....LMB: "Mother of All Captured Guys"....

December 16, 2003

I have to give the honest answer about the Saddam Hussein in custody thing. I don't know what to make of it.

Back in March, the U.S. drove him out of office, broke up the Iraqi army, moved into his palaces, etc. Saddam Hussein no longer ruled Iraq, and the odds of him coming back were miniscule. But still, if I was an Iraqi, I'm sure I'd have a twinge of anxiety, fearing that he could possibly come back and make my life 10x the hell it had been before. And once he was in chains, I could relax a little easier.

And it's always nice having another dictator in prison, waiting to be held accountable for their crimes. Doesn't actually solve anything or rewrite the past, but gives people a bit of closure and maybe, just maybe, makes the next autocrat a bit more reluctant to rape and pillage. I do worry that if too much time passes, we might see another case of "aging dictator syndrome," the illness that seems to occur when an old tyrant is on the verge of punishment. Pinochet was ruled to be too senile to hold trial, Pol Pot managed to evade trial by making claims about his failing health, Hussein might get off in a similar fashion.

Unfortunately, I don't think that the capture will have much impact on the violence in Iraq. While it's likely that some of the guerrillas attacking American soldiers were hoping to reinstate Saddam as their leader, it seems less likely that he was running the show. Why? CUZ HE WAS LIVING IN A FUCKING HOLE!!!

Apart from that, most information seems to point in a different direction. Politicos in DC and administrators in Baghdad tell us that the insurgents are Saddam loyalists and international terrorists. Journalists who travel around the country, talk to the people, and interview some of the alleged insurgents, say that they are Iraqi nationalists or angry anti-occupationists.

And here in the states, conversation seems to follow two veins: 1) how will Saddam Hussein be tried? and 2) look at the Democratic scum trying to spin this event to their best political advantage.

And of course they're trying to spin it. That's what politicians do, 24/7. The party in power, too. They're spinning the Hussein capture as justification for their war. And if Saddam had escaped and killed a bunch of Americans, the party in power likely would've blamed the Democrats for not supporting the war enough.

Posted by Jake at 08:50 PM | TrackBack (0)

IIRC they were talking about the possibility of "years" of interragation. Now I'm all for the demise of evil dictators (even the ones the US put in power), but isn't that against some sort of convention or something? Oh right, the US doesn't play by the same rules, I'd forgotten.

I too, am not sure what to make of it all :)

Posted by: Arcterex at December 16, 2003 09:47 PM

I think Bush, the military leaders and friends were disappointed that Hussein wasn't killed. Did you see the interviews with the military personnel involved in the capture. They almost seemed dejected that they didn't get to kill them.

The Hussein capture is overrated. First, we're led to believe that he was involved with 9/11, then we were to believe that he was orchestrating the attacks on the U.S. occupation...from his hole. It won't change the situation. Hussein and the Baathists were an unpopular ruling minority and insurgencies point to a more broad-based movement against American-led occupation.

Posted by: Eric at December 18, 2003 10:09 AM

what do you all make of the notion that the 'capture photos' show a bunch of ripe dates hanging by 'the hole' and that they ripen in july and august, while the 'capture' was in december?? just curious.

Posted by: circe at January 15, 2004 08:51 AM

Jake---Saddam was not captured by USA.The hole was a prison for him.Saddam was a puppet for USA.
Time for us to apoligize to Saddam and bring him to power and let him Judge the American creeps for death sentences.--Bush and all those Israel lovers.
ISRAOIL--that it is Jake!

Posted by: george in toronto at January 23, 2004 11:12 AM

Jake---Saddam was not captured by USA.The hole was a prison for him.Saddam was a puppet for USA.
Time for us to apoligize to Saddam and bring him to power and let him Judge the American creeps for death sentences.--Bush and all those Israel lovers.
ISRAOIL--that it is Jake!

Posted by: george in toronto at January 23, 2004 11:12 AM

Lying media bastards----What would Americans do if the word is out in china---Lets take over the west---Now that we have lots of U.S. cash, lets buy out the Jewish media. I rather have them as bosses!We are servants of the media. Do you think for a momment that the Iraq mess would have happened if the media had not a adjenda--to please Israel.
Nixon tapes---I,m surrounded by Jews. YACKS!CRUMBAAA!----Didn't take him long to know--who controls us.

Posted by: george at January 23, 2004 12:26 PM

By Ted Sampley
March/April/May 1997

Former President George Bush, who bailed out of a crippled Navy Avenger bomber 53 years ago, jumped again in March of this year. His World War II jump is historic. It made Bush the only president to ever bail out of an airplane and the only president whose crew mates were sent careening into the ocean because their pilot had abandoned the aircraft.

Accompanied by eight Golden Knights from the Army Precision Parachuting Team and a civilian from the U.S. Parachute Association, Bush's second jump was less eventful and historic. After leaping from a civilian twin-engine airplane at 12,500 feet with two jump masters holding onto his harness, Bush fell until he deployed his parachute at 4,500 feet.

