US 'victory' against cult leader was 'massacre'

US 'victory' against cult leader was 'massacre'

There are growing suspicions in Iraq that the official story of the battle outside Najaf between a messianic Iraqi cult and the Iraqi security forces supported by the US, in which 263 people were killed and 210 wounded, is a fabrication. The heavy casualties may be evidence of an unpremeditated massacre.

A picture is beginning to emerge of a clash between an Iraqi Shia tribe on a pilgrimage to Najaf and an Iraqi army checkpoint that led the US to intervene with devastating effect. The involvement of Ahmed al-Hassani (also known as Abu Kamar), who believed himself to be the coming Mahdi, or Messiah, appears to have been accidental.

The story emerging on independent Iraqi websites and in Arabic newspapers is entirely different from the government's account of the battle with the so-called "Soldiers of Heaven", planning a raid on Najaf to kill Shia religious leaders.

The cult denied it was involved in the fighting, saying it was a peaceful movement. The incident reportedly began when a procession of 200 pilgrims was on its way, on foot, to celebrate Ashura in Najaf. They came from the Hawatim tribe, which lives between Najaf and Diwaniyah to the south, and arrived in the Zarga area, one mile from Najaf at about 6am on Sunday. Heading the procession was the chief of the tribe, Hajj Sa'ad Sa'ad Nayif al-Hatemi, and his wife driving in their 1982 Super Toyota sedan because they could not walk. When they reached an Iraqi army checkpoint it opened fire, killing Mr Hatemi, his wife and his driver, Jabar Ridha al-Hatemi. The tribe, fully armed because they were travelling at night, then assaulted the checkpoint to avenge their fallen chief.

Members of another tribe called Khaza'il living in Zarga tried to stop the fighting but they themselves came under fire. Meanwhile, the soldiers and police at the checkpoint called up their commanders saying they were under attack from al-Qai'da with advanced weapons. Reinforcements poured into the area and surrounded the Hawatim tribe in the nearby orchards. The tribesmen tried - in vain - to get their attackers to cease fire.(...)"

US 'victory' against cult leader was 'massacre'

US 'victory' against cult leader was 'massacre'

There are growing suspicions in Iraq that the official story of the battle outside Najaf between a messianic Iraqi cult and the Iraqi security forces supported by the US, in which 263 people were killed and 210 wounded, is a fabrication. The heavy casualties may be evidence of an unpremeditated massacre.

A picture is beginning to emerge of a clash between an Iraqi Shia tribe on a pilgrimage to Najaf and an Iraqi army checkpoint that led the US to intervene with devastating effect. The involvement of Ahmed al-Hassani (also known as Abu Kamar), who believed himself to be the coming Mahdi, or Messiah, appears to have been accidental.

The story emerging on independent Iraqi websites and in Arabic newspapers is entirely different from the government's account of the battle with the so-called "Soldiers of Heaven", planning a raid on Najaf to kill Shia religious leaders.

The cult denied it was involved in the fighting, saying it was a peaceful movement. The incident reportedly began when a procession of 200 pilgrims was on its way, on foot, to celebrate Ashura in Najaf. They came from the Hawatim tribe, which lives between Najaf and Diwaniyah to the south, and arrived in the Zarga area, one mile from Najaf at about 6am on Sunday. Heading the procession was the chief of the tribe, Hajj Sa'ad Sa'ad Nayif al-Hatemi, and his wife driving in their 1982 Super Toyota sedan because they could not walk. When they reached an Iraqi army checkpoint it opened fire, killing Mr Hatemi, his wife and his driver, Jabar Ridha al-Hatemi. The tribe, fully armed because they were travelling at night, then assaulted the checkpoint to avenge their fallen chief.

Members of another tribe called Khaza'il living in Zarga tried to stop the fighting but they themselves came under fire. Meanwhile, the soldiers and police at the checkpoint called up their commanders saying they were under attack from al-Qai'da with advanced weapons. Reinforcements poured into the area and surrounded the Hawatim tribe in the nearby orchards. The tribesmen tried - in vain - to get their attackers to cease fire.(...)"


O que vem aí na Somália

"What about the Islamic Courts? What do they need to do to defeat the state?

They have already accomplished their first task: avoid the Ethiopian army and go to ground, preserving their forces and weapons for a guerrilla war. Had they stood and fought, not only would they have lost, they would have risked annihilation. Mao's rule, "When the enemy advances, we retreat," is of vital importance to most 4GW forces.

The next task is harder: they must now regroup, keep most of their forces loyal, supplied, paid and motivated, and begin a two-fold campaign, one against the Ethiopians or any other foreign forces and the second against the Transitional Federal Government. This will be a test of their organizational skills, and it is by no means clear they have those skills.

Time will tell, time probably measured in weeks or months, not years.Against occupying foreign forces, the Islamic Courts will need to wrap themselves in nationalism as well as religion, so that they rather than the TFG are seen as the legitimate Somali authorities. The fact that the TFG has to be propped up by foreign troops makes this task relatively easy."
Somalia: A State Restored? Not So Fast by William S. Lind

As causas do Imperialismo

É preciso descobrir um texto de um historiador inglês (AJP Taylor sempre a demonstrar o seu carácter único) à esquerda para ver negada de forma notável o alegado carácter capitalista do Imperialismo. São os interesses económicos? Não. "Their measuring-stick was Power, not Profit.

A. J. P. Taylor, Economic Imperialism, (1952): "Ideas live longer than men, and the writer who can attach his name to an idea is safe for immortality. Darwin will live as long as Evolution, Marx be forgotten only when there are no class-struggles. In the same way, no survey of the international history of the twentieth century can be complete without the name of J A Hobson.

[a explicação que se tornou norma...]

He it was who found an economic motive for Imperialism. Lenin took over Hobson's explanation, which thus became the basis for Communist foreign policy to the present day. Non-Marxists were equally convinced, and contemporary history has been written largely in the light of Hobson's discovery. This discovery was an off-shoot from his general doctrine of under-consumption. The capitalists cannot spend their share of the national production. Saving makes their predicament worse. They demand openings for investment outside their saturated national market, and they find these openings in the undeveloped parts of the world. This is Imperialism. In Hobson's words, 'the modern foreign policy of Great Britain has been primarily a struggle for profitable markets of investment' - and what applied to Great Britain was equally true of France or Germany.(...)

This idea is now so embedded in our thought that we cannot imagine a time when it did not exist. Yet the earlier Radical opponents of Imperialism knew nothing of it. They supposed that Imperialism sprang from a primitive greed for territory or a lust for conquest.

[mas curioso é que...]

Previously Marxists had condemned capitalism as being pacific and particularly for preventing the great war of liberation against Russia. Now all wars became 'capitalistic', and war the inevitable outcome of the capitalist system. It is not surprising that, when the first world war had broken out, Lenin seized on Hobson's 'bourgeois-pacifist' theory and made it the cornerstone of neo-Marxism. Like most prophets he boasted of his foresight only when his visions had become facts.(...)[mas na verdade ...]Their measuring-stick was Power, not Profit. When they disputed over tropical African territory or scrambled for railway concessions in China, their aim was to strengthen their respective empires, not to benefit the financiers of the City.(...)

