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I'm reading a Rolling Stone article I bookmarked a while back, The Great Iraq Swindle. Just now, on page two, I find this gem:
...Scott Custer and Mike Battles...decided to form a security company called Custer Battles and make it big in Iraq.
Now, if you said "Custer Battles" to me, I'd be thinking Little Bighorn, and, not to bend things too much for the purposes of my point, one of the best-known failures of the US Military fighting an inferior force.

And really, I don't care that this has nothing to do with anything other than coincidence. I'm just amazed at the coincidence itself.
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So Blackwater are back doing their thing despite being "100% guilty". Maliki's doing a good job of not tolerating their "criminal act". Score minus one for Soverign Power!
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via ThinkProgress

STEPHANOPOULOS: James Baker says that he's looking for something between "cut and run" and "stay the course."
BUSH: Well, hey, listen, we've never been "stay the course," George. We have been - we will complete the mission, we will do our job, and help achieve the goal, but we're constantly adjusting to tactics. Constantly.

So basically he's figuring the mission will be completed without necessarily "stay[ing] the course". I like that, it's almost oxymoronic.
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Iyad Allawi, ex-Prime Minister of Iraq, says, "[human rights] abuses are as bad today as they were under Saddam Hussein". Now, it's not that I'd doubt the word of a tried-and-failed politician making a pitch in the run-up to elections, but you know how these things work. If he's actually right, though, it kinda messes up the argument that right or wrong, the invasion of Iraq was ultimately good for its people.
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I am satisfied that HMG's position is that there is not, and has not been, a state of war between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Iraq... (link)
I've only skimmed this (it's late, I'm sleepy) but what's far more interesting than that statement is the precedents used in determining various bits of the judgment. The judgement cites cases back in the 1600s, and also makes the rather interesting point that technically, the UK hasn't been at war since 1939 (that being the last time the Government made a formal declaration of war).

deja vu

Mar. 21st, 2005 11:53 pm
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Just seen on Irish Times Breaking News: "Iran leader vows to fight till death if US attacks". News should be easy for the next few months:
grep -i iraq last-two-years-of-news.txt | sed -e 's/q$/n/gi' -e 's/qi/ian/gi'
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Ireland.com - The Irish Times - BREAKING NEWS / EU main source of foreign investment in Ireland

The EU continues to be the main source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the Republic, according to the CSO (Central Statistics Office).
This kinda runs counter to the argument - which I was inclined to agree with - that Ireland's tacit support for the war in Iraq, viz. allowing US military planes to land at Shannon, was somehow necessitated by the risk of otherwise alienating investors from the US. Of course, the article goes on to note that there may be
...indirect routing of US investment via other countries.
So maybe we're still being "forced" into the stopover decision.
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...that certain people (myself included, from time to time) fear that things will settle down in Iraq, because then You-Know-Who will be unbearably smug and trumpet the success of the methods used.

And that's just not going to be fun.
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"Blair to urge end to US-EU rift over Iraq", and "Europe is 'shutting out UK firms'". Actually, it's probably got far more to do with the UK's "we're still not sure about this whole EU thing" stance than anything else, but I just thought the juxtaposition of the headlines was amusing.
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[link]...but it'll cost ya. Also, don't forget to read the small print on what you're actually in charge of.
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El Shrubbo says:
"This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al-Qaeda. We did say there were numerous contacts between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda."
Or maybe that Al Qaeda is, in fact, working under Iraq's direction.
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joke punchline
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So if the Nick Berg video is "obviously dubbed", how come they didn't use the Wilhelm Scream?
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What's surprising me about the Nick Berg story, and the Jessica Lynch story, and god knows how many other stories that turn out to be somewhat more quixotic than they first appeared, is that if they're stitch-up jobs, someone's being a really crappy seamstress. I honestly don't believe that "the truth will out" even remotely approximates reality, yet here you have people trotting out some pretty serious questions on Nick Berg's murder mere days after the video of same appeared in circulation. How can that be? You'd imagine it's a fairly straightforward deal to prove that either he was or wasn't in CPA custody before being kidnapped, etc. And yet it's all stonewalling and null answers from the people in whose best interests it is to dispel these wild-ass conspiracy theories.

The other thing that bothers me about the murder - and previous events - is this: if I did something heinous in the morning, while wearing a US Army uniform and claiming affiliation with same, would you immediately describe my actions as those of the US Army? Or would you perhaps investigate, and consider the plausibility of it all, and then make an informed pronouncement? Why then the rush to believe everyone who says, "oh, by the way, we're also affiliated with Al Qaeda"?

And before you ask, yes, this cuts both ways, particularly in light of the fact that the UK photos were, it seems, faked. I have to say, I had personal difficulty with the fact that the guy in the UK photos was so conveniently wearing an Iraqi Flag tshirt.

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