3.29.2003

COMEDIAN ALEXEI SAYLE is the latest columnist to attempt the "psychoanalyse George W. Bush" routine. Snore. Sayle covers the usual ground - except for his incorrect claim that Bush has admitted being an abusive user of cocaine, and the following, in which Sayle puts the whole United States on the couch:


If we look at the nation that President Bush leads, it also behaves in many ways like an addict. The United States is a gigantic John Candy of a country, straining its oversized elasticated pants from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The country is addicted to more or less everything, constantly craving greater and greater quantities of petrol, electricity, pointless sports, empty patriotism, fatty hormone-crammed meat, gigantic pedestrian-crushing four-wheel drive trucks, ever more baseball caps with nonsense written on them and unquestioning obedience from every nation on the planet.



John Candy was Canadian.

JULIE BURCHILL calls in an airstrike on her Elite Republican Guardian readers:


Surely this is the most self-obsessed anti-war protest ever. NOT IN MY NAME! That's the giveaway. Who gives a stuff about their wet, white, western names? See how they write them so solemnly in a list on the bottom of the letters they send to the papers. And the ones that add their brats' names are the worst - a grotesque spin on Baby On Board, except they think that this gives them extra humanity points not just on the motorway, but in the whole wide weeping, striving, yearning world. We don't know the precious names of the countless numbers Saddam has killed. We're talking about a people - lots of them parents - subjected to an endless vista of death and torture, a country in which freedom can never be won without help from outside.

Contrasting British servicemen and women with the appeasers, it is hard not to laugh. Are these two sides even the same species, let alone the same nationality? On one hand the selflessness and internationalism of the soldiers; on the other the Whites-First isolationism of the protesters. Excuse me, who are the idealists here?



Not Susan Sarandon and the rest of her "not in my famous name" conscientious objectionables, all happily chewed up by Ms Burchill.

DR GERM or Mrs Anthrax? Matt Hayden reports that the Sydney Morning Herald has got their Baath Party bio-terror babes all arse-about.

The SMH has also re-assigned Sgt. Stryker's gender, describing his site (in the print edition, no link) as "a collection of emails from a daughter in the marines, posted by her mother. Often inaccessible."

It is if you follow the SMH's link, which takes you here. Presumably the paper means to direct you to the delightful exchanges between Sgt. Mom and Blondie.

TONY BLAIR seems to have learned a thing or two lately about the
joy of unilateralism:


The other man who is feeling the force of Mr Blair's new-found assurance is Gordon Brown. The Chancellor used to rely on his ability to squish his kid brother, the Prime Minister. He dominated Mr Blair intellectually and played psychological games with him, such as avoiding meetings or refusing to tell him the contents of his Budgets until the last minute. This dynamic is changing. When the Prime Minister wanted to fix a meeting with the Chancellor some weeks ago, Mr Brown tried to make him come to the Treasury (where the Chancellor sits on a chair much higher than that of his guest, who is immediately cast in the role of supplicant). "No, you come over here," barked Mr Blair down the phone. "I'm the f***ing Prime Minister!"

IT'S JIHAD TIME, as usual:


A leading Iraqi imam, holding a rifle as he led weekly prayers in Baghdad today, called on Muslims and Arabs worldwide to launch a "Jihad" or holy war to protest the US-led onslaught against Iraq.

"We address our appeal to all Muslims and Arabs everywhere to tell them this is the day of the Jihad which has become the duty of every Muslim," said Abdel Ghaffur al-Qaissi.

"Failing to join the Jihad would be disobeying the orders of God," he said.



I wonder if this Australian kid will heed the call.

BIG JOHN LITTLE continues to perform yeoman service over at Blogs of War. Next time you pay him a visit, pay him.

GREAT LINE FROM Evan Kirchhoff, discussing Martin Amis:


Even writing a book-length expose on the peer pressure of intellectuals is insufficient immunization against the peer pressure of intellectuals.



As Colby Cosh observes: "Zing!"

CHECK OUT Doug Morris for all your quality ranting needs. Also, chicks. Chicks with guns.

USEFUL FINANCIAL AND INVESTMENT STUFF from Rodger Schuester. More specific information blogs!

WATCHING CNN AND AL-JAZEERA = FUTURE WORLD GOVERNMENT BY THE PEOPLE. This equation only makes sense if you are Margo Kingston, or if you've been drinking industrial solvents:


The whole world is watching this war. For the first time, we get propaganda from both sides, and we become the judge of what is true or false. This is an extraordinary development in warfare, and one creating tremendous accountability pressure, particularly on the Americans. Is this the beginning of world government by the people?



Maybe it is, Margo! Or maybe it's the beginning of a termite aristocracy, or an interplanetary government of gophers! Nobody knows!

COLGATE refuses to take a stand in the heated flip top/twist top argument. Talk about your craven moral cowardice.

AUSTRALIAN FORCES UPDATE:


Australian F/A-18 Hornet fighter-bombers have conducted bombing attacks against Iraqi Republican Guard units in fighting along the road to Baghdad.

In the first release of specific information about RAAF activities in the Iraq conflict, an Australian defence source said the attacks occurred over the past 48 hours in support of the US 5 Corps in its advance on Baghdad.

CHINA sure is incredibly puritan for a place where half the population is named Dong or Wang or Boner or whatever.

ADELE HORIN declares her position:


No matter how scared and vulnerable our troops may be, their anxiety is nothing compared with the suffering of the Iraqi people terrorised by the bombing and shelling. The allied soldiers, though obliged to follow orders, have joined the military of their own free will, and are well paid and fed.



But not as well paid and fed as dipweasel Sydney Morning Herald columnists. So, according to the Horin scale of Moral Goodness, we are obliged to care more for our troops than we do for her. And we do.

SOMETIMES random blog searching turns up a kindred spirit:


if i ever see someone so much as looking at my car in a funny way i will fuckin kill them i swear to god ...

THE CURRENT Sydney Morning Herald fierce resistance Google count stands at 52.

