Ba’ath party has ‘contingency plan’

The excellent folks at MEMRI have an interesting report from the Kuwaiti daily paper Al-Watan about a contingency plan put forward by the “National Security Council” in Iraq that would put Saddam’s son, Qusay, in charge in the event of his father’s death.

Thanks again to the excellent folks at MEMRI, the Iraqi News Wire has an interesting report from the Kuwaiti daily paper Al-Watan about a contingency plan put forward by the “National Security Council” in Iraq that would put Saddam’s son, Qusay, in charge in the event of his father’s death. Qusay would take control of the Republican Guard and the Republican Guard/Special Units. It also calls on Iraq to use “all means in our possession” to defend itself, including the use of weapons of mass destruction and/or the dispatch of terrorist squads.
The document also calls for the reconquering of Iraqi Kurdistan, strikes against American forces in Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan, and “Special Operations” units to hit Israel. The full text is below:

Continue reading “Ba’ath party has ‘contingency plan’”

Malibu Osama’s Dream House!

American pop culture deconstructs the war on terror. And Barbie gets some playmates!

Oh, boy! Still don’t know what to get your favorite independent journalist for the holidays? How about this set of 12-in. action figures featuring Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush and other characters from the war on terror.
I don’t know about you, but I have one word to say about this: “Gimme!” Some may consider these the height of bad taste, and on some level they would be right. But who the hell cares? If anyone wants to send me a War on Terror action figure from these guys, feel free to have it shipped to

Christopher Allbritton
810 7th Ave., 6th Floor
New York, NY 10019

I love kitsch.
But seriously, these dolls have touched a lot of nerves, for obvious reasons. The letters to the company it has posted are a venomous lot, with this example:

From: musa ahmed

Countered by this lovely letter:

This came from Nexus_of _Darkness
Don't Matter wrote:
You are one sad group of people! I am a cnadian and damn glad that I am not one of you racist americans!!! I know that Osama and Saddam were terrorists but that does not give anyone the right to make action figures from them in the style that you did! I am heavily reccomending that you clean up your act or I will report you to the human rights act!!! I hope that you burn in hell racist [explicit]!!!

I don’t see how making a doll out of someone is a human rights violation. I can see how Muslims would be upset, since there is a prohibition on depicting the human form, I thought, but the letter from the “cnadian” seems a typical example of kneejerk anti-Americanism.
Look, this is what America pop culture does. It takes horrible or offensive events or people and repackages them into easily consumable material objects. That’s how American culture deals with things. And this is at the heart of the world war in which we now find ourselves: a clash of cultures in which one considers many things sacred and beyond criticism and another which considers nothing sacred and everything deconstructable. (I think that’s a word.)

Onward, unto the material breach

Bush administration will declare iraq in material breach of UNSCR 1441 soon after it presents its declaration to the United Nations Saturday. “It is going to be ‘material breach,’ not as a casus belli [cause for war] but as a basis to begin hammering Unmovic to do more,’ said an administration official familiar with the internal debate.” Yeah. Sure. Whatever.

Inspectors search a suspected weapons site in Iraq

My buddy, George Paine at, alerted me to a report in the Washington Times that the Bush administration will declare Iraq in material breach of UNSCR 1441 immediately after Iraq submits its report on its weapons of mass destruction Saturday.
“‘It is going to be “material breach,” not as a casus belli [cause for war] but as a basis to begin hammering Unmovic to do more,’ said an administration official familiar with the internal debate,” the paper says.
Right. And the United States will be satisfied if UNMOVIC declares to the Security Council the Iraq is complying. Keep dreaming.

U.S. officials said the administration has been withholding detailed intelligence on hidden Iraqi arms programs from U.N. inspectors. The information deals mostly with Iraq’s covert chemical and biological arms.
“We do not want to tip our hand,” the official said.
One piece of intelligence includes details on a cache of more than 1,800 gallons of anthrax spores, the officials said. Even tiny amounts of anthrax can be lethal. Less detailed intelligence has been gathered on Iraq’s efforts to build nuclear weapons, the officials said.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not looking forward to John Negroponte, America’s U.N. representative, pulling an Adlai Stevenson on Iraq. (Stevenson dramatically proved the Soviets were lying about their missiles in Cuba in October 1962. “”Do you, Ambassador Zorin, deny that the U.S.S.R. has placed and is placing medium and intermediate range missiles and sites in Cuba?” he demanded before the world.)
But let’s look at what’s happening here. The United States’ defense posture is to suffer no military rivals. It’s also got a strategic national interest in the oil reserves in the Persian Gulf. Iraq, while not a serious military rival, is bumping up against both of these pillars of the new, muscular American foreign policy. However, if Iraq were to acquire weapons of mass destruction, it would become a military rival not because its weapons would be offensive in nature (they wouldn’t and it’s unlikely Saddam would risk giving them to terrorists) but because he could bully his neighbors (thus, impacting America’s interests there) and deter the United States from countering his actions militarily. So, in the Bush Universe, he must be stopped. And the only reliable way to do that is to take him out.
The United States has become caught in its own escalation of power. It asserts to the world that it will remain a global hyperpower. But in order to do so it must defeat all challengers to the pax Americana, or better yet, discourage other powers from even attempting to challenge it. War against Saddam Hussein, in addition to America’s short term goals, is a demonstration to the world. The United States is telling potential powers, such as China, “Do not attempt to deter our military ability or we will crush you.” America is going to war to prove that it is willing to go to war.
And that’s just crazy! Having the unrestricted ability to wage war has become a major of goal of American foreign policy. This is what I mean by an escalation of power. We have to wage war to ensure we can wage war. Funny, I always thought the point of diplomacy was to avoid wars, not ensure that the option is always open.
This will lead to overextension of our armed forces, a more dangerous world and restlessness among the natives, old chap.
I’m often asked by people I talk to about this, “Do you really think we’ll go to war?” I always answer, yes, I do. Because with our defense posture, we can’t afford not to. Karl von Clausewitz said in “On War,” “War is regarded as nothing but the continuation of state policy with other means.” What happens, though, when state policy becomes the ability to wage unrestrained war?

