the whole miserable fucking country ". Don't turn into the people that the anti-war loons already think we are.

Chris Textor at Whacking Day is distinctly unhappy.

They are all guilty? The families of murdered dissidents? The brutalised/terrified citizenry? All those sinful children? The women Uday has grabbed off the street, tortured and raped? The Marsh Arabs? The people who greeted coalition soldiers with hugs and kisses? This taxi driver in this story? The citizens of Halabja? Maybe there are some sinful toddlers in Baghdad who are in on it too. Hey they all look alike right? Murray, what the fuck is the matter with you? By associating an entire population with the deeds of a vicious, murdering tyrant, you're saying the entire country should share his fate: you're advocating genocide, you dig? Dr. Joseph Goebbels couldn't have done better.

Although she doesn't refer directly to Murray's post, Meryl Yourish in Richmond VA, publishes a letter from a Captain Steve which in part adresses the issues Murray raises.

Humanity is the principle that prevents us from inflicting unnecessary suffering. We rule out the use of certain weapons and techniques because we regard their purpose as inappropriate. We try to achieve our objectives while harming as few people as possible. Chivalry requires us to honor certain signs and traditions that have long been recognized in war. The white flag as a sign of truce is not to be abused. Prisoners are to be protected against hunger, the elements, and angry civilians. The Red Cross or Red Crescent are to be recognized as signs of noncombatants. Military Necessity demands that we attack only targets that help us achieve military objectives. Our conduct of war is restrained on all sides by these conventions to help us return home with honor, and to protect the reputation of the United States as a land guided by justice. But do these conventions apply when we face an enemy who so openly flouts them? Last night we all wanted retribution. There was talk of leveling An Nasariyah, of making them pay. We know though, that now more than ever the principles that make our country so different from (and so feared by) this part of the world must be adhered to. We will not defile our cause with barbaric actions. We cannot forget that our purpose here is to liberate, not to massacre, though we certainly have the means at our disposal. [ ... ] The rest of the military has everything to gain from honorable conduct. They know they have no chance of winning. They know Americans are merciful and will treat them well. They know this because the American conduct of war is characterized by restraint. It guides everything we do. Even the attack designed to demonstrate overwhelming force, shock, and awe is controlled so as to protect innocent Iraqis.

And to the (anonymous, naturally) critic who is threatening to take me to court for operating a "hate site", free speech means precisely that pal. Sometimes free speech is going to disturb, often people won't agree with it. But it's only by arguing openly and without fear that democracy can operate. We're not here to guard the delicate sensibilities of the politically correct. Do I have problems with what Murray said? Yes. Do I understand where he's coming from? You bet! Will I take his post down? Absolutely not. If you come across an argument you don't like, come up with a better one and convince people. Don't ask for suppression and censorship. That's the act of a coward.
Moroccan assistance offer...
Morocco has offered...some rather unusual assitance. Are they trying to help with our War effort, or our effort to piss of PETA as much as possible? I'm confused, but offer a conditional 'thanks' in any case.
Safety Warning for Iraqis and Al Jazeerah cameramen
**CAUTION** Do not stand around abandoned US Military equipment (such as Apache Helicopters that probably set down for mechanical problems). Equipment such as this in jeopardy of falling into enemy hands semi-intact heads for the top of the targetting list, with a bullet. Count yourselves lucky this time to have gotten the happy snaps without getting a close up demo of the effects of a Maverick or JDAM. Consider yourselves warned. This message may be repeated with pre-demolition warning burst of chain gun fire nearby, but most likely not.
More pre-recorded crap
So Saddam's boys aired a tape of the shitbag last night. Speculation continues about his situation. Just about all the 'specifics' he mentioned could be chalked up to relaistic guesses from beforehand. Want to prove he's alive? Have him hold up some known current content of something published since it started, and have him make a simple statement, such as 'nyah, nyah, missed me!' Anything short of that is stupid theater, about as relevant as footage of Iraqis shooting into an empty river, and almost setting their own butts on fire while they 'search' the overgrowth on the riverbank.
CAN'T BLOG RIGHT NOW Too angry. Uplinking GPS coordinates of Bush House to CENTCOM datanet for target-list prioritising. Central London residents advised to remain in coal cellar until all-clear given. Reason for action given in this Lileks briefing.

