Outside In - A View from Mexico 



A U.S. ex-pat's view of goings-on from Mexico


Saturday, April 12, 2003

I guess I was just too doggone busy yesterday to even remember to post. I guess that's a good thing, huh?

So, there's Rummy on the front page of the Washington Post, gesturing with this big grin on his face, accusing the media of making way, way too much out of the anarchy, looting, and human misery in Iraq. They're "liberated," he insisted, they're "free," and this kind of overemphasis on the negatives is "ridiculous." O-H, M-Y G-O-D, is my response to an incredibly myopic, insensitive diatribe. The only thing he's succeeding in doing is putting himself in the same category of over the top, out of touch with reality rhetoric demonstrated by the Iraqi information minister.

The perfect counterpoint to Rummy's blithering nonsense is in the Guardian - "The hell that once was a hospital."


Thursday, April 10, 2003

Aye,,, And there's the rub,,,

New York Times
April 10, 2003
Spoils of War

Follow the money.

Former Secretary of State George Shultz is on the board of directors of the Bechtel Group, the largest contractor in the U.S. and one of the finalists in the competition to land a fat contract to help in the rebuilding of Iraq.

He is also the chairman of the advisory board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a fiercely pro-war group with close ties to the White House. The committee, formed last year, made it clear from the beginning that it sought more than the ouster of Saddam's regime. It was committed, among other things, "to work beyond the liberation of Iraq to the reconstruction of its economy."

War is a tragedy for some and a boon for others. I asked Mr. Shultz if the fact that he was an advocate of the war while sitting on the board of a company that would benefit from it left him concerned about the appearance of a conflict of interest.

"I don't know that Bechtel would particularly benefit from it," he said. "But if there's work that's needed to be done, Bechtel is the type of company that could do it. But nobody looks at it as something you benefit from."

Jack Sheehan, a retired Marine Corps general, is a senior vice president at Bechtel. He's also a member of the Defense Policy Board, a government-appointed group that advises the Pentagon on major defense issues. Its members are selected by the under secretary of defense for policy, currently Douglas Feith, and approved by the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

Most Americans have never heard of the Defense Policy Group. Its meetings are classified. The members disclose their business interests to the Pentagon, but that information is not available to the public.

The Center for Public Integrity, a private watchdog group in Washington, recently disclosed that of the 30 members of the board, at least 9 are linked to companies that have won more than $76 billion in defense contracts in 2001 and 2002.

Richard Perle was the chairman of the board until just a few weeks ago, when he resigned the chairmanship amid allegations of a conflict of interest. He is still on the board.

Another member is the former C.I.A. director, James Woolsey. He's also a principal in the Paladin Capital Group, a venture capital firm that, as the Center for Public Integrity noted, is soliciting investments for companies that specialize in domestic security. Mr. Woolsey is also a member of the Committee to Liberate Iraq and is reported to be in line to play a role in the postwar occupation.

The war against Iraq has become one of the clearest examples ever of the influence of the military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned against so eloquently in his farewell address in 1961. This iron web of relationships among powerful individuals inside and outside the government operates with very little public scrutiny and is saturated with conflicts of interest.

Their goals may or may not coincide with the best interests of the American people. Think of the divergence of interests, for example, between the grunts who are actually fighting this war, who have been eating sand and spilling their blood in the desert, and the power brokers who fought like crazy to make the war happen and are profiting from it every step of the way.

There aren't a lot of rich kids in that desert. The U.S. military is largely working-class. The power brokers homing in on $100 billion worth of postwar reconstruction contracts are not.

The Pentagon and its allies are close to achieving what they wanted all along, control of the nation of Iraq and its bounty, which is the wealth and myriad forms of power that flow from control of the world's second-largest oil reserves.

The transitional government of Iraq is to be headed by a retired Army lieutenant general, Jay Garner. His career path was typical. He moved effortlessly from his military career to the presidency of SYColeman, a defense contractor that helped Israel develop its Arrow missile-defense system. The iron web.

