4.05.2003

PRO-WAR people, according to the Melbourne Age's deep-thinking Hugh Mackay, are largely gullible, enjoy the violence of warfare, are impatient and bored, can't be bothered following debate, or are suckers for propaganda. But as for the anti-war people ...


On the other side of the argument, among the majority who still oppose this war, something rather more complex is occurring: beyond the shame over Australia having been cast in the role of aggressor and the outrage over the illegality of the invasion, there's a quiet, persistent voice that may yet rise to a roar: "Of course we are against this war; come to think of it, we are against war."

These are not traditional pacifists. They are people - especially women - who are looking at the concept of war through 21st century eyes, seeing it as an affront to history, an admission of failure and a pathetically primitive, wearyingly predictable resort to violence.



These complex anti-war people just know a whole bunch more stuff than us lumpen primitives. Excuse me now while I go outside and rearrange the rock fence guarding the hut perimeter; our local augurer predicts increased Wilde Beaste activity this evening.

ANDREW BOLT nails it:


Being against the war was yesterday's argument: today the only question is whether you are for or against victory.

'ERE, YOUNG OODAY, go down to village well and fetch us a pail of anthrax. There's a good lad:


Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's son Uday speaks English with a Yorkshire accent, and was a happy young student, his British former teacher told Newsweek magazine.



UPDATE. Paul Zrimsek provides the required Monty Python sketch:


"Plastic shredders? We used to *dream* of 'aving plastic shredders. When I were a lad, we 'ad to get oop at three o'clock in t'morning and work 27-hour day at secret police headquarters, rending dissidents with ordinary garden rake. But tell that to yer yoong war protestors today, and they won't believe you.”

IT MUST have been fun living here back in the early days:


The English feared the Irish right from the start in Australia. They also despised them for their ignorance.

Many Irish convicts believed China lay 150 miles to the west of Sydney and groups would abscond into the bush in search of this fabled place, despite all the efforts of the governors to give them geography lessons.

So ignorant were the Irish that one group even had a compass drawn on a piece of paper, believing it would guide their path.



This faith in paper led many of their descendants to become Sydney Morning Herald columnists.


THE AUSTRALIAN has an excellent little flash presentation covering the war's recent events. Watch for the image of coalition soldiers walking alongside a happy Umm Qasr youngster, accompanied by these words from the Iraqi "information" minister: "They are trapped in Umm Qasr! Trapped, I tell you!"

FORMER Dubya drinking pal John Newcombe is recovering from a mild stroke.

THE BLOG LIVES! Apologies to regular readers for the complete absence of posts since April 1. A meltdown at Blogger HQ rendered this site (and many others) inoperable.

Thankfully, Big John Little at Blogs of War was kind enough to offer me a virtual home for the duration. John runs one fine show, and it was a delight to contribute. Posts by me at BoW mention Bianca Jagger, Scott Ritter, Guy Rundle, John Kerry, the Daily Mirror, Tina Brown, the Guardian, a
Basra chocolate vendor, gun laws, John Pilger, Peter FitzSimons, Simon Crean, Miranda Devine, the Baghdad market
bomb disaster, George Jones, Margo Kingston, and stupid protesters.

Thank you again, John, for taking in a homeless blogger who was down on his luck. Now, let's continue with the mayhem!

4.01.2003

IRAQ IS SADDAM'S COUNTRY, writes Margo Kingston, and his murderous brutes are right to defend it:


I realised Bush was mad when his army chiefs starting calling suicide bombers and guerilla fighters "terrorists". For God sake, it's their country, and they're facing overwhelming force! The US is INVADING Iraq, to take it over - their bodies are in some cases the only effective weapon they've got.



Maybe they could form a protective barrier around Baghdad with all the bodies of the Iraqis Saddam has had killed. Just an idea.


No country can hope to beat the Yanks off with conventional weapons - they've got air, sea and land completely covered. The only recourse is chemical, biological and nuclear weapons (the Yanks used them in Vietnam, and have not ruled out using them in this war).



Anyone remember nukes being used in Vietnam?


And as I've said before, if Australia is attacked, it's no longer terrorism. We have invaded Iraq. Iraq, or its new allies, have every right to attack back.



So if the UN had approved the war - in which case, by the way, Margo says she would have supported an invasion - Iraq would have every right to attack the UN. Send the monster an e-mail, with my love. Send a letter to the editor as well, in memory of all those Vietnamese who died in the atomic holocaust.