[E quem é que devemos temer? O capitalista?]

He knew that men love Power above all else. This, not Imperialism, is the besetting sin. (...)It is the high-minded and inspired, the missionaries not the capitalists, who cause most of the trouble. Worst of all the men of Power who are missionaries as well."

E missionários com vontade de usar o Poder para cumprir a sua missão ...

Imagine that

"Economist Lawrence Parks has explained how the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank in 1913 made possible our involvement in World War I. Without the ability to create new money, the federal government never could have afforded the enormous mobilization of men and material. Prior to that, American wars were financed through taxes and borrowing, both of which have limits." Ron Paul

Que tal pensar na possibilidade de: ... a Grande Guerra acabava com uma espécie de empate e... ...o Kaiser não tinha sido deposto, o Czar teria tremido e sido obrigado a grandes reformas mas não caído, os Habsburgos mantinham-se como um equilíbrio à influência Prussa na grande alemanha, os ingleses e franceses não teriam repartido o Médio Oriente criando os países artificiais (Iraque, Koweit, Kurdos de fora...Palestina, Síria). A Itália não se sentiria traída por ter entrado na guerra com promessas que não foram cumpridas no fim ... daí Mussolini (que apesar de tudo não só evitou o comunismo na Itália como protegeu enquanto conseguiu a Aústria da Alemanha).

Nem Estaline teria subido ao poder. Nem Hitler. Os chineses não veriam o Japão ser reconhecido - formalmente - como uma potência na zona. Ho-Chi-Min não teria sido escolhido o comunismo como bandeira do seu nacionalismo vietnamita cujo direito à soberania estava expresso dos 14 pontos de Woodrow Wilson (sabiam que Ho-CHi-Min foi a Paris na sequência de Versailles sendo ignorado pelo cinismo dos Impérios vencedores? Eu não). O mundo não teria vivido nos custos do realismo anti-comunista da guerra fria.

Quase todos os males modernos nasceram com a Grande Guerra. Aquela onde todas as Alianças foram evocadas.


Um comentário acertado

Mais um no Duas Cidades

Somália - Mais uma guerra gnóstica

"Durante uma década, a Somália foi um caso típico de Estado mais que falhado: desaparecido. Os Somális derrotaram mesmo os estados unidos, simolizado por Blackhawk down. De repente, a campanha Blitzkrieg pelo exército etíope pareceu mudar tudo. Os islamistas foram postos de lado por tanques e jactos. Veio o governo federal transitório, criado há anos mas quase invisível dentro da Somália. O Estado somali foi restaurado - ou assim parece. Este choque directo entre a ordem internacional dos estados e o anti-estado, será um exemplo instrutivo. Se o Estado somali falhar outra vez, o futuro pertence aos gnósticos da quarta geração.

A melhor suposição é que na Somália, a dependência do novo estado perante tropas estrangeiras será fatal. As guerras de estado contra o anti-estado são competições pela legitimidade e nenhum regime estabelecido por intervenção estrangeira pode ganhá-la. Contudo, se os islamistas não se organizarem eficazmente, o novo governo poderá ganhar por defeito. De qualquer modo, é seguro dizer que o resultado em Somália terá um impacto para além das fronteiras daquele pequeno país."

"Doutrina Militar Russa - Revisão de Janeiro de 2007 "

Via Duas Cidades

Doutrina Militar Russa - Revisão de Janeiro de 2007
Do meu colega WAis Ilya Platov recebi o seguinte:The new Russian military doctrine presented on January 20th 2007 by General Gareev.

The purpose of the new doctrine, elaborated under the auspices of the Russian General Staff and under the supervision of the President's Security Council, is to supersede the already existing "new" doctrine presented in 2000. What justifies such a change seven years later? Two issues are of interest:

a) the definition of the most important threats to Russia from the outside, and
b) military reform. The latter issue will be of a particular concern for Russian society, where the current draft system inherited from the USSR is considered to be corrupt, ineffective, and threatening to the lives of new recruits.

General Gareev justified the necessity for a new doctrine by announcing significant shifts
in the "geopolitical and military-political sphere." He stated that some points of the previous doctrine are outdated and do not reflect Russia's new geopolitical situation. From an international relations standpoint, the fact of a new doctrine is part of a more general trend towards a "clarification" of Russia's positioning on the global arena. Priorities are much more clearly defined, as well as its main priorities and targets.

1) About the exact nature of "menaces," the doctrine is purposefully vague. Gen. Gareev made reference not only to direct military threats, but also to "covert" political, military and economic "threats," putting on the same level the collapse of the USSR and Yugoslavia, and recent "revolutions" in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan, sponsored according to him by NATO and the US. Russia clearly wants to send an unambiguous message to the West to stay out of the "Near Abroad," considered as the main geopolitical priority, hence the necessity to keep a large army capable to protect an extended border.

2) At the same time, Gen. Gareev considers that the future war will be a "partisan" war, and not a "global conflict" with a great power. Internal security threats ("terrorism and separatism"), an avowed priority, are directly linked to the situation in the former Soviet republics. While their relative autonomy in the foreign policy domain is tolerated, any attempt to go to the "enemy side" provokes a very harsh reaction (i.e. deployment of NATO troops in Crimea, Georgia, etc.).

3) Concerning nuclear power, Russia needs to continue to develop its nuclear arsenal, as the possibility of global conflict is not excluded (NATO? China?). "Wars of the future will necessitate conventional, high-precision weapons, under a permanently maintained threat of using nuclear weapons."

The doctrine is pragmatic in inspiration: it discards "ideological issues" in favour of a 19th century-style realpolitik (this is my own impression). The NATO and US are not considered as ideological rivals, but competitors with whom it is possible to cooperate in selected fields (like anti-terrorism).

Perhaps the most interesting point is a renewed emphasis on energy issues, considered to be the main source of coming global conflicts in the next 10-15 years (very likely according to Gareev). Russia's main strength seems to be its energy resources. He pointed to the USA as the main source of such a threat, using Iraq as an example of a predatory quest for energy resources; he also mentioned the likelihood of "political and economic rivalries" arising from this competition.

The general restated Russia's commitment to multilateralism, and estimated that the "USA is no longer able to carry the burden of global leadership," and that Russia is called to play the role of "geopolitical referee".

Concerning the much-needed reform of the Russian military, the doctrine states the following:

1) An assessment of the "critical" situation of the current system of obligatory military service: "the army […] is incapable of supplying young military men".