IF YOU'RE a patient at Port Lincoln Hospital, and you don't like pumpkin soup, now might be a good time to kill yourself.

JIM TREACHER has a delightful plan to remove Saddam Hussein - without violence:


First we'll coax Saddam out of his bunker with a trail of delicious candy. Then, once his belly is full and he's all sleepy and happy, we'll calmly explain that we don't approve of what he's been doing and it's not very nice and we wish he'd stop. And he'll be like, "Whoa, I never thought of it that way. You guys are my friends! I like you!" And then everybody will hug and cry, and then get a little embarrassed about crying, and then make some jokes to cover up being embarrassed. And then a beautiful rainbow will appear, and a shy unicorn will walk down it, and Saddam will ride it to the North Pole, and he'll spend the rest of his life helping Santa make wonderful toys for all the good little girls and boys, and there'll be hot chocolate, and, and, and nobody will ever ever die again for any reason ever.



I think he's stolen this from the Hans Blix Anthology of Morphine-Laced Children's Literature.

THE CORRECT ANSWER, as Kevin Donnelly explains, is no:


Can Australian parents trust our schools and teachers to present a balanced and impartial view of the war in Iraq?

3.28.2003

POETS AGAINST DISSENT! Bill Bridges has been silenced by the jackbooted rhyme gang at Poets Against The War.

ENTER NOW! The BBC is running a Michael Moore caption contest!

UPDATE. Check out the lame-o winning entries. Moore himself is funnier.

AUSTRALIAN PEACE PROTESTERS are exploiting Muslim kids:


Organisers of a violent anti-war rally specifically enlisted Muslim students from southwest Sydney to tap into the passions in the local Arab community against the war on Iraq.

National co-ordinator Kylie Moon, 24, said students from schools with large Muslim populations were sent emails and leaflets urging them to attend the rally.

"The Middle-Eastern kids are more passionate about this issue. They relate to it much more strongly," she said.

"They all see (Arab satellite TV network) Al Jazeera and see much more detailed footage of what's going on so they are very angry.

"We gave them an avenue to express their anger, that's not irresponsible. Police need to come with a more sensitive attitude to these sorts of kids."



How "sensitive" is it to incite teenagers then deploy them in the front lines of demonstrations?

Naturally, Kylie Moon is a member of the lunar left. Here's a song all her Islamist followers can sing the next time Kylie rounds them up to do her dirty work.

UPDATE. Angela Bell sends word that in a TV interview Ms Moon said she'd been an activist for ten years - since she was 14. Man, when her conversion happens, it's going to be like ten million MOABs detonating inside her skull.

THE DIXIE CHICKS are in Australia. Sydney Morning Herald airbrush expert Bernard Zuel manages to write a happy profile piece that never once mentions a certain recent controversy.

WEEP FOR the war's hidden victims ...


Normally healthy and vigorous, Deborah Dashow Ruth of Kensington has developed a case of shingles, her ulcer is acting up, and her head has been throbbing since the United States invaded Iraq a week ago.

She ascribes her current health problems to the intense emotions the war has provoked. "Just as Iraq was invaded by the viral Republican administration, I have been invaded by these viral Republican conditions," she said.



Poor Ruth, all shingled up and suffering a fatal case of head-throb. Imagine how much worse her symptoms might be if she was actually sick.

MARGO KINGSTON is outsourcing Webdiary:


Is anyone interested in tracking and analysing the propaganda war, the media coverage, or some other aspect of this incredible "tipping point" in world affairs?



Any readers out there care to apply? This could lead to a spectacular comedic payoff. Hell, I might ask for the job myself.

HOORAY for duct tape!

MARK STEYN'S latest is among his greatest. That's saying something, I know, but read it and tell me I'm wrong.

FIGHT FOR SADDAM ... or die:


Several hundred tribespeople are reported to have died at the hand of Iraqi forces in a village near Kirkuk, says the BBC's Jim Muir in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq.

WEDNESDAY'S PEACE PROTEST in Sydney sure was peaceful:


A group of young men, described by police as "Middle Eastern males", created havoc by throwing chairs, rocks, bottles, eggs and golf balls at police and media during several hours of chaos in the CBD.

Police also seized two knives from protesters, one of which fell on to the ground in the midst of a scuffle.

The violent spectacle began at Town Hall and resulted in two police officers and a number of protesters being injured.



At least some of the peaceniks recognised the obvious irony:


While some burned the US flag and then freely admitted they had no idea why, others were dismayed their pro-peace views were being overshadowed by violence.

"Don't you understand this is a peace rally?" one girl screamed as sections of the crowd began to riot.

WHEN CONSIDERING the civilian deaths in Baghdad, we must always maintain our sense of perspective.

Perspective. That is what is needed most but today is just an opportunity for everyone to engage in hyperbole, sentimentality and emotional dishonesty.

3.27.2003

AN IRRESISTIBLE FORCE approaches an unacceptable object ...

WHO NEEDS AMMUNITION? Via Winds of Change:


Despite the American foothold on the eastern side of the Euphrates, Iraqi forces continued to attack in what soldiers described as futile, almost fanatical assaults against M1-A1 tanks and Bradley armored fighting vehicles.

Cpl. Benjamin R. Richardson, who was among the engineers who went to the bridge, said he saw two civilian vehicles with armed Iraqis drive straight toward Americans. A tank drove simply over one of the vehicles without firing a shot ...

BURIED IN this Daily Mirror lead item is a fascinating story:


A British man surrendered on Sunday to the Desert Rats after travelling to Iraq to fight for Saddam, it emerged yesterday.

The unidentified prisoner, in his mid-20s and speaking with a northern accent, gave himself up to Irish Guards telling them he wanted to go home to Manchester.

A source said: "He told us he wanted to fight for the Iraqis because he didn't agree with what Britain and America are doing. Then he taunted soldiers saying he'd soon be back in Britain enjoying state benefits."



Prisons are state funded.