GLENN SACKS rips Helen Caldicott.

SOCIALIST ALLIANCE, the urine-borne pathogen driving Australia's anti-war movement, is demanding a massive attendance at the coming round of "peace" rallies:


This will confirm to the vast majority of Australians that the Howard government is totally isolated and illegitimate and must fall.

If this plan is implemented the people would almost certainly vote the Coalition out and install a Labor government.



Socialists love their plans. Too bad they never work. This latest plan is particularly brilliant, as the very result it seeks is being destroyed by the plan itself:


Simon Crean's approval rating has plummeted to a record low and Labor's support has slumped to a disastrous level that would see the ALP lose up to 18 seats if a federal election were held now.

And voter dissatisfaction has touched 60 per cent for the first time, marking Mr Crean as one of the most unpopular Opposition leaders in years.

John Howard's standing as preferred prime minister has returned to a record high, opening up a 45 per cent gap – 62 per cent to 17 per cent – over his embattled rival.



Keep on planning, babies.

POOR PETER ARNETT, fired for a mere suggestion:


Celebrated news correspondent Peter Arnett, famed for his coverage of the Vietnam War and the first Gulf war, has been sacked by NBC after he suggested on Iraqi television that the US war plan had failed.

GERARD HENDERSON on Michael Moore:


He deserved an Oscar for alienation - a phenomenon best explained as dislike for, or hatred of, an individual's society and its leaders. Alienated types tend to be relatively well-off and well-educated men and women who enjoy the freedoms and riches provided by Western societies and use their status to dump on politicians and, by implication, those who elected them.

Some members of the intelligentsia - and the super rich (like Moore) - enjoy wallowing in such self-hatred. Stupid White Men includes a chapter called "Kill Whitey". This is from an author who expresses understandable concern at the high homicide rates in the US. Sounds bizarre. But not so to the American heartland, as the Oscars demonstrated. Moore's alienated rage was applauded by a few members of the Hollywood tinsel town audience, although not by Oscar nominees and their guests who chose to remain silent. Not so those of lesser means, and status, who occupied what are termed the "cheap seats" who exhibited their disgust at such alienation - at a time when US forces are at war - by booing loudly. Bravo.



Henderson also dices Noam Chomsky. Go read.

ROBERT FISK, privy to the innermost thoughts of all Arabs, eulogises suicide bomber Ali Jaffar Moussa Hamadi al-Nomani:


President Saddam awarded him the Military Medal (1st Class) and the "Mother of All Battles" medal. The dead man left five children, a widow and a place in the 2,000-year history of Iraqi resistance to invasions. A US spokesman said that the attack "looks and feels like terrorism", although, since Nomani was attacking an occupation army and his target was a military one, no Arab would ever believe this.



Some might label Fisk's generalisation a form of racism.

THE ANTI-WAR movement in France isn't anti-war, reports the International Herald Tribune:


French Arab teenagers from the poor suburbs chanted slogans pledging war and martyrdom in the name of both Palestinians and Iraqis and against Israel. We are all Palestinians, we are all Iraqis, we are all kamikazes chanted one group, no older than 14 or 15, from the suburb of Garges-les-Gonesse. Others chanted We are all martyrs! Allahu Akbar! God is more powerful than the United States.

Both boys and girls wore the Palestinian scarf known as the kaffiyeh. One Moroccan-born man stepped on an image of the Israeli flag. Another French Arab pointed to a group of protesters from a Jewish student association and said: They are targets. They are not welcome here, because of what they did to our Palestinian brothers.

Banners at recent demonstrations have shown the Star of David intertwined with the Nazi swastika.



All of this leads the IHT to decide:


The anti-war movement in France has turned anti-Israeli.



Journalists are clever.

3.31.2003

MINE-AVOIDING SEA WEASELS:


The US Navy's mine-clearing dolphins have been the surprise media stars of the Iraq war, but they have not exactly won over Australian divers working alongside them.

The polite way to express their scepticism about the mine-clearing skills of the dolphins is to question their reliability and cost efficiency, but there is another way to put it.

"Flipper's fucked, mate," was how one diver saw things yesterday.

"The dolphins have had all this amazing publicity, but as soon as they put one in the water it shot through. There's a war going on and Flipper goes AWOL.”