2) The new doctrine does not intend to eliminate obligatory military service, but to create a mixed system with a professional core supplemented by a draft army. The obligatory military service will be reduced from 2 to 1 year, and eventually to 6-8 months. While this does not solve Russia's problems, it will certainly reduce casualties due to mistreatment (usually carried on by second-year servicemen on the new recruits). According to Gen. Gareev estimates, the new system will be put in place within 5-6 years.

It is difficult to appreciate at this moment the reaction of the Russian public to the new doctrine. Media close to Putin underplay the "hostile" element of the doctrine, stressing that US and Russia are "partners" in the war against terror. The main concern will however be the issues of the reform of the military. Some observers consider that the doctrine advanced by Gareev artificially boosts the importance of "global threats" in order to justify the maintenance of a large Soviet-style army.



The Big Question: Is Kosovo just an accident of war, and can it thrive as an independent state?

Why are we asking the question now?

Because today the UN mediator and former Finnish president, Martti Ahtisaari, will give Germany, Britain, France, Italy, the US and Russia their first sight of his plans to resolve the status of Kosovo. The proposal is expected to involve a huge degree of autonomy for Kosovo - which is technically a province of Serbia, although under UN control - but not full and immediate independence.

Mr Ahtisaari is expected to suggest that Kosovo gains the trappings of a country, including a flag, along with the right to enter into international agreements and apply for membership of international organisations and institutions such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Mr Ahtisaari will then travel to Belgrade and Pristina to deliver the news to politicians there on 2 February.

How did history shape Kosovo?

Though Slavs and Albanians have lived side by side in Kosovo since the eighth century, the province was the centre of the Serbian empire until the mid-14th century. Moreover, Serbs regard Kosovo as the birthplace of their state. One of the key moments in history was Serbia's defeat at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, which led to centuries of rule under the Muslim Ottoman Empire. Serbia regained control of Kosovo in 1913, and the province later became part of the Yugoslav federation.

Throughout the 20th century, the fortunes of the two main ethnic communities fluctuated. Suppression of the Albanians in the 1960s gave way to more tolerance from Belgrade, then more repression. Meanwhile, the demographic balance tipped strongly in favour of ethnic Albanians, who became the overwhelming majority.

What provoked the war with Nato?

Resentment of Kosovan influence within Yugoslavia provided a useful political tool for Serb nationalists, most notably the man who became Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic. When he won that job in 1989, he stripped Kosovo of its autonomy. In the same year, Milosevic made his famous speech to hundreds of thousands of supporters at a celebration marking the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo. Milosevic told the crowd that, six centuries after the famous battle, "we are again engaged in battles and are facing battles". These were, he said, "not armed battles", though he added ominously that "such things cannot be excluded yet".

A resistance movement gathered pace among Albanians in the 1990s. Albanian leaders made a unilateral declaration of independence in 1991 and a guerrilla movement, the Kosovo Liberation Army, attacked Serb targets, prompting a crackdown. When Milosevic rejected an international deal to end the crisis, and refused to end his campaign against Kosovo Albanians, Nato began air strikes against targets in Kosovo and Serbia in March 1999.

The repression of the Kosovo Albanians was stepped up and hundreds of thousands of refugees fled to Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro. Despite several public relations disasters (such as bombing the Chinese embassy in Belgrade), Nato's concerted bombardment succeeded in forcing a Serb retreat from Kosovo. After he fell from power Mr Milosevic was put on trial in The Hague on charges including genocide, though he died before the tribunal finished hearing the case.

What is the situation in Kosovo now?

The province is administered by the UN and relations between the two main communities are tense and sometimes violent. Ethnic Albanians number about 2.1 million, while about 175,000 Serbs remain following a post-war exodus of non-Albanians. The Serbian minority lives in separate areas, in particular near Mitrovica, and enjoys the protection of peacekeepers from Nato - the organisation that bombed Milosevic out of Kosovo. The UN and Nato are trying to reduce their presence and hand over more responsibility to the EU.
Economically underdeveloped, Kosovo remains a creation of the international community. Though declining sharply, assistance from foreign donors still accounted for some 23 per cent of gross domestic product in 2004, while spending by expatriates working for international organisations accounted for another 5.7 per cent of GDP.

According to the EU, Kosovo's judicial system is weak and unable to deliver a proper service. Corruption is widespread at all levels of life and "organised crime is entrenched in Kosovo and its prevalence gives rise to serious concern". The EU identified worries about "trafficking of drugs, weapons and human beings, prostitution and large-scale organised crime activities involving the infringement of copyright laws".

Will the Ahtisaari plan be acceptable?

Certainly not in Belgrade. In elections on Sunday, the nationalist Radical party emerged with the biggest share of the vote, but even Boris Tadic, the more pro-western leader of the Democratic Party, is opposed to full autonomy for the Kosovars. No Serb politician wants to go down in history as the person who surrendered Kosovo.

On the ground in Kosovo the local Serbs fear that any increase in power for the Albanian majority could have implications for their security. To reassure them, Mr Ahtisaari will pledge a continuing international presence there. But the overwhelming majority of the ethnic Albanian population wants full independence and is becoming increasingly impatient. Extremists have attacked UN vehicles in protest at the lack of autonomy and may be disappointed with the Ahtisaari compromise.

Will the plan work?

Success or failure depends on whether Russia blocks the blueprint in the UN Security Council. As Serbia's closest ally among the big powers, Russia considers itself to be Belgrade's biggest defender. Moreover, it complains that giving Kosovo any sort of independence sets a dangerous precedent. It is thinking here of its own backyard, particularly Chechnya.

Could Kosovo be successful as an independent state?

The current situation is not sustainable. With unemployment at nearly 50 per cent and high levels of poverty, the province remains an economic basket case, heavily dependent on outside aid. Diplomats say the only hope of turning around this dire situation is to secure an agreement resolving Kosovo's status. This would give legal certainty to potential investors. The danger is that the situation could spiral out of control if there is a return to widespread ethnic violence. Already, the Nato protection force has stepped up patrols and checkpoints to try to head-off any upsurge in sectarian unrest.

Should Kosovo be granted full independence from Serbia?


* The overwhelming majority of the population is ethnic Albanian, and they have a right to self-determination
* Lack of nationhood is holding Kosovo back from developing economically and socially
* The current Nato-protected, UN-administered status quo is not sustainable in the long term


* Kosovo is the historic birthplace of the Serb nation and losing it would stir up Serb nationalism
* Independence would endanger the physical security of the Serb minority in Kosovo
* It would set an unfortunate precedent which would encourage a host of other regions to press for independence


"A angústia da Sérvia"

Nota: A ansgústia, diga-se, é geral. Vai ser difícil ou impossível mesmo, impôr a não independência no Kosovo (afinal, eram os "freddom fighters"...). Se não for já, mais tarde. Mas recorde-se que um dos motivos do conflito nos Balcãs, foi que a seguir às várias independências, os enclaves sérvios nessas novas independências pretenderam também por sua vez serem reconhecidos. E assim a guerra pela secessão, que nunca é "limpa" ( americana terá sido a mais sangrenta da história).A excessiva penalização de uma das partes, uma mania "ocidental" que arranja logo classificações morais ("ultra-nacionalistas", "ethnic-cleasing") de marketing diplomático e áurea de legitimação (ultrapassando o "mero" direito internacional) intervindo a favor de um qualquer "bem" contra oum"mal", conduziu a que os Sérvios percepcionem a situação territorial com cinismo. (Curioso. Foi o que aconteceu com os alemães na sequência da imposição de Versailes, com os resultados conhecidos).Resultado, o precedente vai servir de jurisprudência. É verdade que o princípio da Secessão como vontade pacífica expressa num processo democrático não tem refutação fácil. Outra coisa, porém, é o intervencionismo externo "ajudar á confusão". Estes processos já são demasiados complexos e instáveis para termos a "comunidade internacional" a introduzir mais variáveis e novos teatros de decisão.