Those who dreamt of a flowering of democracy in Iraq are advised to consider the skepticism of Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser to the first President Bush. He asked: "What's going to happen the first time we hold an election in Iraq and it turns out the radicals win? What do you do? We're surely not going to let them take over."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Watching Rummy grin as he holds his press conference and gloats over the taking of Bagdhad is almost more than I can bear. It's enough to gag a maggot. And where, pray tell, are the WMD's?

The picture of this Iraqi boy with both arms blown off and burns over his body will haunt me for the rest of my life. Is there anything in heaven or on earth that can justify this atrocity? And atrocity it is. There IS no other word.


Starting Thursday evening, the town is gonna fill up with chilangos vacationing and immigrants to the states coming home to be with their families for Holy Week. The traffic will be godawful and the beaches will be a sea of seething and scorched flesh. The hotel, tour service, restaurant, and transportation operators all stand to make a bundle. I guess that's what comes from living in a beach resort within a 3 1/2 hour drive of 40 million people.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Hey, it's a boring day! I rarely am without something to say but today I am! Get over it, ok?

Monday, April 07, 2003

This may just be the most blood-chilling thing I have EVER read,,,!!


US Troops Face Children, and Hard Calls, in Battle
Mon April 07, 2003 06:03 PM ET

By Kieran Murray
KERBALA, Iraq (Reuters) - When a young Iraqi boy stooped to pick up a rocket propelled grenade off the body of a dead paramilitary, U.S. Army Private Nick Boggs made a tough call.

He unloaded machinegun fire and the boy, whom he puts at about 10 years old, fell dead on a garbage-strewn stretch of waste land.

Boggs, a softly spoken 21-year-old former hunting guide from Alaska, says he knew when he joined the army 18 months ago he might someday have to make a decision like that.

He hoped it would never come and, although he has no regrets about opening fire, it is clear he'd rather it wasn't a child he killed.

"I did what I had to do. I don't have a big problem with it but anyone who shoots a little kid has to feel something," he said after fierce weekend fighting in this Shi'ite Muslim holy city that left dozens of Iraqis and one American soldier dead.

As U.S. troops take the Iraq war out of the desert and into the main cities, they are increasingly seeing children in their line of fire.

Many are innocent civilians in the wrong place at the wrong time and military officers concede that some have may have been killed in artillery or mortar fire, or shot down by soldiers whose judgment is impaired in the "fog of war."


But others are apparently being used as fighters or more often as scouts and weapons collectors. U.S. officers and soldiers say that turns them into legitimate targets.

"I think they're cowards," Boggs said of the parents or Fedayeen paramilitaries who send out children to the battlefield.

"I think they thought we wouldn't shoot kids. But we showed them we don't care. We are going to do what we have to do to stay alive and keep ourselves safe."

The boy he killed was with another child of around the same age when they reached for the RPG and came under fire. Boggs thinks the second boy was also hit but other soldiers think he escaped and that he dragged his friend's dead body away.

Boggs' platoon leader, Lieutenant Jason Davis, said the young soldier struggles with what happened even if he had no choice but to shoot.

"Does it haunt him? Absolutely. It haunts me and I didn't even pull the trigger," he said. "It blows my mind that they can put their children into that kind of situation."

Although Boggs plays down suggestions he was upset by the incident, he also says his view of combat has changed since Saturday, when his platoon came under intense RPG and rifle fire from the moment they entered Kerbala until way after nightfall.

Before -- like many young soldiers -- he says he was anxious to get his first "kill" in a war. Now, he seems more mature.

"It's not about killing people. It's about accomplishing a mission...When we talk, we don't say how scared we were. But we found out how you feel when an RPG hits the wall just up from you and you think 'Damn, I could have been right there'," he said.