SCORCHING IRAQI SUMMER alert! The ABC's World Today program just announced the impending arrival of Harsh Afghan Winter Version 2.0.

"CLEARLY," Michael Moore once claimed, "I am a person who suffers from a lack of ego."

That was back in December. Looks like Michael has since recovered; in this love poem to himself in today's Melbourne Age (first published in the LA Times), Moore mentions "I", "me" and "my" more than 50 times. Freud's concept of an id, ego, and super-ego is insufficient to accomodate Moore's condition. He possesses a Super Duper Mega Monster Ego, with cheese:


I had already received awards in the days leading up to the Oscars.

My book Stupid White Men still sits at No. 1 on the US bestseller list. Bowling for Columbine has broken all box-office records for a documentary. My website is now getting up to 20 million hits a day (more than the White House's site).

Diane Lane opened the envelope and announced the winner: Bowling for Columbine. The entire main floor rose to its feet for a standing ovation.

I didn't see a single person booing.

A few orchestra members came up to me later and apologised, saying they had wanted to hear what I had to say.

On the way back home, the day after the Oscars, two flight attendants told me how they had been stuck overnight in my home state - and wound up earning only $30 for the day because they are paid by the hour ... Who will speak for them if I don't? That's what I do, or try to do, every day of my life.



If not for Mike, flight attendants would have no voice. Nobody would.

DISSENT CRUSHED:


Motorists in Johannesburg who tooted their car horns outside the US consulate to demand an end to the war against Iraq were slapped with 100-rand ($20) fines.

PAUL SHEEHAN has an unusual reason for opposing the war in Iraq - he believes the Arab world is too immersed in hatred to be saved:


Such is the depth and breadth of the ocean of scapegoating and loathing of the West in the Arab diaspora that the greater the success of the US military, the greater the insult to Arab pride. So the Arab world, the Islamic world and the Trotskyite left have largely embraced Saddam. Better a genocidal Arab than a humiliated one.

Why on earth would the Americans - and British Prime Minister Tony Blair - want to sail on this ocean of racist rage?

THE SAME AUSTRALIANS who pay his ABC wages are philistines, according to David Marr:


Novelists and other artists must cease "flinching" from their marginalisation and work "to shake off the new philistinism of John Howard's Australia", the author and journalist David Marr says.

Delivering the annual Colin Simpson Lecture at the Australian Society of Authors' general meeting at the weekend, Marr derided the "exaltation of the average" among the Prime Minister's "radical populist" supporters.



"Exaltation of the average" accurately describes the critical response in Australia to Marr's work. He is adored by sump-witted intellectual slobs. And isn't it cute when leftists attack the average folks?


Marr suggested that political and business "elites" had inverted that term and directed it towards mostly poor and marginal artists. In response, literary novelists had retreated from the sharp edge of public debate.



He says this like it's a bad thing.


"So few Australian novels address in worldly, adult ways the country and the time in which we live. It's no good ceding that territory to people like me - to journalists. That's not enough. Even the best journalism dies because so much journalism is written in the air. But fiction lives - an essential in a country with a dramatically short attention span."



That's us; philistines with no attention span to speak of. Marr is an air-writing pseud.

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD'S Bernard Zuel, who was able to dodge the whole Bush-is-embarrassing controversy in his Dixie Chicks concert preview, gives the Prez a mention in his Dixie Chicks concert review:


Even their fellow Texan, the 40-watt dim George Bush, would recognise their music as country, even before he heard the more prominent bluegrass of their new material.



Reader Donnah writes:


I was very surprised by the gratuitous insult given by the reviewer about the president. Does the SMH have no editor? The lack of professionalism really surprised me. It reminded me of one of those free local rags set out in stacks by the bus stop.

FURTHER reader mail on Robert Fisk's fortunate find. Paul Hickman writes from Salinas, Kansas:


I'm sure it must have occurred to you that even if this fragment is genuinely from a piece of U.S. ordinance it doesn't necessarily follow that the fragment was retrieved from the market.  Planting evidence recovered from a different "crime" scene is an old trick.



From Reid Reynolds:


Excellent analysis. But how do we know Fisk actually collected the putative missile fragment from the area of the marketplace? Do I believe Fisk would substitute a piece of wreckage from an entirely different site in order to give the US a black eye? You betcha.