ANYONE IN AMERICA who objects to the conflict in Iraq is not allowed to say so, according to The Guardian's Gary Younge:


The harassment, arrest, detention and frustration of those who are against the war is becoming routine.



Guess that explains why WarbloggerWatch is so quiet lately.

ROBERT FISK finally has the civilian casualties he's been lusting for. Sometimes we pro-war types are accused of becoming inappropriately aroused by weapons and war and chaos, but we are limp compared to Death-Porn Bob.

TUNE IN to the ABC's
7.30 Report tonight for a segment on Australian bloggers starring
James Morrow,
Gareth Parker,
Gianna, and
John Quiggan.

UPDATE. James Morrow advises that the segment is now scheduled to go to air Monday. So don't tune in tonight. Watch something else.

WHAT DO students learn at journalism school? Among other things, that Al-Jazeera is the only media outlet you can trust, Israel has no right to exist inside Palestine, and the September 11 attacks may have been orchestrated by President Bush.

ARAB INTELLECTUALS are just as perverse and fuckheaded as Western intellectuals:


Normally, the appearance of Saddam Hussein on television prompts catcalls, curses and prayers for his demise from a regular gathering of about 20 Saudi businessmen and intellectuals, but Monday night was different. When he appeared, they prayed that God preserve him for a few more weeks.

"They want Saddam Hussein to go and they expect him to go eventually, but they want him to hold on a little longer because they want to teach the Americans a lesson," said Khalid Batarfi, the managing editor of the newspaper Al-Madina, describing the scene in a sprawling living room in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.



They want Saddam to fall, but they want as many deaths as possible in the meantime. These people are garbage.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS in the Daily Mirror:


Here we go again: first the phoney war and then the war of the phoneys. In Kuwait, in Bosnia, in Kosovo, in Afghanistan - all of the post-Cold War conflicts against regional aggressors and terror-sponsoring states - it was necessary first to endure a lengthy period of apocalyptic warnings.

If the democracies stuck up for themselves or others, there would be intensified chaos and misery, uncountable civilian casualties, intervention from other states to widen the war, legacies of bad blood, massive alienation, etc, etc.

You have read it and I have read it.

The question is - do those who have written this tripe ever dare to go back and see how wrong they were last time?



And Guy Rundle in the
Melbourne Age:


With no sign that the regime will collapse it seems that, one way or another, slaughter is coming.

Before it does, the brief burst of support for our troops may melt away, with the sudden realisation that we have become the bad guys.

ELDERLY PEACE POET Bill Bridges has posted an elegant contribution at the Poets Against War website.

Pay particular attention to the first letter of every line ...

UPDATE. The great Jim Treacher challenges readers to "find the hidden message":


Stop it, Mr. Bush.

Taking lives is going to help?

Unilateral murder of thousands?

Preposterous!

Is it easy to sleep at night, Mr. Bush?

Do you care?

How does it feel to kill babies, Mr. Bush?

Innocent babies?

Precious mothers and wives?

Pause and reflect, Mr. Bush.

If you continue this course,

Elections aren't the only things you'll steal.

Freedom fries aren't the issue.

All your bombs can't blow up the truth.

George W. Bush, wake up!

Smell the crying children.

POLLSTER Gary Morgan reports:


A clear majority of Australians, 61 per cent, believe the United Nations should have supported military action against Iraq.

SETH. D. MICHAELS of the Malden Observer writes to point out that "while it's true that commercial reality might limit political pretensions on the part of some famous folks, it's worth noting that the Dixie Chicks album has actually gone UP in the Billboard charts - from 6 to 4 - since their anti-Bush statement. I doubt it's just from copies people bought to burn."

Hmmm. Could it be that this whole crushing of dissent notion is exaggerated?

THE OSCARS AUDIENCE wasn't booing Michael Moore; they were booing the booers. Big fat deluded idiot man explains:


But, no, look I was very appreciative of, you know, the standing ovation there and the booing that started was way up in the balcony, and then the people supporting what I was saying started booing them.



Whatever helps you sleep at night, Mike.

THE BBC'S war coverage is biased and incompetent, according to a BBC war correspondent:


The BBC's coverage of the war has come under fire from one of its own correspondents in the Gulf who has fired off a furious memo claiming the corporation is misleading viewers about the conflict in Iraq.

Paul Adams, the BBC's defence correspondent who is based at the coalition command centre in Qatar, complained that the corporation was conveying a untruthful picture of how the war was progressing.

Adams accused the BBC's coverage of exaggerating the military impact of casualties suffered by UK forces and downplaying their achievements on the battlefield during the first few days of the conflict.

"I was gobsmacked to hear, in a set of headlines today, that the coalition was suffering 'significant casualties'. This is simply not true," Adams said in the memo.

"Who dreamed up the line that the coalition are achieving 'small victories at a very high price?' The truth is exactly the opposite. The gains are huge and costs still relatively low. This is real warfare, however one-sided, and losses are to be expected," Adams continued.



This memo applies with equal force to Australia's ABC. They want us to lose.

THE BUNYIP is back, and he's got Melbourne Age columnist Kenneth Davidson pinned down and squirming in a dank and inaccessible section of the billabong. Davidson, he writes, "does confirm a long-standing suspicion that fools seldom differ. In fact, they often use the same words."

Indeed. Here's Davidson on March 20:


Davidson: The blueprint for the creation of a ‘global Pax America’, to which Bush subscribes and which is driving the invasion of Iraq, was drawn up in September 2000 for Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush (George's younger brother) and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff). The document, called Rebuilding America's Defences: strategies, forces and resources for a new century, was written in September 2000 by the neo-conservative think tank Project for the New American Century.



And here's Neil Mackay in Scotland's Sunday Herald:


Mackay: The blueprint, uncovered by the Sunday Herald, for the creation of a 'global Pax Americana' was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice- president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld's deputy), George W Bush's younger brother Jeb and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding America's Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century, was written in September 2000 by the neo-conservative think-tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC).