A half a dozen people--including his wife Barbara--rushed to help cushion his landing. Medical emergency personnel were also standing by on the ground. Bush landed about 40 yards from his target at the Army's Yuma Proving Ground, the sprawling base where the Golden Knights train eight weeks a year.

When the 72-year-old former chief executive was asked how he felt, he gave a thumbs up. "It was wonderful. I'm a new man--and I go home exhilarated," he said. "There's a lot of things about my previous incarnation that I do not miss, but I do miss the military," Bush later told base employees.

Prior to the jump, Jim McGrath, Bush's assistant, had said "The reasons behind this [the jump] are strictly personal, . . . It has to do with World War II."

Those cryptic remarks give rise to speculation that Bush may have been, as The London Times put it, "Trying to exorcise demons from his earlier jump, the circumstances of which flared up into controversy during Bush's presidential campaign.

In a 1987 account of the World War II incident, which differed from his earlier versions, Bush told about the incident on television. He claimed that during a bombing run against a Japanese radio installation on ChiChi Island, his plane was hit and engulfed in flames and that he ordered his crew to bail out. He said one did, but his parachute failed. Bush claimed the other crewman did not answer the intercom, so he assumed that the crewman was critically wounded or dead.

Bush, who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for action prior to the crash, said that even though the plane was in flames, he managed to fly it on to the target and drop his bombs before he bailed out. Bush admitted, however, that in his rush to get out of the Avenger, he pulled the parachute rip cord too quickly and was gashed on his forehead when he hit the tail of the plane.

Bush's Betrayal

Chester Mierzejewski, an old war buddy of Bush, who said he was angered by the "false assertions" made by candidate Bush when describing the incident, gave a different account.

After 44 years of silence, Mierzejewski, who also was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, told the New York Post that Bush had abandoned his crew to death when there was another choice.

He said he was approximately 100 feet in front of Bush's plane as the turret gunner for Squadron Commander Douglas Melvin's plane, "so close he could see in the cockpit" of Bush's bomber. Mierzejewski's close wartime buddy was one of the two crew members in Bush's plane.

According to Mierzejewski, the squadron was in a tight-formation bombing raid against a Japanese radio installation on an island reported to be heavily fortified. He saw "a puff of smoke" come from Bush's plane which quickly disappeared and was certain only one man parachuted from the plane and that it was Bush, the pilot.

Mierzejewski said the Avenger torpedo bomber was engineered so that it could successfully crash land on water and that Bush doomed his own crew by bailing out and leaving the bomber out of control.

Other World War II veterans also expressed concern about Bush parachuting out of the aircraft. "He had a moral obligation to put that plane in the water in an emergency landing," Robert Flood, a former B-17 bombardier told the press. "He violated the primary rule for a captain of a multi-crew aircraft: The pilot never leaves the airplane with anybody in it."

Pete Brandon, a Marine Corps Avenger pilot, who also served in the South Pacific, said an Avenger pilot had two choices: Set the plane down in the water or hold it steady until the two crewmen could prepare to jump.

"In an Avenger, only the pilot wore a parachute," Brandon said. "The two crewmen wore harnesses. If the order came to bail out, they had to take chest parachutes from a shelf and strap them on - and bail out. The Avenger was very unstable. The pilot had to be at the controls the whole time or it would go right over on its back."

Steve Hart, then Vice President Press Secretary, described Mierzejewski's account as absurd. Hart said, "The Vice President has told us time and time again what happened that day. To suggest that the account is inaccurate is absurd."

What is absurd is the conflicting or missing reports of exactly what happened to Bush's two crew members. According to the Post, the intelligence report on the loss of Bush's plane in September, 1944 notes that it had become "standard doctrine" for VT 51, Bush's bomber squadron, "to make bombing runs on targets near water so as to retire over the water. This puts pilot and crew in position for water rescue in event of forced landing . . . "

The same document reports, without attribution, that "smoke and flame" engulfed Bush's engine, and that "Bush and one other person were seen to bail out. The chute of the other person who bailed out did not open."

The report was signed by Melvin and an intelligence officer, Lt. Martin E. Kilpatrick. Contrary to normal military procedure, the report was not dated and Navy archives were unable to supply a subsequently completed report.

Gunner Lawrence Mueller, who lives in Milwaukee, flew on the ChiChi Jima mission. When asked who had the best view, he replied unhesitatingly: "The turret gunner in Melvin's plane."

Mueller's recollections, jogged by a log book that he kept, support Mierzejewski's account. And it was noted that Bush's plane was the only one from the squadron that did not return. Mueller told the Post, "No parachute was sighted except Bush's when the plane went down." He also said no one mentioned a fire engulfing Bush's plane or he would have noted it in the log book.

The Finback, the sub which picked up Bush from his raft in the water, made no report of a fire on Bush's plane, but did comment on his crew: "Bush stated that he failed to see his crew's parachutes and believed they had jumped when the plane was still over ChiChi Jima, or they had gone down with the plane."