From Eric Glynn:


Any regular reader of Fisk would know that his columns condemn the killing of Iraqi innocents, their use as shields and the commission of war crimes and other "terrorist" tactics no matter who does this.

A problem with Fisk is that he does not join up with the hypocrites who condemn such practices, but only when the "wrong" side commits them.



From a former Naval Air Systems Command employee, whose name I'll take the precaution of not publishing:


That part number is indeed a piece of a HARM (AGM-88 series) High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile, insofar as I can tell.

I was a contract specialist on HARM in the ‘80s. In those days we were buying AGM-88A, and were in the process of transitioning to the AGM-88B. AGM-88C, IIRC, was the so-called "Block IV Upgrade". I imagine there have been various upgrades since.

One of the things you didn't try (why should you, you have no idea how the screwy DoD inventory system works!) is substituting a number for that "letter" that appears in the serial number. I tried the obvious choice -- 8 (i.e., 704AS87492) and fed it to the WEBFLIS systems and lo!--got a hit (I also tried avery other digit and got no hits). The complete results of my search are here, or you could just go to the top page (the one you link to)
and feed it the SerNo as shown above.


CAGE Code 30003 is in fact my old employer, Naval Air Systems Command, erstwhile of Crystal City, Virginia, and now at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Lexington Park, Maryland. The CAGE for the item manufacturer appears to be the division of Raytheon formerly known as Texas Instruments, Defense Systems and Electronics Group. The HARM was, in those days, primarily assembled in Lewisville, Texas, just north of D/FW, in a huge plant we referred to as "The House That HARM Built." RayCo has apparently consolidated most if not all their missile manufacturing in a plant they acquired from long-time competitor Hughes Aircraft Company, in Tucson, Arizona: dunno what they did with THTHB.

The description of the actual part number is "Cover, Access". There is a decent chance this is the access cover for the port used to reprogram the guidance system: one of the huge breakthroughs of my era was to replace the old PROMs with EEPROMs, which allowed you to update the missile software without taking the whole missile apart, removing the memory board, and either replacing it outright or replacing the PROMs. I know that sort of
thing is "so what?" stuff now, but believe me, in the early 1980s, it was big medicine! We even managed to use it almost as soon as it was deployed, because the first lot of missiles with EEPROMs also had a new software "tape": it started giving us problems, and TI discovered a small error that required three lines of code (IIRC) to fix. So they were able to reblow the EEPROMS instead of having to take each missile apart and rebuild it!


Bottom line: your overall conclusion is correct.



Well, not my conclusion, but that of several informed readers. From Bruce Bridges:


Fisk asserts that he has seen a piece of a missile that even the Iraqi government does not have knowledge of? Why is that? Why would somebody who discovered such an important piece of evidence not turn it over? Do they want to sell it on eBay?

And why would Fisk include such a point in his report? Simply to pre-empt the inevitable suspicion that the missile piece is itself propaganda. It sounds like the military structures are chock-full of Missile debris so that
would be easy to find.


I don't buy it.



From RB Archibald in Ogden, Utah:


I've been reading the speculation on your site today and, while I'm no expert on ordnance, it seems to me that it would hardly be difficult for the Iraqis to plant wreckage of American missiles (from previous strikes) at the Baghdad market site. No one would know the difference, least of all Robert Fisk. If Fisk told me the sky was blue I'd look up to make sure.



From Fred Ray in North Carolina:


Several news reports are now saying that the missiles in question were misguided Iraqi SAMs, and that Saddam's boys are "sanitizing"
the areas before Fisk et. al. get there. You hear a lot about the Americans "planting" evidence but no one seems to think the Iraqis are capable of it.



Also from North Carolina, Doug Morris, LtCol, USAF (ret.):


Since HARMs have been used to strike Iraqi anti-aircraft sites all over the place,
perhaps it would be useful to ask Mr Fisk, "Who handed you this piece?"



From Henry Cybulski in Barcelona, Spain:


So, Robert "I deserve to be beaten" Fisk is handed a piece of metal with coding on it and that AUTOMATICALLY means it came from the bomb that hit the market. Sure.



From Homer Paxton:


We know 100's of bombs have landed on Bagdad. Probability theory tells you some will hit where they shouldn't. Moreover they are guided by high technology which has been known to be unreliable.
 

Ipsofacto the bombs exploding in Bagdad shopping areas are much more likely to be US than Iraqi.