Negócios, João Carlos Barradas:

"Na próxima sexta-feira, serão conhecidos os termos do plano do enviado especial da ONU Martti Ahtisaari para o estatuto da província onde cerca de dois milhões de albaneses esperam pela independência a prazo para desespero dos 80 mil sérvios que ainda residem no chamado baluarte histórico da Sérvia onde, em 1389, o príncipe Lazar perdeu a vida frente às hostes otomanas de Murad I.A ter vingado o compromisso negociado pelo Grupo de Contacto – Grã-Bretanha, França, Alemanha, Itália, Rússia e Estados Unidos – a formalização das condições de independência do Kosovo partirá do pressuposto expresso publicamente de que os albaneses têm o direito de se separar de Belgrado.As negociações abertas em Fevereiro do ano passado entre Belgrado e Pristina, sob égide da ONU, partem do pressuposto de que a província, protectorado internacional desde 1999, seja obrigada a criar instituições de segurança e judiciais sob supervisão externa, tenha interdita a possibilidade de eventual confederação, federação ou integração com a Albânia e mantenha a integridade territorial de forma a obstar a um efeito dominó de partilha étnica na Macedónia e na Bósnia-Herzegovina.O exemplo da secessão do Montenegro veio, no entanto, evidenciar que a "soberania limitada" da província poderá vir a revelar-se uma mero compasso de espera para a independência a prazo, depois de obtidas garantias para as minorias não-albanesas, essencialmente os residentes sérvios, e definidos os termos de protecção e livre acesso aos santuários e templos da Igreja ortodoxa no Kosovo. (...)A emancipação do Kosovo é, contudo, um dado irreversível, mas a atitude de Moscovo é um dos elementos a obstar a um compromisso. Vladimir Putin reafirmou ainda no seu encontro domingo, em Sotchi, com Angela Merkel que um compromisso implica o acordo mútuo de Belgrado e Pristina, insinuando, deste modo, que a Rússia poderia vetar uma resolução do Conselho de Segurança não aceitável por Belgrado. Ainda assim, quanto à última variante nas declarações de Putin sobre o Kosovo como questão a implicar o respeito por "princípios únicos e universais" na resolução de conflitos étnico-nacionais os sérvios não podem, no entanto, albergar grandes esperanças. O Kremlin visa essencialmente cedências da União Europeia e dos Estados Unidos nos casos de apoio de Moscovo aos secessionistas da Transdnistria, na Moldova, da Abkázia e da Ossétia do Sul, na Geórgia, às reivindicações das minorias russas nos estados bálticos e aos arménios do Nagorno-Karabah. O precedente que a autonomia ou futura independência do Kosovo possa vir alegadamente a representar como pretexto para Moscovo reconhecer actos de secessão de minorias russas ou pró-russas no antigo espaço soviético não implica um apoio determinado do Kremlin às pretensões sérvias.Nesses Balcãs que extravasam História para tão diminuta Geografia, no dizer sem arrependimento de Winston Curchill, talvez a Europa não se venha a perder como em 1914, mas convém ter em conta que os riscos dos jogos diplomáticos já por demasiadas vezes se revelaram indesejáveis para todos os protagonistas."

Pérolas do "Union of the State" speech

* "This war is an ideological struggle. ... To prevail, we must remove the conditions that inspire blind hatred and drove 19 men to get onto airplanes and to come to kill us."

PS: E que condições seram essas ... e os palestinianos estarão apostados numa cruzada "ideológica"?

* "Free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies"

PS: Humm...Hitler e a sua subida constitucional ao poder. O apoio popular que o Comunismo e o Fascismo já chegaram a ter. Os resultados dos partidos islâmicos quando têm a possibilidade de concorrer. "Give me liberty or give me death" de um dos pais da revolução americana Patrick Henry...a conquista da independência da Irlanda.

Ler The Ideologue, by Patrick J. Buchanan


Moscow 1941 by Rodric Braithwaite

Edward N. Luttwak : Russian Winter Moscow 1941: A City and Its People at Warby Rodric Braithwaite Knopf. 416 pp. $30.00