Hmmm. Those two excerpts seem similar or something. While we're at it, let's review the Bunyip's other Davidson investigations. Here's a line from Kadaverous Kenneth's kolumn of October 7, 2002:


Davidson: The wording of the accord was designed to guarantee rejection. It amounted to a demand for Yugoslavia to surrender unconditionally to US/NATO control.



This is how Noam Chomsky expressed the same thoughts some years earlier:


Chomsky: ... the wording was designed so as to guarantee rejection. Perhaps so. It is hard to imagine that any country would consider such terms, except in the form of unconditional surrender.



The same Davidson column also recalled a 1998 piece by William Blum:


Davidson: In 1997, the US Senate passed the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act. Section 307 stipulates that 'The President may deny a request to inspect any facility in the United States in cases where the President determines that the inspection may pose a threat to the national security interest of the United States'.

Blum: Less than a year ago, the U.S. Senate passed an act to implement the ‘Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction’ (Short title: Chemical Weapons Convention) ... The Senate act, Section 307, stipulates that 'the President may deny a request to inspect any facility in the United States in cases where the President determines that the inspection may pose a threat to the national security interests of the United States.'

Davidson: Section 303 of the act stipulates that 'any objection by the President to an individual serving as an inspector ... shall not be reviewable in any court'.

Blum: Section 303 further states that 'Any objection by the President to an individual serving as an inspector ... shall not be reviewable in any court.'



Davidson's September 23, 2002, column was what you could describe as "dependent" on a July 24 online item by Clinton Fernandes:


Davidson: Iraq was a client state or, in polite terms, an ally. Client states are defined, according to US academic Noam Chomsky, by their obedience, not their values. Saddam was given diplomatic cover for as long as he was obedient to US interests. Now, he is damned as a monster.

Fernandes: As Noam Chomsky has remarked, client states are called 'allies' in polite terms, and they are defined by their obedience, not their values. Saddam Hussein was an 'ally' until he became disobedient. While he was obedient, he was armed and given diplomatic cover. When he became disobedient ...

Davidson: A client oil state was first defined by Lord Curzon, who was the British foreign secretary after World War I. He said it was an 'Arab facade ruled and administered under British guidance and controlled by a native Mohammedan and, as far as possible, by an Arab staff . . . There should be no actual incorporation of the conquered territory in the dominions of the conqueror, but the absorption may be veiled by such constitutional fictions as a protectorate, a sphere of influence, a buffer state and so on'.

Fernandes: This is what Lord Curzon referred to as an 'Arab facade' - a state 'ruled and administered under British guidance and controlled by a native Mohammedan, and, as far as possible, by an Arab staff'. For the client state, the principle to be followed is that 'there should be no actual incorporation of conquered territory in the dominions of the conqueror, but that the absorption may be veiled by constitutional fictions as a protectorate, a sphere of influence, a buffer State, and so on.'



And yet more from Davidson's Sept. 23 column, this time compared to a some lines written by Fernandes in April 2002:


Davidson: The official US State Department history (1945, volume 8, page 45) noted: 'These resources constituted a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history ... probably the richest economic prize in the world in the field of foreign investment.'

Fernandes: As the US State Department noted at the time, these reserves constitute 'a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history ... probably the richest economic prize in the world in the field of foreign investment'. Sources: (US Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1945, VIII, 45; cited in Joyce and Gabriel Kolko, The Limits of Power (New York: Harper & Row, 1972).



Media Watch might be interested in all of this. As MW executive producer Peter McEvoy once wrote: "We try to be balanced and we're more than happy to come down on some lefty columnists if we catch them stuffing up."

It took a Bunyip to do it. Media Watch's team of state-funded researchers couldn't catch a mutant cold.

HOW IS IT, asks Jacob T. Levy, that distant Australia considers fighting Iraq its responsibility, when almost no other country in the world is doing the same? Interesting piece.

A PRO-WAR editorial ... from China:


Those who maintain that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein has no connection to the international war on terrorism are in most cases the same people who deny that the anti-terrorist struggle is in fact a "war" at all. This is yet another symptom of the international dismissal of 9/11.

The solution, for most of the world, is to shelter behind the illusion that the world is still at peace. This, even while the flames of Islamist terror - characterized above all by the indiscriminate murder of civilians - spread across the planet, fanned by international cowardice, irresolution and even complicity. After a decade of Clintonian appeasement, culminating in the Manhattan atrocity, the US has had enough of this.

Some disputes cannot be resolved by any amount of arguing. Especially when, as in this case, argument disguises bitter antagonism.

Much of the world has deliberately blinded itself to the depravity and menace of Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Hopefully this cocoon of self-deception will be among the early casualties of the campaign.


3.26.2003

THOSE RUMSFELD press conferences are becoming more lively by the day:


"Now that some Americans have been killed and captured, will you admit the futility of this war and that its costs are too high?"

Rumsfeld thought about that for a moment. "I think the best way to answer that question would be to rip this podium out of the ground and then smash it over your head," Rumsfeld said, ripping the podium out of the ground and then smashing it over the reporter's head. "Any other questions?"

THE NEW YORK TIMES can't even correct itself with any style these days. As Eugene Volokh points out, previous editors were more deft.

ALAN ANDERSON wants a war election. The numbers sure stack up.

TANK CHASERS! A Hutz of leftist Australian lawyers and their commie clients are planning to disgrace themselves, reports Janet Albrechtsen:


Last Thursday, before the first shot had been fired in Iraq, law firm Slater & Gordon warned that their clients would count dead bodies in their pursuit of Prime Minister John Howard and his senior ministers for war crimes.

Most of their clients have been vigorous opponents of Howard. Called the Victorian Peace Network they include the Socialist Party, the Socialist Alternative, the International Socialists Organisation, the Democratic Socialist Party, a selection of unions and student unions.



Scum. Janet closes with this:


While lawyers vie for the spotlight on the international stage, Australia's finest are engaged in other pursuits in the war in Iraq. Writing home to Australia last Christmas one soldier serving overseas wrote: "Australia sleep well. We are keeping watch." Few among us can claim such a fine job description.