I must share a wonderful experience I had on Saturday. I was on voice chat with my son in Tucson. Then my daughter in Duluth signed on followed a bit later by my oldest son in Montana. So, there I was talking with all three of my children in a four-way voice-over-the-internet conference. Our wonderful internet technology makes this possible for me to chat with my three wonderful children and feel almost as close to them as if they lived across town even though we are all thousands of miles apart. Yes, my life has certainly had its ups and downs and, yes, I have not always been the world's best father but lemme tell ya, I wouldn't trade one of those kids for anything. They are truly the light of my life and I am so deeply grateful to have them. I am also so very proud to have the opportunity to see them as they have become such fine human beings, each in their own way. A particular thrill for me is, when talking to my oldest son, I can hear both grandsons carrying on in the background. Am I blessed or what?

i'm a'tellin' ya,,, if dubya can't produce some concrete evidence of WMD, his credibility, what's left of it anyway, is going to be completely shot,,,


U.S. Finds Possible Chemical Weapons Site
By MATT KELLEY, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The U.S. military is testing samples from a site in Iraq (news - web sites) where soldiers found possible chemical weapons, defense officials said Monday.
Testing at laboratories in the United States has to be completed before the presence of chemical weapons could be confirmed, the officials said. Soldiers from the Army's 101st Airborne Division found the suspicious material in a compound near the Iraqi city of Hindiyah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld acknowledged reports about the site Monday but said first reports are often incorrect. "We have to take our time and look at it," Rumsfeld said, adding that getting samples back to the United States and completing testing can take days.

A Knight Ridder News Service journalist traveling with the unit said initial tests of samples from the facility were inconsistent. Some tests did not indicate chemical weapons, while others indicated the presence of G-class nerve agents — which include sarin and tabun — and mustard agent, a blistering chemical first used in World War I. The Knight Ridder reporter, Tom Lasseter, also reported that he and several soldiers were decontaminated after some of the soldiers felt ill while searching the compound. Officials at the Pentagon (news - web sites) said they did not have any information about anyone getting sick.

If the discovery was confirmed, it would be the first find of chemical weapons during the war. Finding and eliminating Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s chemical and biological weapons is a goal of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and finding such weapons of mass destruction could mute international criticism of the war. Iraq acknowledged making tons of sarin, tabun, mustard and other chemical weapons. Iraq used mustard and sarin against Iran during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war and is believed to have used the chemicals against Kurdish Iraqis. Sarin and tabun are related nerve agents that can kill when absorbed through the skin or inhaled as a gas. They kill by causing convulsions, paralysis and asphyxiation. Mustard agent begins dissolving tissues on contact and is particularly harmful to eyes and lungs. It does not usually kill but causes painful injuries that can linger for a lifetime.

ok,,, this is worth posting in its entirety,,,
Subject: A Truly Canadian Apology

Courtesy of Rick Mercer from This Hour Has 22 Minutes, CBC Television:

On behalf of Canadians everywhere I'd like to offer an apology to the United
States of America. We haven't been getting along very well recently and for
that, I am truly sorry.

I'm sorry we called George Bush a moron. He is a moron but, it wasn't nice
of us to point it out. If it's any consolation, the fact that he's a moron
shouldn't reflect poorly on the people of America. After all it's not like
you actually elected him.

I'm sorry about our softwood lumber. Just because we have more trees than
you doesn't give us the right to sell you lumber that's cheaper and better
than your own.

I'm sorry we beat you in Olympic hockey. In our defense I guess our excuse
would be that our team was much, much, much, much better than yours.

I'm sorry we set your White House on fire, during the war of 1812.

I notice you've rebuilt it! It's Very Nice. The white paint has covered
the damage very well!

I'm sorry about your beer. I know we had nothing to do with your beer but,
we feel your pain.

I'm sorry about our waffling on Iraq. I mean, when you're going up against a
crazed dictator, you want to have your friends by your side. I realize it
took more than two years before you guys pitched in against Hitler, but that
was different. Everyone knew he had weapons.

And finally, on behalf of all Canadians, I'm sorry that we're constantly
apologizing for things in a passive-aggressive way which is really a thinly
veiled criticism. I sincerely hope that you're not upset over this.

We've seen what you do to countries you get upset with.

Thank you.

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