Why did the peoples of Stalin’s Soviet Union resist the German invasion in 1941? Nobody need ask why they resisted the 1942 offensive that almost reached the Caspian Sea. Or why they fought ferociously thereafter, from Stalingrad all the way to Berlin in the largest military campaign in human history. For by January, February, and March 1942, Soviet forces had reconquered hundreds of villages and several towns in a wide arc around Moscow that had been in German hands for a few weeks or months, and soldiers and survivors soon spread the word of what had been found.In place after place, there were Russian prisoners of war, dead by the thousands in open fields enclosed by coils of barbed wire; they had not been shot, but simply left to die of hunger. There were the frozen bodies of countless civilians, mostly old men, women, and children. German troops had seized their homes and forced them out after robbing them of furs, sheepskin jackets, or even humble rags; they died struggling through the waist-high snow in a vain attempt to find shelter in temperatures of minus 30 degrees centigrade. Then there were the horrific remains of hangings and mass shootings of “Bolshevik commissars”—a category that could embrace any state or party official—as well as of Jews and of resisters, including those who had failed to obey commands only because they did not understand German.By 1942, in short, the Germans had become monsters in human form, who had to be resisted at any cost. But that was not yet known in 1941. On the contrary, and especially in the Ukraine, the German army enjoyed an excellent reputation dating back to World War I, when invading German troops were known for their disciplined behavior. Besides, a great many of Stalin’s subjects had excellent reasons for refusing to defend the Soviet Union, whose economic strategy was based on the ruthless extraction of agricultural output to pay for industrial and military investment. In the 1930’s, in order to break actual or potential resistance to forced collectivization, millions of supposedly richer peasants (“Kulaks”) had been deported to Siberia under atrocious conditions, and many more millions died of hunger in local famines caused by the forcible requisition of crops at gunpoint, plain administrative incompetence, and an ideological contempt for the peasantry that blinded urban party officials to the imperatives of rural life.So it is not surprising that in 1941 many peasants ceremoniously received the first German invaders with bread and salt and high expectations of liberation. Nor is it surprising that, in towns and cities, the Nazis found natural collaborators among the surviving bourgeoisie or those, including the humblest shopkeepers, who had been persecuted as such by the regime. Even safely proletarian party members had grounds for refusing to defend Stalin’s regime, whose purges had first carried off the higher echelons of Old Bolsheviks and then continued down the line through every branch of the party apparatus and state bureaucracy.Finally, the disaster of the German invasion of June 22, 1941 was itself demoralizing, especially within the ranks of the Red Army. Although not many knew that Stalin had been personally responsible for the failure to heed the sixty-odd warnings of the impending invasion, some dating back more than six months, the consequences of that failure were obvious to all. Soviet air and ground forces, kept in front-line deployments and advanced airfields instead of being pulled back for a counterblow from safer positions in the rear, were quickly overrun by the first thrust of the German offensive. The result was the immediate loss of thousands of aircraft, tanks, and artillery pieces (more than the Germans had on all fronts), leaving the remaining Soviet forces desperately weak in both armor and airpower.That is why the Germans could advance in a series of great encirclements to reach the approaches to the Moscow region by October 1941, precipitating both the official evacuation of ministries and factories and the panicked flight of many officials. By then, it was by no means unreasonable for Hitler to consider his Russian campaign essentially won. British intelligence concurred, as did most other observers.What happened next to save the day was not, as legend has it, the onset of the Russian winter—the German Panzers could advance swiftly on frozen ground—but an astonishing recovery by the Soviet army in the field and the population behind it. This defied all logic, and cannot be explained by appeal to German atrocities as yet unknown. And this is the mystery that Rodric Braithwaite addresses in Moscow 1941, a triumph of historical explanation.In arriving at his answer, Braithwaite reviews and presents anew the controversies that have bedeviled conventional diplomatic and military histories of the Russian front. Why did Stalin ignore the excellent intelligence foretelling the invasion? (He expected an ultimatum with outrageous demands—which he meant to accept.) Would the Germans have done better by heading straight to Moscow instead of conquering the Ukraine first? (Probably not.) Had Stalin been planning a surprise attack of his own, which the German advance preempted? (A fashionable thesis for a while, but nonsense.) And so forth.But the question on which this book is focused remains that of motivation. Why, instead of surrendering in what were obviously hopeless circumstances—as even the best British troops had done, and would do—did Soviet troops fight to the death? And that made a huge difference: some 100,000 Germans were killed by December 1941, mostly by little groups of leaderless Red Army stragglers whose units had fallen apart and which the Germans listed as destroyed. And why did civilians volunteer in such huge numbers, forming militia units that were mostly cut down in their first encounters with the enemy?Braithwaite’s answer is that, after the colossal and humiliating defeats of the great battles of encirclement in which the Red Army had been easily outmaneuvered again and again, the war had become a fight for self-respect, and for national identity. For Russians, the national identity in question was Russian, an instinctive patriotic reflex. For those non-Russian nationalities that in one way or another had advanced under Soviet rule despite all its cruelties, that identity was Soviet.These non-Russians included central Asians who had been emancipated from Islamic medievalism and Jews liberated from czarist anti-Semitism and not yet subjected to its late-Stalinist variety. It is not by chance that one hero of the battle for Moscow was the Khazak lieutenant Baurjan Momysh-Uly, immortalized in Aleksandr Bek’s factual novel, The Volokolamsk Highway (1944). Another was Lev Mikhailovich Dovator, the Jewish general in command of the Cossack cavalry corps of the Red Army—a fitting reversal of the historic relationship between Cossack and Jew. Thus, in the course of answering his own question, Braithwaite illuminates both an essential quality of Russian culture and the superimposed workings of the Soviet regime and Soviet institutions, including the army.Braithwaite is obviously a talented historian, and one who knows how to write. He also knows Russian, not as a foreigner who has studied the language but as a highly cultured Russian might. He seems to have read everything of importance on his subject, including the latest crop of published diaries, sociological studies, and even popular histories like Anthony Beevor’s Stalingrad (1998) and its Russian equivalents.

Hillary Clinton:

Even Worse Than I Remembered

Bob has some thoughts on Hillary Clinton's announcement she's running for president:

In the wake of 9-11, it wasn't just George W. Bush telling the world "every nation has to be either with us or against us." It was Hillary, as you can hear for yourself.

In October 2002, during the debate about giving Bush authorization to invade Iraq, it wasn't just Dick Cheney telling the world in that Saddam Hussein had links to Al-Qaeda. It was Hillary, from the floor of Congress.

And in February 2005, it wasn't just John McCain claiming that democracy was taking root in Iraq, and that the insurgency was in its last throes. It was Hillary, standing right at John McCain's side.

Yeah. So President Hillary would be soooooo much better about Iraq. Clap louder, everybody. Make it come true.

I'd forgotten at least half of that. And then there are the other things Bob mentions. God, she's awful. Anyway, be sure to read it all.

Military intelligence

Thank God Our Leaders Are Completely Different From Saddam Hussein
I really could spend the rest of my life doing this.

This is from a 2004 article in Rolling Stone:

Over at Defense, competent intelligence professionals were purged in order to ease the way to war. Douglas Feith, brought in under Rumsfeld to serve as undersecretary of defense for policy, applied an ideological test to his staff: He didn’t want competence; he wanted fervor. Col. Pat Lang, a Middle East expert who served under five presidents, Republican and Democratic, in key posts in military intelligence, recalls being considered for a job at the Pentagon. During the job interview, Feith scanned Lang’s impressive resume. “I see you speak Arabic,” Feith said. When Lang nodded, Feith said, “Too bad,” and dismissed him.

Sérvia e Kosovo

Com o resultado das eleições Sérvias o processo de secessão do Kosovo fica ainda mais complicado. Vai ser dificil aos intervencionistas arranjarem uma solução. Todas são más.E como sempre, as consequências que sairem dela não vão encontrar responsáveis.


A concorrência

U.S. official: Chinese test missile obliterates satellite

Story Highlights• Chinese use a missile to ram and destroy an old, orbiting satellite
• Experts: China now may have ability to knock out U.S. GPS and spy satellites
• Washington issues formal diplomatic protest


Pérolas da cegueira moralista

Iran offered to cut off Hezbollah in overture to US in 2003

Iran offered to cut off aid and support for the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah and the Palestinian group Hamas, and promised full transparency on its nuclear program in a secret letter to the United States soon after the 2003 invasion of Iraque.