FOX NEWS coverage of the war is "like the Jerry Springer Show", according to ABC radio's Sally Loane, who just described the network as more entertainment than journalism. She then took a call on her main subject of the morning: knitting as the hip trend among Sydney's cool people.

UPDATE. Now SMH "journalist" David Dale is on. He tells Sally that the BBC is "very balanced". Fox presents "wishful thinking", promoting the "constant idea that they're winning". It has "no credibility" and is "misleading" its audience. The BBC is "giving a reasonable position".

JAMES MORROW on the Oscars, in today's Australian:


It is telling that Moore mentioned the Dixie Chicks, for the recent experience of this all-female American country music act might indicate why so many otherwise outspoken celebrities decided to say their thank-yous, then sit down and shut up.



Precisely. Commercial reality is a bitch-stomp corrective to the anti-war artistic elite. Who knew their price was so low?

ONE OF the Opera House vandals wants to migrate to Australia:


A peace protester who scaled the Sydney Opera House to paint a massive "No War" slogan on one of its famous white sails was fighting deportation yesterday.

Dr Will Saunders, a British astronomer in Australia on a sponsored working visa, was last week issued with an Immigration Department notice of intent to cancel his visa.

"I love Australia, and I will settle here if you will have me," he said.



We won't.

LEARN FROM my bitter experience: you do not want to confuse an invitation from the Ba-ath Party with an invitation to a bath party. Trust me on this.

ALAN RAMSEY has become unhinged:


We learnt this week, however, that Britain's first battle deaths were two pilots disintegrated by a missile from a US ground crew, and that American marines shot up a CNN television crew, killing at least one and most likely three journalists ...



Terry Lloyd and his associates worked for ITV, not CNN, and nobody - so far as I'm aware - has yet established the source of the friendly fire that killed him. His own network says the deadly round may have come from British troops, but is uncertain. Ramsey seems to have a problem with low civilian casualties, too:


It's just that you look at the grossness, in this country's political leadership as well as what is happening in Iraq, with its "humane bombing", as Washington obscenely portrays it - "tapestry" bombing as opposed to "carpet" bombing, one talking head observed - and you can't help feeling the sheer madness of it all.



Ramsey thinks a bombing campaign that spares civilians is "obscene" and "madness"? It's time for the Sydney Morning Herald to book Al a retirement suite in Crazy World.

GUESS the speaker:


"This Hitler has only one objective: justice for his people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people and their rights over their resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold."



Yes, it's little Bobby Mugabe, Jacques Chirac's playdate pal, currently delivering justice and independence via the unusual medium of whips and iron bars.

MENTIONED IN this week's column for The Bulletin: Richard Neville, Saddam Hussein, Freedom Beanies™, Bob Ellis, Terry Lane, Mike Carlton, Damien Lawson, Bob Brown, Carmen Lawrence, George Bush, Tony Blair, John Howard, John Highfield, Phillip Adams, the EU, Bob Lutz, the Leyland P76, Greenpeace, Robert Manne, and Elvis.

UPDATE. Combustible Boy takes the Lyric Challenge (see column above), offering three potential closing lines to this verse :


Open the doors of the chambers of your hearts

Open your minds to our song

We sing for peace, through the power of love,



CB's suggested lines:


"... and a free game of Donkey Kong"?

"... have a hit off our skull-shaped bong"?

"... got your nuts in our salad tongs"?



From John O'Leary:


" ... and your ventricles will follow along."



Eric Carra aims for the surrealist vote:


"... hamsters crawl through our brains." (who said it had to rhyme?)



Dr Alice brings her medical wisdom to the subject:


"Open the doors of the chambers of your hearts"? Um, those would be valves. These people appear to be advocating bacterial endocarditis as part of the peace process:

Open the doors of the chambers of your hearts

Open your minds to our song

We sing for peace, through the power of love,

Though our grasp of anatomy is completely wrong.

ANDREW COYNE in the National Post:


Take the famous "bombing of Baghdad": a bombing so terrible that the lights are still on, the bridges are intact and the cars are in the streets; a bombing so brutal a Canadian peace activist interviewed by The Globe and Mail was moved to describe it as "tiring" ("I'm totally sick of being bombed"); a bombing with so many civilian casualties that Robert Fisk could personally visit them all.

FORMER LABOR LEADER Kim Beazley thinks Tony Blair is right to pursue war in Iraq. So he must think John Howard is also right, yes? Au contraire! As Beazley explains, Howard's case is somehow completely different:


ALEXANDRA KIRK: What about your friend, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, why do you think he's been such a staunch advocate of military action against Iraq, UN-backed or not?

KIM BEAZLEY: I think Tony Blair has been the standout amongst the international leaders engaged in this, for being primarily motivated by a deep moral commitment, a sort of core central direction.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: We could argue that about John Howard as well.

KIM BEAZLEY: No, no you can't. We'll set that to one side. Not at all, not a bit of it, and nor the force and understanding that Blair brings to this subject. I've already explained what I think about John Howard's level of commitment and what motivated that.

No, Blair is infinitely superior a person when it comes to determining the course he ought to go down. He may well have come to the conclusion that's in British interests; my conclusion is that this is not in Australian interests.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: So why would it be not in Australia's interests, but why would it be in British interests?

KIM BEAZLEY: I'm not going to even begin to comment on why you might think it's in British interests, but it's not in Australian interests, because it renders us less secure, because it breaks up coalitions that were important to us in the war on terror.



Beazley's insightful logic is one of the reasons voters are flocking to the federal Labor Party. Well said, Kim.

JUSTIN KATZ encounters another wise, sensitive youngster mouthing off. Am I being too harsh when I call for these children to be staked to ant beds?

No. No, I am not.

MORE NAKED PEACE THERAPY:


Disrobe for Disarmament spokeswoman Linda Seaborn said despite the cold, it was a very empowering experience.

"Before we did this, we were all feeling very overwhelmed," she said.