About six hours later, the Finback picked up another pilot, James W. Beckman, from the USS Enterprise, who stated that it was known that only one man had parachuted from Bush's plane. "This decided us to discontinue any further search of that area . . ."

Although the heart of Bush's story about the incident remains the same, Mierzejewski is adamant Bush's account is not the truth and blames Bush for the abandonment and deaths of both men.

"I think he could have saved those lives, if they were alive. I don't know that they were, but at least they had a chance if he had attempted a water landing," Mierzejewski said.

Posted by: GEORGE at August 22, 2004 10:01 PM
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Media News

December 01, 2004

Media Mambo

The Great Indecency Hoax- last week, we wrote about how the "massive outcry" to the FCC about a racy Fox TV segment amounted to letters from 20 people. This week, we look at the newest media scandal, the infamous "naked back" commercial. On Monday Night Football, last week, ABC aired an ad for it's popular "Desperate Housewives" TV show, in which one of the actresses from the show attempted to seduce a football player by removing the towel she was wearing to bare her body to him. All the audience saw, however, was her back. No tits, no ass, no crotch, just her back.

No one complained.

The next Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh told his shocked viewers how the woman had appeard in the commercial "buck naked".

Then, the FCC received 50,000 complaints. How many of them actually saw this commercial is anyone's guess.

The article also shows the amazing statistics that although the Right is pretending that the "22% of Americans voted based on 'moral values'" statistic shows the return of the Moral Majority, this is actually a huge drop from the 35% who said that in the 2000 election or the 40% who said that in 1996 (when alleged pervert Bill Clinton was re-elected). This fact is so important I'm going to mention it over in the main news section too.

Brian Williams may surprise America- Tom Brokaw's replacement anchor, Brian Williams, dismissed the impact of blogs by saying that bloggers are "on an equal footing with someone in a bathroom with a modem." Which is really funny, coming out of the mouth of a dude who's idea of journalism is to read words out loud off a teleprompter. Seriously, if parrots were literate, Brian Williams would be reporting live from the line outside the soup kitchen.

In related news, Tom Brokaw has quit NBC Nightly News, and it appears that unlike his predecessor, the new guy can speak without slurring words like a drunk.

PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror- in February of 2002, Donald Rumsfeld announced the creation of the Office of Strategic Influence, a new department that would fight the war on terror through misinformation, especially by lying to journalists. Journalists were so up in arms about this that the Pentagon agreed to scrap the program.

Don't you think that an agency designed to lie to the public might lie about being shut down, too?

This article gives some examples about the US military lying to the press for propaganda and disinformation purposes.

Tavis Smiley leaving NPR in December- African-American talk show host Tavis Smiley is opting to not renew his daily talk show on National Public Radio. He criticized his former employers for failing to: "meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio but simply donít know it exists or what it offers ... In the most multicultural, multi-ethnic and multiracial America ever, I believe that NPR can and must do better in the future." He's 100% correct. NPR is white. Polar bear eating a marshmallow at the mayonaise factory white. And the reason it's so white is that it is trying to maintain an affluent listener base (premoniantly older white folks) who will donate money to their stations. This is a great paradox of American public broadcasting, that they have a mandate to express neglected viewpoints and serve marginalized communities, but those folks can't donate money in the amounts that the stations would like to see.

U.S. Muslim Cable TV Channel Aims to Build Bridges- it sounds more positive than it is "Bridges TV" seems to simultaneously be a cable channel pursuing an affluent American Muslim demographic, and a way of building understanding and tolerance among American non-Muslims who might happen to watch the channel's programming. I was hoping it would be aimed more at Muslim's worldwide, but it ain't. Still, I'd be interested in seeing how their news programs cover the issues.

Every Damned Weblog Post Ever- it's funny cuz it's true.

Wikipedia Creators Move Into News- Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created collectively by thousands of contributors. It's one of those non-profit, decentralized, collective, public projects that show how good the internet can be. Now, the Wikipedia founders are working on a similar project to create a collaborative news portal, with original content. Honestly, it's quite similar to IndyMedia sites (which reminds me, happy 5th birthday, IndyMedia!). I'll admit, I'm a bit skeptical about the Wikinews project, though. IndyMedia sites work because they're local, focused on certain lefty issues, and they're run by activists invested in their beliefs. I'm not sure what would drive Wikinews or how it would hang together.

CBS, NBC ban church ad inviting gays- the United Church of Christ created a TV ad which touts the church's inclusion, even implying that they accept homosexuals into their congregation. Both CBS and NBC are refusing to air the ad. This is not too surprising, as many Americans are uncomfortable about homosexuality, and because TV networks are utter cowards. But CBS' explanation for the ban was odd:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples...and the fact that the executive branch has recently proposed a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast."

Whoa, what? First of all, the ad does not mention marriage at all. Second, since when do positions opposite of the Executive Branch constitute "unacceptable"? This doesn't sound like "we're not airing this because it's controversial", this sounds like "we're afraid of what the President might say."

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