According to the BBC, the letter, which it obtained, was unsigned, but the US State Department understood that it came with the approval of the highest Iranian authorities.
The Islamic republic also offered to use its influence to support stabilisation in Iraq, and in return asked for a halt in hostile American behaviour, an abolition of all sanctions, and the pursuit and repatriation of members of the Mujahedeen Khalq (People's Mujahedeen MKO).
The MKO is an exiled Iranian opposition group which fought alongside former Iraqi dictator
Saddam Hussein' army in the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, and is currently based in Iraq.
Initially, the State Department was positive on the offer, according to Lawrence Wilkerson, former US secretary of state Colin Powell' chief of staff, who spoke to the BBC.
"As soon as it got to the White House, and as soon as it got to the Vice-President's (
Dick Cheney') office, the old mantra of 'we don't talk to evil' ... reasserted itself," Wilkerson told the broadcaster.

"To our embarrassment at State ... the cable that I saw go back to the Swiss actually upbraided the Swiss for being so bold and audacious as to present such a proposal to us on behalf of the Iranians."

According to Wilkerson, the State Department was also offered a deal by the Iranians after it led the invasion of Afghanistan' in 2001 which involved Iran giving up senior Al-Qaeda terror network figures in return for help pursuing the MKO.

Powell and Wilkerson were unsure how high in the Iranian government the approach came from, however, and did not pursue the offer, the BBC said.


A notícia que começou por ser dada com acusações veladas ao regime...

Suspect charged in Russian banker's murder

"MOSCOW, Russia (Reuters) -- Russian prosecutors on Wednesday charged a private banker with ordering the murder of first deputy chairman of the central bank Andrei Kozlov, his lawyer told Reuters.

Alexei Frenkel, former head of a private bank that Kozlov had closed down three months before he was shot dead, was detained on January 11. A court formally approved his arrest on Monday.
"My client was officially charged with organizing the murder of Kozlov," Frenkel's lawyer Igor Trunov said by telephone. Frenkel has said he is not guilty.

Kozlov, who led the fight against money laundering in Russia's secretive financial world, was shot in September after playing in a soccer game between central bank officials and bankers.
The killing, one of the highest profile assassinations of an official under President Vladimir Putin, raised concerns about stability and brought back memories of the murky contract killings of the 1990s.

Kozlov, a father of three, made his name by withdrawing the licenses of banks that broke central bank rules. Prosecutors says dozens of tiny banks are used to launder billions of dollars of criminal money each year.

Frenkel, who was born in 1971, is the former CEO of VIP Bank. The Russian central bank, where Kozlov headed banking supervision, withdrew VIP Bank's licence in June 2006 for breaking anti-money laundering regulations"


The first total war

David A Bell "To understand the pattern, we need to return to the years in which it started, and recognize that it marked a decisive break from earlier attitudes. Before the late eighteenth century, most Europeans accepted war as an inevitable and ordinary facet of human existence. European rulers saw war as their principal purpose, and waged it constantly. Once the terrible religious conflicts of the Reformation had passed, moreover, warfare became, by historical standards, remarkably moderate and restrained. Armies were small, major battles infrequent (though devastating when they occurred), and civilians relatively well-treated. Most aristocratic military leaders viewed their adversaries as honorable equals.

In the eighteenth century, however, these attitudes were decisively challenged. During the great moment of intellectual ferment we now call the Enlightenment, many thinkers began to argue that human society was steadily evolving towards ever greater levels of peaceful civilization, politeness, and commercial exchange. As an optimistic English clergyman wrote in 1784: "The time is approaching, when the sound of the trumpet, and the alarm of war, will be heard no more throughout the earth." By 1789, these ideas had practically become European conventional wisdom.

Yet paradoxically, when war actually broke out in 1792, these same ideas led directly to the abandonment of the earlier restraints on those that waged it. If warfare was intrinsically barbaric, then one's enemies (on whom the conflict, naturally, was to be blamed) were barbarians, and deserved to be treated as such. Furthermore, if war really was disappearing, then perhaps this one would be, in the words of the commanding French general, "the last war" - the war to end all wars, so to speak. And if that were the case, what means were not justified in order to achieve victory?

Guided by these arguments, the leaders of revolutionary France willingly leapt into the abyss of total war. And ever since, western leaders from Bonaparte to Bush have found it all too easy to present wars of conquest as apocalyptic contests between civilization and darkness. Meanwhile, the earlier regime of restraints has proven difficult to resurrect. It is enough to make us ask if we are really quite as enlightened as we like to think, and if we might not have something to learn from the aristocratic warriors whom the philosophes derided as walking anachronisms."

Analistas e política externa

Um interessante artigo sobre o destino de 4 analistas errados e 4 analistas certos sobre o Iraque. (existe uma regra simples muito liberal para se estar certo e pobre: prever que o pior aconteça quanto maior forem os meios humanos, financeiros e materiais, e do tempo da sua utilização, para qualquer tipo de intervencionismo. Por exemplo, se tivesse sido uma operação de decapitação apenas de Saddam e pouco mais, entrando e saindo em grande velocidade, essa "medida" de intervenção era muito menor, e a probabilidade do ipor acontecer muito menor...).

The Iraq Gamble... It raised interesting questions. Noticing our nation is stuck in an unwinnable war (or two), we wondered if America hasn't stumbled off the meritocratic path...:


Tom Friedman, que tem o hábito de anunciar mais de uma vintena de vezes desde a invasão, que os "próximos 6 meses serão cruciais..."

Peter Beinart: "...editor of the New Republic...The editorial effect of this brand enhancement campaign was an aggressive pro-war stance and sustained attacks by Beinart on war critics for being "blind," "intellectually incoherent," and purveyors of "abject pacifism"—essentially calling them pussies while advancing the manly position that we needed to go war "even without the U.N." One Democratic advisor complained to Beinart: "You're doing Rove's work for him."Analytically though, Beinart is even less astute than Friedman. He swallowed the WMD line and called any other rationale "disingenuous." "

Fareed Zakaria: In State of Denial, Bob Woodward delivers this sparkling scoop: Fareed Zakaria attended a secret gathering convened by Paul Wolfowitz in late 2001. The task at hand, according to a fellow participant, was to draft "a forceful summary of the best pro-war arguments" which became a blueprint for the Bush Administration's PR campaign... Then for 16 months leading up to the invasion, he wrote columns, edited news coverage, and appeared as an analyst on television putatively evaluating those same arguments for his vast audience. Needless to say, Zakaria found the case for war a strong one. His role as confidential advisor to the administration was never mentioned though. And his most priceless bit of public prediction? A scenario for democratic revolution in the Middle East based on the idea that "oil goes to $10 a barrel."