And now they don't! Isn't that wonderful?


The women - most of whom headed off to work after baring all - would hold a "what next" meeting later this week.



Followed by a "how to reverse park" seminar and a "do I look fat in this?" workshop.

3.25.2003

AS WE NOW KNOW, our man from British Sky News - who was convinced that an American pilot had been captured in the Tigris - was a little misinformed. Paul McGeogh reports from the scene that some in the crowd were even urging the non-existent US airman to safety.

DEATH BURIES CYNICISM:


So now an Australian cameraman has been killed by people most Australian commentators and many politicians said did not exist – members of Iraq's al-Qa'ida connection.

Ansar al-Islam, the group that killed Paul Moran, operates in northern Iraq in an area not controlled by Baghdad. It has been trained by al-Qa'ida, funded by al-Qa'ida and includes Arab al- Qa'ida operatives in its number.

All of this has been on the record for months. Yet the Australian debate has been infused by such irresponsible cynicism, and such an ill-informed but pervasive assumption that all these threats are exaggerated or even invented, that Ansar al-Islam – one of the most obvious connections between Iraq, terrorism and al-Qa'ida – has been almost totally ignored in the debate.



Professor James Lindgren writes:


Since much of the anti-war Australian press thinks that there is no Al Qaida/Iraq link (and therefore no need for Australia to send troops to Iraq to prevent future Bali-like massacres), it must confuse them greatly when an Australian news reporter is killed by an Al Qaida group in Iraq--indeed, the very Al Qaida group that supporters of the war have been pointing to as one reason to go into Iraq. In fact, it's the very same Iraqi Al Qaida group that was formerly reported as the probable source of the Ricin discovered in England and France. 

When supporters of the war would mention the Al Qaida terrorist training camp in Northern Iraq, they would be derided.



And they probably still will be. With the anti-war crowd, we're not exactly talking rapid assimilation of information.

AUSTRALIAN SOLDIERS are creating beautiful havoc:


“Special forces have been active destroying enemy installations either using their own resources, or directing coalition air support for destruction mission.

"Our forces are denying freedom of movement to the Iraqi forces.

"They are generally creating havoc and uncertainty behind lines, and are constantly redeploying in their area of operations.

"My conclusion is that the special forces have been very successful in interrupting enemy operations."

MICHAEL MOORE even lies to himself:


In an interview after the show, Moore said he did not hear the jeers. "I was extremely grateful for the response," he said. "I mean, that's not what I saw. I saw the entire place stand up and applaud. I mean, don't report that. Don't say there was a split decision in the hall because five loud people booed. Do your job and tell the truth. This is how this town feels, and the majority of Americans did not support getting into this war."



Interesting that Maximum Mike orders journalists to censor their copy. Sounds a little like that "crushing of dissent" we hear so much about. Hey, did anyone else catch Michael's new word, blurted out in panic as his speech commenced to tank? "Fictition". Dubya himself would be proud.

James Lileks notes another Official Oscars Gibberish Moment:


The announcer flubs a word, and in doing so she birthed a term of surpassing perfection. She was talking about the Holeywud ectors, their deseyah not to seem out of sync with the mood of the times. Two words must have appeared in her brain simultaneously: frivolity and privileged.

And so she said of the actors who declined to appear:

"They fear the ceremony will appear friviledge."

IF MARGO KINGSTON is a Webdiarist, Robert Fisk must be a Quagmirist.

CHECK OUT K-Dog R, the mine-seeking dolphin - and future gangsta rapper. K-Dog is in the house!

UPDATE. Dolphins trump SEALs! Conrad writes:


Some years back, when I was a young US Marine officer, I had two friends in Navy SEAL Team 6 who told me about training missions in which they played divers seeking to attack Navy ships from below, while trained dolphins were employed to stop them.  Apparently the SEALs got their asses kicked. There I heard tales of face masks and airhoses ripped off and other underwater mayhem. I remember one of my buddies repeating over and over, "I hate those fucking fish!"

EVIDENCE, at last, that it really is all about oil!

WE LIVE in a gilded age. Our lifespans are longer, our freedoms more abundant, and our dreams more achievable than for any generation prior. Yet still emerge talents so sublime as to remind humankind of our massive potential, thus far unrealised.

I speak, obviously, of Margo Kingston.

No other living practictioner of the paranoid arts can compete with Australia's gift to irrational panic. Margo's latest is a masterpiece:


Hi. I stopped watching the war after Saturday night, when US troops planted the United States flag after conquering a port town, and Turkey decided to send its troops into Iraq. This war is unbearable, a frightening threat to world peace. This should not be Australia's war.



Margo has refused to follow other wars; prior to the conflict in Afghanistan, she decided it was phoney and unworthy of her attention. Hers is an unconventional approach to journalism.


This is not a war of liberation. It is a war of conquest. We are all in danger.



Australia is next to be crushed by Bush's rapacious war machine! It would be worth it, actually, just to see Margo's reaction.


The photograph just about all the papers ran on Saturday - of an American soldier giving water to a captured Iraqi - looked like a still from a Hollywood movie. And I haven't seen any shots in our papers of Iraqi casualties - have you?



Hey, lazy gal, if you can't be bothered following the war, why should we?


On the right hand column of Webdiary, another staged shot which tells the tale of not just an ordinary war of conquest, but a religious crusade, a religious war.



The shot is "staged"? How so? Where is the fakery Margo implies? What part of the image is inaccurate or deceptive? How has the photographer manipulated events? Does Margo even know what "staged" means?


An American soldier, Saddam in his sights, has a picture of a naked, buxom woman on his dashboard, an obvious affront to Muslim sensibilities.



Shocking nudity! Muslims will be offended! Curiously, Margo didn't give a damn about Muslim sensibilities when she was promoting naked anti-war protests. Australia's 300,000 Muslims no doubt reeled in terror. They probably don't think much of the fact that Margo has a job and gets around burkha-less, either.


