The Back Story

“Beth Osborne Daponte was a 29-year-old Commerce Dept. demographer in 1992, when she publicly contradicted then-Defense Secretary Richard Cheney on the highly sensitive issue of Iraqi civilian casualties during the Gulf War. In short order, Daponte was told she was losing her job. She says her official report disappeared from her desk, and a new estimate, prepared by supervisors, greatly reduced the number of estimated civilian casualties.”

Don’t worry, she sued. Her final estimate: 205,000 died in or as a result of the 1991 Gulf War. From Business Week.

“It is among the most horrific weapons in any army’s collection: the thermobaric bomb, a fearsome explosive that sets fire to the air above its target, then sucks the oxygen out of anyone unfortunate enough to have lived through the initial blast . . . In the next few months, the U.S. Army will start putting this sweeping power in the hands of individual soldiers.”

New methods for shocking, awing and incinerating the enemy. From Wired News.

“Today my father and brother went out to see what happening in the city, they say that it does look that the hits were very precise but when the missiles and bombs explode they wreck havoc in the neighborhood where they fall. Houses near Al-Salam palace have had all their windows broke, doors blown in and in one case a roof has caved in. I guess that is what is called ‘collateral damage’ and that makes it OK? We worry about daytime bombing and the next round of attacks tonight with the added extra of the smoke screen in our skies.”

“Where Is Raed?”: Salam Pax blogs a war diary from his home in Baghdad.

“An unidentified Iraqi man holds an unidentified girl wounded after U.S.-led coalition air strikes over the southern Iraqi city of Basra, Saturday March 22, 2003.”

Caption on an AP photo depicting a girl in green pants soaked in blood and missing a foot being cradled by an older man: This is what collateral damage looks like.

“To have reached such a position against an adversary who is demonstrably one of the world’s most disgusting tyrants, to have transformed him into a hero figure, and to have transformed the American flag into a symbol of oppression . . . reeks of political incompetence.”

How American aggression has already lost the most important battle of all. From Brian Whitaker in The Guardian.

“All I have to say is, once this is over, the Iraqi people better be the freest fucking people on the face of the Earth. They better be freer than me. They better be so fucking free they can fly.”

“Get Your War On,” Page 22.


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