And Max Sawicky notes that I couldn't bear "giving simple, unqualified credit to Fisk -- a real journalist actually on the scene (ahem) -- for breaking the story." True. Fisk breaks a lot of things, including his teeth and glasses.

3.30.2003

IRAQI CIVILIANS are being deliberately targeted. Just not by Americans, Australians, or the English.

FOR EVERY PARENT there comes a time when the peanut butter sandwich must be eaten.

THOSE SAMIZDATA people are revealing top-level Australian military secrets.

GET A OUIJA BOARD:


Osama bin Laden, usually eager to rally Muslims by highlighting US "atrocities" around the world, has not been heard from 10 days into the US-led war on Iraq, leading to new speculation on his fate.



New?

ROBERT FISK claims to have located a piece of metal bearing a serial number that he says is proof yesterday's missile strike on a Baghdad market was launched by the coalition:


It reads: 30003-704ASB 7492. The letter "B" is scratched and could be an "H". This is believed to be the serial number. It is followed by a further code which arms manufacturers usually refer to as the weapon's "Lot" number. It reads: MFR 96214 09.



Fisk - who could well be right, for once - doesn't know much more than that these numbers and letters are "western style". Any reader with any military background or insight might be able to add further information. Please send me any decoding e-mails.

UPDATE. It's looking good for Fisk. Reader D., whose background is in something-I-can't-say but which is relevant to the case, provides an exceptional analysis:
 


From the pictures I saw of the market, plus the eyewitness accounts, it didn't look like it could possibly have been caused by a Tomahawk or a bomb, as the media were speculating. It seemed to have been a relatively small blast with a lot of fragmentation. My initial suspicion was Iraqi artillery - not AAA, but a deliberate artillery attack to pin the blame on the US. But Fisk's find has given me reason to revisit this. I now believe the cause was probably a US High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) fired from a USAF F-16. How do I know?  Thanks to reporting from the blast site, with a lot of help from Mr Google. Let me run you through it briefly.
 

The serial number found by Fisk is almost identical to the serial number of a LAU-118 underwing missile launcher, as described here.
 

This is the important bit.  Note  the  P/N and CAGE numbers, which when put together look eerily similar to Fisk's number (30003-704ASB 7492):
 

NSN: 1440-01-500-8595AO

P/N: 704AS10896

NOUN: Launcher, Aircraft Guided Missile

CAGE: 30003

APPLICABLE: LAU-118 Launcher used on the F-16 Aircraft
 

Some more Googling and I learned that the LAU-118 is exclusively used to launch HARMs from F-16s. I can't prove it for sure, but it seems to me to make sense that a HARM missile may well have a serial number very close to that of its launcher. I can't find any other serial numbers which are even remotely close to Fisk's. So a HARM seems to be the initial prime suspect, based on Fisk's serial number.
 

I then returned to the images and descriptions of the scene. The key things I'd initially deduced about the blast was that it had quite a small kinetic force, not much heat, but a hell of a lot of schrapnel.  The crater was very small, a nearby wall appeared undamaged, and yet there were signs of a lot of schrapnel - not least in the reporting of the types of injuries. As it turns out, these are the precise characteristics of a HARM - a small warhead with lots of embedded schrapnel, designed to tear a surface radar to shreds. In fact I can't think of another missile in the US inventory which would so closely match the apparent blast characteristics.

This site provides a detailed description and specs for a HARM.
 

By themselves, both the serial number and the blast pattern are circumstantial. But put together, I'd argue they strongly suggest a HARM was to blame. One more thing supports that - the guidance system. In the case of Tomahawks and gravity bombs, the US is using weapons guided by GPS and lasers. A person designates the target and then the missile/bomb goes exactly where it is told to go. But a HARM, by its very nature, takes the man out of the targeting loop to a greater extent.  Once fired, it guides itself directly to the source of emitting radiation. My guess is that the Iraqis had something emitting in the vicinity of the market - perhaps a mobile radar - which was engaged by the HARM. Once released, the HARM guides itself to the emitter, or wherever it last saw the emitter. So it seems to me more likely that a 'self-guiding' weapon like a HARM is more likely to cause this sort of problem, because once it's launched, it will go where it wants to go.
 

Anyway, that's my reasoning. It's not conclusive proof, but the weight of evidence - the serial number, the blast pattern and the nature of the targeting system - tends to suggest it was most likely a HARM.