Overview at the top of the ahhr: Heaviest fighting of the woh, and the Arab world is rallying to Iraqi cause. (The audio backing up the latter assertion is from the Iraqi foreign minister. Surely I misheard this; surely they said that “Iraqis insist that the Arab world is rallying." I must have suffered Temporary Yank-Centric Deafness, but maybe not; the Beeb runs more Iraqi responses than any other network. While driving around on Saturday, the Beeb ran a clip from a Brit spokesman describing a battle, then ran the Iraqi blabberjaw insisting that Iraqi forces were still engaged in battle, killing the enemy, and that the Loser Zionist Rumsfeld tongue should be accursed and struck with shoes, and we should all hope that monkeys defecate in his moustache, etc. Then came a guest from Warshington, and the presenter said “so who should we believe, then?” A charitable listener would ascribe the brief, stunned pause that followed to the natural lapse in transatlantic communications.)

Bastards. Lord Reith would have the entire staff of today's BBC lightly killed and start again from scratch.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT NEW ZEALAND POLITICS... ...can be found on a Rugby discussion board. And they call us Kiwis singleminded about sports. Ha!


I will not show images of dead soldiers. Because one of the first things you learn when someone dies is that it robes them of their dignity. These who fall in the service of their nation are most entitled to be treated with respect and dignity and yet are most likely not to receive it. The public does not have a "right to know". That is a myth, please do not aid or perpetuate it by sharing, posting or linking to any such images. Should any such images or links arrive here I will seek their immediate removal. Of my friends that died while I was in the Army we gave them back their dignity by dressing them in their uniforms and burying them with respect and ceremony. And that is how we chose to remember them. Not as the broken things that had once been men. Remember that these are people with families, how would you feel if it was one of your family? Trust me you can be just as outraged by murder without the picture. Do not do the evil work of Al Jazera for them.
Murray says: Kill them, kill them all. Just fucking carpet bomb the whole miserable fucking country now. The Iraqis have shown by their actions that they are just as evil as their leader and they are guilty either by action or inaction of maintaining the regime. They are all guilty. They have no claim on our pity on our help on our blood or our mercy. We didn't come here to free the Iraqi people, if they want to be free let them fucking earn for themselves like the rest of us did. We all live in countries where every town small and large has a monument in it to our fallen who bought and kept our freedom for us. The Iraqis have statues of a maniac. There's no free ride in this world. We didn't watch the events of Sept 11 and say to ourselves "shit those Iraqis are having a bugger of time, lets go help them out". We came to protect ourselves. Do you really think these people are going to take to democracy like a duck to water? WAKE THE FUCK UP. Torture and murder are a way of life here, they're just looking for their own chance to climb up the shit pile and fuck someone else over for a change. You can set THAT up if you like, but not in my name. I have said repeatedly I care nothing for the Iraqi people, why should I. I know them not. I am not of them and they care nothing for me. All I care about is that people I like can go to work without being murdered by some rag fuck. That's why I'm behind this war. We didn't care how many of the enemy population we killed in Germany or Japan and what have in front of us now is on a par. So take the kid gloves off. Either they get to die or we do, pick ONE. We are at war, fight to win. Dumb bombs are cheaper than smart ones.
Yeah, right... This Russian site says that the Russian Black Sea fleet is getting ready to move to the Indian ocean after the war, and is naming specific ships. Sources from the fleet are saying that time of the deployment depends on the situation around Iraq, but they say that plans for their posssible participation in coalition's [post-war] peacekeeping operations are being discussed. I am trying to remember if there is a Russian expression equivalent to "eating your cake, and having it, too"...
Update: The "Command Post" has moved here. Please adjust your bookmarks. And if you have not visited yet, you have been missing the most up-to-date news on the war, so go now.
Fucking bastards
NBC news is reporting that Al Jazeerah has footage of American prisoners, approximately 10, captured during the skirmishing near Al Nasariyia. Reports are that the soldiers were pictured being led away alive, and that was followed by footage of about eight of them dead, shot execution style, in an unidentified building. Some of the prisoners apparently are still alive, there were interviews also of some of them alive. They'd better fucking stay that way. ::Update:: To reiterate. Bastards. Fucking bastards.