Jeffrey Goldberg: As Judy Miller pursues freelance projects out in Sag Harbor, doggedly accompanied by the rotting corpse of her career, she likely has much time for rumination. And it's tough to imagine these sessions of thought don't sometimes include spleen toward Jeffrey Goldberg. How did she end up getting screwed by Ahmed Chalabi and the neocons— metaphorically, of course—while Goldberg, who also demonstrated a remarkable willingness to channel their war-enabling disinformation, managed to keep both his job and his reputation? It's a tough task to argue that his work was any less influential in the pre-war debate than hers, or that he was any less of a go-to guy for the Rumsfeld gang. For instance, when Doug Feith had a hard-on about launching military action against Arab terrorists in Paraguay, who stepped forward and wrote the scare piece? Now we have a big special-ops base! And when Chalabi wanted to disseminate a dodgy tidbit about Saddam having a secret evil plan to kill 100,000 Israelis in a single day with bioweapons, was it not Goldberg who duly pimped it to the New Yorker's million discerning readers? It was indeed. ...Goldberg floated sketchy theories that the dictator was working closely with Al Qaeda and was so irrationally villainous that he was developing a super-duper WMD from wheat mold that, in the author's words, had "no military value [except] to cause liver cancer, particularly in children."


Robert Scheer: As a liberal columnist for the LA Times, Scheer argued relentlessly against the war, focusing on the dishonesty of the administration's efforts to "frighten the American people into supporting" it and seeking to bypass rational discussion and analysis by making Saddam into a cartoonish "super-villain"—the kind of guy who sacrifices military strategy to give toddlers liver cancer. His work constituted perhaps the most full-throated anti-war voice on the editorial page of a major American newspaper.

Career status: In the
toilet. Fired from the Times in 2005 after a 12-year tenure, his column was handed over to the well-fed and well-connected pro-war conservative, Jonah Goldberg.

William S. Lind: This arch-conservative commentator may have been the most prescient voice in the American media warning against the military dangers facing us in Iraq. His career began as a protégé of America's greatest military strategist, colonel John Boyd, and he has since achieved his own renown in that field. Prior to the war, Lind warned that invading Iraq would be of inherent benefit to both Al Qaeda and Hezbollah. He predicted, "When American forces capture Baghdad and take down Saddam Hussein, the real war will not end but begin ... as an array of non-state elements begin to fight America and each other." Bottom line: "It won't be pretty." He also pointed out that a basic tenet of military theory is that a democracy cannot win any prolonged war if the people are at all uncertain about the reasons for fighting. At that point, prior to the invasion, more than half of Americans thought Saddam had a hand in 9/11.

Career status: Still writing for a small audience. Lind is a contributor to the American Conservative and websites like military.com, counterpunch.com, and antiwar.com. [e ainda Lewrockwell.com].

Jonathan Schell: Covering the Vietnam War for the New Yorker, where he was a staff writer for 20 years, Schell saw how armed conflicts can go awry. Writing for the Nation and Harper's in 2002 and 2003, he made the case—amply supported by history—that any attempt to "impose" democracy from the outside and with an armed occupation is a fundamental error in understanding. As he saw it, all the Friedmans of the world, in love with the audacious experiment of trying to turn Iraq into a beacon of Middle Eastern democracy, were off in the poppies. Democracy, by its nature, must originate with a popular movement, not a bunch of guys in wrap-around shades and Kevlar vests riding in on Abrams tanks. And, lo, the Bush Administration has now leaked the fact that it's considering non-democratic scenarios to try to stabilize Iraq.

Scott Ritter: When world leaders spoke confidently about Saddam's biological and chemical weapons, Ritter was a lonely voice, saying that the arsenals had been destroyed after the first Gulf War. Having spent several years in Iraq as a U.N. inspector, the former marine had experience to support his statements. As we now know, he was correct.

CBC Interviews Jimmy Carter: Palestine, Peace Not Apa..Full


"It was our Jacobin hubris"

Via AnWar: Rod Dreher, author of Crunchy Cons, and a former writer for National Review,:

"It’s frustrating to get e-mails from people on the Left who assume that because I’ve lost faith in the president and the war, I’ve become some sort of liberal, and from people on the Right who believe the same thing. It only shows how distorted the war has made American politics. I’m no more enamored of the Left’s social agenda than I ever was — and my conservatism is primarily social/cultural/religious. Besides, it was realizing how this war and my initial support of it violated conservative principles that I ought to have been defending at its outset that finally turned me.

Chiefly I should have been completely suspicious of the social engineering that the US government set out to do in Iraq. It didn’t work in the Great Society, and there was no reason to believe that it would work in Iraq. You don’t march in and turn a tribal society that follows a fierce religion into a nation of Western-style liberal democrats. A key conservative truth is that the material order rests on the spiritual order. Iraqi society did not have the spiritual or moral wherewithal to become the kind of nation we set out to make them. It was our Jacobin hubris, our prideful belief in our own power, that got us into this mess. There were conservatives warning against this in 2002, but most of us on the Right didn’t want to listen."

Crusade Number Four

Eric Margolis "The US-Ethiopian invasion of Somalia was sparked by last fall’s defeat of corrupt Somali clan warlords. They had recently been armed and financed by the CIA to fight the growing popularity of local Islamists.

The warlords had kept Somalia in turmoil and near anarchy for 15 years. Last year, a group of Muslim jurists and notables, the Union of Islamic Courts, managed to defeat the warlords and impose a rough form of law and order on many parts of chaotic central and southern Somalia. Northern Somalia is ruled by a secessionist government based around the strategic port of Berbera.
The conservative Islamic Courts were sympathetic to pan-Muslim causes. But there is no evidence so far that they were involved in anti-American jihadist movements and had no identifiable links, as Washington claimed, to al-Qaida. Now, Somalis are seething with anger at America, providing yet more volunteers for jihadist operations. In fact, the Christmas US-Ethiopian invasion of Somalia threatens to ignite violence across the Horn of Africa.
A handful of African Al-Qaida suspects in the 1998 bombing of US Embassies in East Africa may have been in Somalia, but going to war against a sovereign nation to try to assassinate or capture a handful of suspects is like using a nuclear weapon to kill a gnat and is sure to generate more anti-US violence. Air strikes by carrier- based US F-18’s and AC-130 gunships killed between 50-100 Somali civilians but, apparently, no al-Qaida suspects. The real aim of the US air attacks was to destroy remaining fighting units of the Islamic Courts and clear the way for the US-imposed Somali figurehead government.

The invasion and occupation of defenseless Somalia is the latest – but probably not the last – example of the increasing militarization of US foreign policy. VP Dick Cheney’s new Pentagon golden-haired boys, Special Operations Command, elbowed aside the humiliated CIA and the feckless State Department and vowed to "drain the Islamic swamp" in Somalia.

Thus begins President George Bush’s fourth war against the Muslim World. Invading dirt-poor Somalia is Bush’s last stab at military glory and a final effort to convince disgruntled American voters the so-called "war on terror" is a success. So also continues Washington’s preference of only invading small nations that cannot offer much initial resistance by conventional forces: Grenada, Panama, Haiti, Afghanistan, Iraq and now Somalia. Afghanistan has only 29 million wretched people; Iraq about 26 million- two thirds of them in rebellion.

The administration is again recklessly charging into a thicket of tribal politics in a remote nation it knows nothing about. US policy in Somalia is being driven by neoconservatives seeking war against the entire Muslim World, and self-serving advice from ally Ethiopia. Israel, which has maintained close intelligence, military, and economic links to Ethiopia’s regime, is also discreetly involved: it has long conducted covert operations in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea’s western littoral.