And on his helmet, lines from Psalm 37: "The wicked plot against the just and ground their teeth at them, but the LORD laughs at them, knowing their day is coming."



Well, that proves it. One soldier writes somes scripture on his helmet, therefore the entire war is a religious crusade.

And all along I thought it was about oil.

FOR THE latest and most up-to-datest news, go to Blogs of War.

IS THE US as wicked as Iraq? Easy question to answer; just imagine by whom you'd rather be held captive. Today's editorial in The Australian:


Events of the past 48 hours have reinforced the moral chasm separating the two parties to the conflict in the Gulf.

Those events include the pictures flashed around the world of US, and Iraqi, prisoners of war. A stunning image on the front of The Weekend Australian on Saturday showed two US Marines giving an exhausted Iraqi soldier a drink after capturing him near the Kuwait border. A day later, however, came much more disturbing images of PoWs. Five US soldiers were seen being interrogated on Iraqi television; one of them, seriously wounded, was mistreated by his interrogators, being dragged into a sitting position to answer questions. But worse was to come, with images of dead US soldiers, some of them appearing to have been executed, being dragged across the floor, shown with their trousers down, and otherwise mistreated by grinning Iraqi officials.

The contrast between these images, and the utterly different treatment of PoWs that they reveal, should serve as a corrective to any drift towards moral relativism regarding the allies in this war, and the regime that they are fighting to disarm.



Should serve, but won't. The whimsically-named "peace movement" is now beyond reach of sensible argument.

AUSTRALIAN FORCES UPDATE: SAS troops engaged Iraqi units in western Iraq, reports Brigadier Maurie McNarn:


As we did in Afghanistan we have our own area of operations as we do things in our own particular way.



Our guys won. Earlier, Australian fighter pilots aborted a mission when it seemed civilians would be exposed to excessive danger:


The RAAF F-18 fighter pilots were allocated a target by the coalition forces' command. But as they got closer, the pilots stopped the mission because their intelligence was insufficient to identify the target positively, Brigadier Mike Hannan said.



Meanwhile successful bombing raids continue:


Australian FA-18 Hornet fighter jets led bombing raids on identified targets over Iraq overnight, Defence officials said today.

They confirmed at a media briefing that all Australians fighting in Iraq were safe and well, and still undertaking missions.

Defence spokesman Brigadier Mike Hannan said Australian FA-18 Hornet fighter jets dropped laser-guided 2,000 pound bombs on the targets.

ANDREW BOLT writes:


How dare our "peace" protesters presume to speak for Iraqis to justify their hysterical opposition to this war?

Speak for yourselves, appeasers. Many Iraqis who dare to defy Saddam Hussein and his secret agents are trying to tell you they support this war.



Read whole thing. Is good.

MORE UNBIASED taxpayer-funded wisdom from the ABC's World Today crew, who sought out fringe-dwelling commie William Blum for comment on captured US troops:


WILLIAM BLUM: We saw the people taken prison in Afghanistan, who were then taken to Cuba. They were tied up like animals, blindfolded and put in cages, and that was shown all over the world. Speaking of prisoners being humiliated, I think that would stand far in excess of what happened now in Iraq.

JOHN HIGHFIELD: At what stage do you believe Americans will start to turn against the war?

WILLIAM BLUM: They are against it. If you ask the right questions, if you ask … see, the questions they ask usually in the polls is: do you support the President's attempt to overthrow the government of Saddam Hussein? Well, for that I myself might even answer yes. That implies that the only consequence of a war would be to overthrow one tyrant.



It all depends on the "right questions". And what question would Blum ask?


WILLIAM BLUM: If you ask a question like: do you support the dropping of powerful explosives upon the heads of totally innocent men, women and children, demolishing their homes and their schools and their hospitals, are you in favour of that? That would change the answers, I think, quite a bit.



It would also change the truth, which is nothing the ABC or Blum cares about.

AUSTRALIAN AIR MARSHALL Angus Houston briefed the media yesterday, and in response to a question about a piece in the New York Times had this to say (via radio, no link):


I can't comment on articles that appear in American newspapers. The information we give you here is factual.



Good call.

MORE HAPPY ANTICS from the peaceful people:


In Sydney, they set alight 700 newspapers outside the Condell Park Newsagency and used black spray to paint the words "Kill Bush" and "Kill Blair" across shops in the area.



Environmentalists will be distraught.

THE ABC'S JOHN HIGHFIELD - who believes coalition bombing of Baghdad is comparable to Nazi blitzkrieg attacks - offers military advice to Western troops:


Perhaps some of those in command would have done well to read some of the ancient tactics developed by Alexander The Great, as he made his war advances, for it seems American and British soldiers and armour are being slowed down, forced to deal with pockets of Iraqi soldiers attacking fragmented supply lines lying behind the advance.



Memo to John: the US has atomic bombs. Any time they like, they can deal with "pockets of Iraqi soldiers" - or pockets of the whole damn world - in an instant. Coalition forces are pulling their punches. They don't want to kill everybody, and they're taking losses as a result.

Tomorrow Highfield will be telling Ricky Ponting how to bat.

3.24.2003

UNTIL KEIKO gets an AOL account, this exchange between Roger Ebert and Michael Moore represents the greatest pounds per word ratio in global e-mail history.

(Thanks to reader Brad Johnson for the alert. Talk about bulk mail.)

By the way, who is Moore to condemn fiction? No wonder he was booed.

CHINA has fallen to fundamentalist Islam! We are surely doomed.

"IRAQ WILL not harm the captured prisoners of war," Defence Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmed told a news conference.

Hans Blix might believe him.

DRUDGE HAS images of the murdered US servicemen filmed by Al-Jazeera.

Presumably these terrifying stills will be of great comfort to the peaceful Indymedia children, one of whom writes:


Support our Troops--but only those who Frag their commanding officer.

MICHAEL MOORE thoughtfully provides a grand photoshopping opportunity. Have at him, pixel mavens.

UPDATE. Photoshoppin' pranksterism ahoy! And it seems Moore doesn't have the total support of Hollywood's elite ...

