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Monthly Archives: July, 2005

"I am scared about Iraq, but I am going to have to give something in return for those benefits I want."

From Pago Pago in American Samoa to Yap in Micronesia, 4,000 miles to the west, Army recruiters are scouring the Pacific, looking for high school graduates to enlist at a time when the Iraq war is discouraging many candidates in the States.

The Army has found fertile ground in the poverty pockets of the Pacific. The per capita income is $8,000 in American Samoa, $12,500 in the Northern Marianas and $21,000 in Guam, all United States territories. In the Marshalls and Micronesia, former trust territories, per capita incomes are about $2,000.

The Army minimum signing bonus is $5,000. Starting pay for a private first class is $17,472. Education benefits can be as much as $70,000.

“You can’t beat recruiting here in the Marianas, in Micronesia,” said First Sgt. Olympio Magofna, who grew up on Saipan and oversees Pacific recruiting for the Army from his base in Guam. “In the states, they are really hurting,” he said. “But over here, I can afford go play golf every other day.”

Medical Journal Criticizes US Failure to Count Iraqi Civilian Deaths

Editorial from the UK medical journal The Lancet criticizes US coalition for failure to collect stats on Iraqi civilian deaths. It cites the Iraq Body Count (IBC) organization’s recent listing of more than 24,000 civilian deaths.

The Lancet comments: “IBC compiled a credible list of deaths using just news reports and computers; the fact that the Coalition, equipped with a robust and expanding medical division, has not done so is an indefensible omission–and makes a mockery of international law. The adamant refusal of the USA and its partner countries to keep count of Iraqi deaths is a stance that renders farcical the Geneva Conventions’ principle that invading forces have a duty to make every effort to protect civilian lives. How can the Coalition attest that it respects this obligation if it refuses to collect data to prove it? The US-led Coalition that instigated the war claims to have acted on behalf of the Iraqi people. At the very least, Iraq’s beleaguered citizens deserve to be told the true price–in numbers of lost human lives–they have paid for a conflict undertaken in their names.”

You Are Being Lied To (PDF)

This is a PDF file of the book ‘You Are Being Lied To – The Disinformation Guide to Media Distortion, Historical Whitewashes, and Cultural Myth’. Quite a good read and I recommend that you actually purchase the book as I have.

Scroll down to page 56 or select the bookmark from the section ‘The News Media and Other Manipulators’ and you will find the article ‘Making Molehills Out of Mountains’ by Marni Sullivan. I think you will find it worthwhile reading in light of the current news concerning the IRA and Northern Ireland.

Note: If your browser has trouble with the link, try getting there from this index.

“When most people think of Northern Ireland, they think of Catholics and Protestants hating each other and of mindless IRA bombings. Most people, especially Americans, seem to believe that a great deal of the trouble comes from religious intolerance. Much of this stereotype results from a lack of understanding of the issues, which in turn results from a lack of information. America’s perception of the Northern Ireland conflict is incomplete at best…”

“Without direct and constant communication within Northern Ireland itself, the United States media will be ill-equipped to bring unbiased and complete coverage of the peace process and insurrection resulting from it. Perhaps America’s “special relationship” with England has a lot to do with the tendency of the media to focus primarily on British perspectives of the conflict…”

War? What War?

I’ve finally figured out why the Bush administration didn’t bother to properly equip our soldiers in Iraq: We’re not fighting a war – we’re in a “struggle.” And who needs body armor and armored vehicles for a measly struggle? I’m referring to Bush’s latest sloganeering effort, giving the “global war on terror” a spanking new name: “global struggle against violent extremism.” And that brings me to my latest poem:

War? What War?
By Madeleine Begun Kane

The war on terror’s going bad,
So what’s a Prez to do?
He simply calls it something else.
The “struggle” has debuted.

Bush starts a war without a plan.
A needless war, to boot.
And when it fails, his course is clear…

The rest of my War? What War? poem is here. And my audio version of this post is here.


Good post over on Alternative Energy Blog on Ethanol

Making ethanol, they claim, will help America achieve the elusive goal of “energy security” while helping farmers, reducing oil imports, and stimulating the American economy. But the ethanol boosters are ignoring some unpleasant facts: Ethanol won’t significantly reduce our oil imports; adding more ethanol to our gas tanks adds further complexity to our motor-fuel supply chain, which will lead to further price hikes at the pump; and, most important (and most astonishing), it may take more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than it actually contains.

Tick, Tick, Boom

While the American public is paying the bad news the usual inattention it gives any scandal not involving a missing blonde chick, the Brits have gotten the message and they’re not happy. A recent Guardian/ICM poll shows that two-thirds of Britons see a link between the recent London bombings and Britain’s decision to join the war in Iraq. My conversations with locals on a recent visit to London, hours after the July 7 bombings, confirmed as much. In addition to the surprising number of people I spoke to who blamed the attacks on Britain’s involvement in Iraq, the sole cop standing guard in front of Buckingham Palace that evening, when asked why the attacks happened, told me that it was “because some people want to be free.” Imagine a Secret Service agent saying that in front of the White House on 9/11.

The British public’s ire over the bombings only increased after it was discovered that police had one of the suspects in custody months ago, but released him after determining he posed no threat. No doubt the Brits will be even more pissed once they realize the Bush administration twice botched efforts that could have helped prevent the attack. [more]

Shameful Groveling

Search me

: I say it’s a good thing that New York police will start random bag searches on the subways.

Oh, I know it will be inconvenient when I’m late for a meeting and it’s 120-degrees down there and I fear there will be a line. Nonetheless, if and when the cops search me, I’ll thank them.

This morning on Today, they rolled out the “privacy” boogeyman. “Privacy advocates” were expressing concern. Who the hell are these “privacy advocates?” Name two. But listening to reporters, they seem to be everywhere. You just don’t know it. Because they’re very private.

And what precisely is the privacy problem? If the cops catch you carrying something illegal, well, you shouldn’t be carrying anything illegal. If they catch you carrying the latest Playboy — or, more embarrassing, Radar — then don’t worry; they’ve seen worse.

Are random screenings going to catch the next terrorist ready to kill people? We’ll never know. But it is worth the effort.

What the grovelers don’t understand is that their eagerness to throw away their civil rights affects others.


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