D's informed theory on the source of the missile is supported by reader Rob Lain:


The "MFR" number described by Robert Fisk (which he incorrectly describes as a lot number) is a manufacturer's code, also called a CAGE code (Contractor and Government Entity Code or Commercial and Government Entity Code). This number belongs to Raytheon, best known as producer of the Patriot theater ballistic missile defense system.  The CAGE of 96214 refers specifically to an electronics division that I believe Raytheon acquired from Texas Instruments some time ago. Use of the publicly accessible Defense Logistics Agency Federal Logistics Information System Web Inquiry (WEBFLIS) provides company specifics.

A further search using the other alphanumeric string (30003-704ASB 7492, with the "B" possibly being an "H") was fruitless, working on the assumption some or all of the string represented a manufacturer-assigned part number since it isn't in the format of the National Stock (or Item ID) Numbers normally used by our military. An inquiry to either the Defense Department or Raytheon may prove useful in sorting that out. 
 

While I think we have a right to doubt anything Fisk or the Iraqi regime says about the cause of the explosion, the number of casualties, or the physical evidence from the blast, this seems to confirm Fisk's assertion that the piece of metal was from an American weapon, though it greatly pains me to confirm anything that this fuckwad has written.



Given this research, Rob's conclusion is in line with my own: 
 


What does this mean? It means we damn well may have dropped that ordnance on that neighborhood. It means a coalition pilot may have made a mistake or a weapon may have malfunctioned, as will tragically but inevitably happen, even as we justly conduct this war by making extraordinary efforts to limit civilian casualties. And it means Fisk will capitalize on this by accusing Americans of committing a war crime, while the Saddamites pitilessly kill thousands of Iraqi innocents, use them as shields, commit unspeakable war crimes on my comrades-in-arms, prepare to use chemical weapons, and resort to terrorist tactics without a single word from him. What an asshole.



That's sounder reasoning than you'll ever get from Fisk.

Reader Al B. has yet more detail:


I think 30003 is the US Defense Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code for US Naval Air Systems.

Similarly, 96214 is the CAGE code for Raytheon.

704AS**** is a DODIC (Department of Defense Identification Code)/NALC (Naval Ammunition Logistics Command) number or part number. The number Fisk found is probably from a forward component of a bomb or missile. This number is used to identify, track and monitor the whole weapon assembly, from the time of manufacture to the time of disposal or destruction.

For example, on older AGM-88s, 704AS2602 was the part number for the Target Detector Unit in the missile. This doesn't give much of a clue as to what Fisk actually found, but we can reasonably speculate that it was a US ship or navy aircraft launched weapon with Raytheon componentry.

Two possibilities that spring to mind are the AGM-154 JSOW or one of the latest variants of the Block VI AGM-88 HARM (D/E spec). If it was a Homing Anti Radiation Missile (ie a radar killer), it makes you wonder where the nearest Iraqi air defence radar was in relation to the ill fated marketplace.



That question has occurred to David Janes, and also to Karl F. Bock:


Just one point on the HARM that I haven't seen addressed: HARM is a specific use device. It is fired at radars and follows the beam in to take out that radar. So, why would a HARM have been fired in the first place? Probably because the Iraqis lit off one of their remaining radars. Are any of these units mobile? A market would be a great place to set up a mobile radar unit. Nice big clearing. You have an air raid, you quickly fire up your radar, direct the triple A, shut the
thing off, and get the hell out of Dodge, because sure as hell, a HARM is probably on the way.


Remember, the HARM will follow the radar beam or GO TO THE BEAM'S LAST KNOWN LOCATION. Anyway, nobody is going to fire off a HARM unless it has a target to lock on to. After seeing the Iraqi predilection for placing SAMs and triple A, and presumably their radar units in densely populated areas, it's a wonder we haven't seen more of this.



Meanwhile, an Instapundit reader writes:


For the last few days, I've been wondering how come Bob Fisk hasn't been jumping up and down waving bits of metal with "Raytheon" printed on it. Surely the Iraqis have enough of the stuff lying about the place by now...



Several readers have e-mailed similar ideas here. The more Fisk proclaims his certainty, the more, it seems, people doubt him.




LOCAL RADIO is reporting a successful attack on a Ba'arth Party meeting in Basra.