CONGRATULATIONS to Perth's Gareth Parker, king of all the Australian Rules Football umpiring bloggers!

SEVERAL US SERVICEMEN are apparently captive at the hands of Saddam's ghouls. Impossible to sleep after reading this.

AIEEE! IT BREEDS! John Pilger's daughter Zoe proves that the stupid apple doesn't fall far from the idiot tree. Let's fisk little teenage commie girl:


Of all the carnage to come from a war in Iraq, one positive element has emerged. Young people of my generation are becoming more and more politicised.



Isn't it great? Maybe if a few Tomahawks go astray and rub out a kindergarten, they'll become even more politicised! Cool!


It is now normal for me to overhear 14-year-olds discussing the pros and cons of military intervention, on the bus on the way home from school.



They're probably talking about your house, Zoe. I favour intervention.


It is common to turn on the television and see students under the age of 18 defying their teachers, waving banners and megaphones, and protesting in Parliament Square.



Not on my television it isn't. Not since I installed FuckWitBlock™, anyway.


"Generation apathy" has officially woken up. This is much to the dismay of the British media who have long cherished the view that young people are indifferent to politics. We would rather, if you believe what you read, vote for our favourite contestant on some brain-dead reality TV show such as Big Brother than for our choice of prime minister in the next general election. Reporters such as Andrew Marr of the BBC have dismissed the massive growth of school students' direct action against the war with back-handed comments like: "Well, it beats doing your homework."



Does anyone else detect the leaden hand of Big Daddy John in this grinding, painful prose?


A new anger has arisen, fed by other issues that affect our lives, such as the proposed top-up fees for students. For the first time young people are asking how it is that the Government cannot afford to send our generation to university without loading them with up to £21,000 of debt? And yet it can afford to spend untold billions on a war against a country which poses no immediate threat.



Yep. Pure JP.


For many of us, such priorities are wrong. This is also the first major war in our living memory, and there are no "grey area" justifications, like there were in Afghanistan, when we were supposed to believe that searching for an evil baddie in caves was enough reason to level a starving Third World country.



That "living memory" of hers isn't very accurate. Afghanistan was levelled?


The increase in press attention to the anti-war movement from wide circulation papers such as The Mirror (Daddy's paper!) and The Independent has helped us become more shrewd in reinterpreting the propaganda and lies in other parts of the media. For example, students from my school strongly opposed to the war dismissed the front-page and government calls to "support our boys in the Gulf". As one 15-year-old campaigner observed: "I'll support the troops when they start coming home."



Talk about your shrewd reinterpretations. That kid'll be reading at an 11-year-old level within two years, tops.


It is a well-documented figure in the young anti-war movement that 42 per cent of the Iraqi population are under 15. As one student shouted from our school stage on Thursday: "We're not going to die, so why should they?"



Quite so. The London schoolchildren must be killed at once.

REGRETTABLE BUT minimal civilian injuries in Baghdad leave Robert Fisk sounding a little underwhelmed. Where's all the mayhem? Where's the random carpet bombing? Where's all the death? Why aren't the Americans being, well, more American?


Yesterday, Baghdad could still function. The landline telephones worked; the internet operated; the electrical power was at full capacity; the bridges over the Tigris remained unbombed. Because, of course, when – "if" is still a sensitive phrase these days – the Americans get here, they will need a working communications system, electricity, transport. What has been spared is not a gift to the Iraqi people: it is for the benefit of Iraq's supposed new masters.



Evil Americans. Now they're not destroying the village in order to save it. How despicable can a people be?

MIKE SECCOMBE, whose Fairfax employers endlessly accentuate the negative, is annoyed that other media see different angles:


Rupert Murdoch's Fox is the most flag-wavingly patriotic and least objective. Like all Murdoch media, Fox is under instructions to get behind the war effort.

And people are awake to it. At yesterday's big anti-war demonstration in Canberra there were anti-Murdoch placards as well as anti-Howard and anti-Bush ones.

The other American networks are little better. Cynics might suspect they have decided US public opinion supports the war, and so they will, as the song goes, "accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative".



Or maybe they just don't take their editorial cues from placard-waving 'tards.

3.23.2003

BRITISH SKY NEWS is claiming with absolute certainty that two coalition airmen parachuted into Baghdad after their aircraft was presumably shot down, and that one airman has been captured. Sky's reporter in Iraq just told the studio: "Somebody has been captured here without a doubt."

But Fox and CNN (and Sky, for that matter) have only denials from US/British authorities. All aircraft and personnel are accounted for. The riverside scene being shown on all networks is yet to show anything that might be evidence. Developing, as Drudge might say.

UPDATE. Rumsfeld now says he has reports of an allied aircraft having been shot down, but offers little further detail.

TEARS OF FREEDOM:


Zahra Khafi, a 68-year-old mother of five, cried as a group of American and British visitors came to the town shortly after Saddam's army had appeared to melt away. "I'm not afraid of Saddam anymore."



No thanks to the UN, Hans Blix, or the global hate-the-West peace brigades.

UPDATE. Or the French, or the Germans, or the Russians.

FURTHER UPDATE. Or the Australian Labor Party, or Robert Fisk, or Margo Kingston.

SPECULATION is renewed over Saddam's possible death, and the number of Iraqi refuseniks swells to 10,000.

ALAN RAMSEY is sick, and Hugh Mackay is not too bright.

And their online SMH sidekick Margo Kingston, as always, hasn't posted a single item during the weekend - despite, you know, the war and all. Calls herself a journalist.

AN AUSTRALIAN JOURNALIST has been killed in northern Iraq. No word yet on his or her identity. I fear that it's someone I know. Also, British journalist Terry Lloyd, his cameraman and their translator are missing in southern Iraq.

MIRANDA DEVINE writes:


How will the hate-filled zealots of the anti-war movement who bombard me daily with violent emails react to the joy of the liberated Iraqi people? With silence, most likely, having learned nothing.