Saddam to present UN with suicide note

Just what is Saddam’s game? The Independent in London is reporting that the final document Iraq will present to the United Nations on Saturday (Someone’s brown-nosing by turning in homework early!) will declare that the country is “devoid of weapons of mass destruction.” … Oh, boy.

Sigh. Just what is Saddam’s game? The Independent in London is reporting that the final document Iraq will present to the United Nations on Saturday (Someone’s brown-nosing by turning in homework early!) will declare that the country is “devoid of weapons of mass destruction.”
Oh, boy.
Iraq promises to deliver a 7,000-page document describing the state of the country’s biological, chemical, missile and nuclear technologies in both Arabic and English. All the technologies, it claims, are kosher by U.N. standards.
OK. Show of hands. Who believes this? I don’t. And I’m still puzzled by the alleged assertion by the Iraqi official who said the country would protect itself with weapons of mass destruction.
What are they thinking? Has Saddam really entered a suicidal phase? If he thinks the French and the Russians will rein in the United States this time, he’s sorely mistaken. Is he hoping to provoke an armageddon on the banks of the Tigris so he can attempt to lob some chems into Israel? Has he decided, fatalistically, that the United States will attack no matter what so he may as well get the show started?
I’m honestly befuddled by this assertion that Iraq has nothing to declare. This can only lead to trouble, since Saddam must feel he has one or two tricks left to pull out of his hat.
Al this is taking place in an environment of mutual suspicion. An Iraqi vice president accused the inspectors of being spies for the United States and Israel, a not unrealistic charge as the U.S. did exactly that from 1991-1998. And George W. Bush continued to say the weapons inspections were not working. (He says this after a week of work.)
“One of my concerns is that in the past he has shot at our airplanes,” Bush said. “Anybody who shoots at U.S. airplanes or British airplanes is not somebody who looks like he’s interested in complying with disarmament.”
(It should be noted that the no-fly zones aren’t sanctioned by the United Nations and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the targeting and firing by Iraqi anti-aircraft positions aren’t material breaches of UNSCR 1441. That must piss off Bush.
(And in a further sign of the fragmented Bush policy, Secretary of State Colin Powell described the inspections as “off to a good start” and “working as intended.” Guess he didn’t get the memo.)
Well, when — or if, I suppose I should say although I think a war is inevitable — the bombs start falling, at least journalists will be on the ground. (Which might be the Pentagon’s plan all along. Hmm.) Actually, this is just part of the propaganda effort by the brass in the Pentagon to get some Ernie Pyle-like coverage of individual heroism from the front lines. I’m convinced the only stories that get past the military censors will be those that talk up the bravery of “our boys.” But perhaps I’m just cynical. Perhaps the military really is interested in getting honest stories out about combat and the war, stories that show the military in action, warts and all.
Right. And the Bush White House will suddenly drop its obessions with secrecy and controlling the message that have marked its dealings with the press since the start of Bush’s presidential campaign.
(By the way, I’ve applied for the military bootcamp at Fort Benning, but I’ve not heard back from the Army yet.)

Addendum to Iraqi use of WMD

More thoughts on the Iraqi’s possession of WMD.

Previously, I metioned a report from MEMRI that quoted an “unidentified senior Iraqi official” as saying that Iraq would use chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction to repel the Yankee invaders. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this at the time, but hasn’t Iraq told the UNMOVIC folks it has zero, zero, zero WMD? Granted, this story is out of Al-Quds Al-Arabi, a London-based, pro-Saddam Arabic language paper, but still… This is very weird.
In related news, U.S. president George W. Bush warned Iraq again that it was in danger of being shitcanned if it didn’t cooperate with UNMOVIC. The signs from Iraq are “not encouraging,” Bush said. The signs? Cameras and gear tagged by inspectors in 1998 have been removed from the Karamah misslile site. This might be serious or it might indicate that desperate Iraqi soldiers had stripped the gear and sold it for extra money.
But Bush’s war mongering is more upsetting. The inspectors have been there, what? A week? Five days? And the deadline for accounting for all weapons isn’t until Dec. 8. Bush says he wants an international coalition to disarm Saddam, but he seems a twee impatient to get the shooting started now, Now, NOW. His constant warnings are unlikely to convince anyone except Britain, and his insistent sabre-rattling and undercutting of the inspectors will do little but convince the rest of the world of America’s bad intentions. Bush needs to shut the hell up and let the inspectors at least pretend to do their jobs.