Eritrea’s 1993 secession took away Ethiopia’s natural access to the sea, leaving it landlocked. Ethiopia’s strategic goals in Somalia may be to seize one or more deep-water ports, turn Somalia into a protectorate, and crush any Islamic movements that might enflame its own voiceless Muslims, who comprise half of Ethiopia’s 73 million people.

America’s attack on Somalia recalls Afghanistan. The US is again blundering into ancient clan and tribal conflicts, using foreign troops and local mercenaries to defend a puppet regime without any popular support. US-Ethiopian intervention in Somalia is certain to re-ignite the murderous clan rivalries that brought it to the current state of anarchy.

Like Afghanistan, Somalia was easy to invade, but may prove very difficult to rule, or eventually leave. Many Somalis saw the now scattered Islamic Courts militias as their best hope for stability and normalcy. Now they are back to zero – or worse.

Like Afghanistan after the US invasion in 2001, Somalis have been slow to oppose invasion. But in time they could mount serious resistance to the new US-Ethiopian condominium over Somalia.

From 1899 to 1930, Somali mujahidin waged a fierce resistance struggle against the British, who killed a third of the native population. In 1954, Britain handed the Somali ethnic region of Ogaden to Ethiopia, thus assuring continued hostility between the two old foes.

Now we have a new war, in a faraway place, could become yet another annoying, intractable headache for the west and yet another incubator of revenge-minded jihadis."


History of War, Mark Twain

"Still, it is true, lamb," said Satan. "Look at you in war -- what mutton you are, and how ridiculous!"

"In war? How?"

"There has never been a just one, never an honorable one -- on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances.

The loud little handful -- as usual -- will shout for the war. The pulpit will -- warily and cautiously -- object -- at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, "It is unjust and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it."

Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity.

Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers -- as earlier -- but do not dare to say so.

And now the whole nation -- pulpit and all -- will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open. Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception."

These excerpts are from chapters eight and nine, which he wrote in London from June through August of 1900 while he was preoccupied with the Boer War in South Africa, the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion in China, and the Philippine-American War. Two months later, in mid-October, Mark Twain returned to the United States and announced himself an anti-imperialist in dockside interviews.



* Ataques na Somália afinal não mataram líderes da Al-Qaeda
Número de vítimas civis poderá chegar a uma centena

* E quem é que se sente tranquilo com:

"NATO afirma que matou 130 taliban no Afeganistão
Exército paquistanês lança ofensiva contra os extremistas perto da fronteira "


Tinhamos o Iraque, o Afeganistão e agora a Somália, "what next"?

Somali Officials Accuse US of Killing 31 Civilians in Air Attacks


Salvar os outros de serem comunistas...

"Both sides in Vietnam talked about staying the course -- the issue is whether they were really ready to do it," Mueller said. As it turned out, the North Vietnamese were willing to accept casualties on a scale virtually unprecedented in the history of combat. Vietnam War-era Secretary of State Dean Rusk once calculated that North Vietnamese losses in the war, when measured as a proportion of population, were the equivalent of the United States losing about 10 million lives. American losses in Vietnam, by that same measure, were 175 times smaller -- but even that was too high.

"There was a breaking point," Mueller concluded. "It was the Americans who broke." Wars Ultimately Measure Tolerance of Pain


A concorrência

China unveils new fighter jet

SHANGHAI, China (AP) -- China on Friday hailed the development of its Jian-10 fighter jet, aircraft engines and air-to-air missiles as a sign it had soared into the top levels of aerospace defense technology.

China "has become the world's fourth country that is capable of developing on its own advanced fighter planes, engines and missiles," Geng Ruguang, deputy general manager of China Aviation Industry Corp., was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.


Um governo (um conjunto de pessoas, vá lá) que não era apoiado nem pelos warlords nem pelos islamitas, pede a um Estado vizinho rival para invar a Somália, depois chega lá e pede ajuda à "comunidade internacional".

Um novo Iraque...e mais um factor de união e desconfiança do islamismo...brilhante

Somali militia attack revives fears of chaos


A indagar

Basque Denial Clouds Role of Militants in Bombing

Pernando Barrena, a leader of Batasuna, ETA’s outlawed political wing, said that there was no proof ETA was responsible and that the group had not issued a statement claiming responsibility, as it usually does. “The political process has not been broken,” he said. The last fatal attack by the separatist group was more than three years ago.

But a caller who had warned authorities before the explosion said he represented ETA.


Como palavra final, Saddam foi decididamente, um Ditador totalitário sim, mas um Ditador totalitário com honra. O pior da sua prisão, julgamento e execução foi ter revelado essa faceta ao seu povo. É assim que os mitos se formam e perduram. Os mitos que sustentam uma nação. Os Sunitas iraquianos ganharam o seu. Parece-me impossível que no longo prazo não formem o seu próprio país, mesmo depois do que é previsível um grande longo inverno de violência. A história é mesmo assim.



Somali Govt to Last for Weeks

Well actually the headline is “Ethiopian army to stay in Somalia for weeks” — but those of us who have paid attention to Somalia over the past few years know what that really means in relation to what the UN has been insisting is Somalia’s government. This “government” consisted of a gaggle of warlords and former communist regime bureaucrats holed up in a Nairobi Hilton — and who were only finally forced to return to Somalia when the hotel finally evicted them out for nonpayment. Even then a few of them just holed themselves up in the southern town of Jowhar, where they were nothing more glamorous than internationally-recognized version of the same thugs that lord over nearly every city in Somalia.
Now that the Ethiopian Army has come to their rescue, the commies and warlords have seized control of the important parts of the country and are now attempting to assert their collective will — naturally the first thing they do is order a
complete disarmament of the entire city without exception.

“Everybody will be disarmed. There will be no sacred cows,” Information Minister Ali Jama Jangali said.

But then tellingly, and not surprisingly, the reporter feels the need to mention:
However, at a collection point seen by Reuters, not one gun had been handed in by midday.
And this is with Ethiopian backup. There is no evidence that many Mogadishans are rooting for the so-called government, at least not one made up of these butchers and gangsters and thieves. The business community —
allowed to flourish over the last 15 years in near-total freedom, at least compared to the rest of Africa — will have a lot of demands that will need to be met if the government is to have anything of value left off which to survive.
So time will prove me right or wrong but I’m willing to bet that within hours of the Ethiopians heading home the
technicals will come a-raiding, and with the support of various Somali civilian factions will butcher and/or expel the self-proclaimed government from the country yet again, as they did in 1991.


Mau demais para ser verdade:

Saddam: The death of a dictator

"The tribunal also had a unique sense of timing when choosing the day for Saddam's hanging. It was a slap in the face to Sunni Arabs. This weekend marks Eid al-Adha, the Holy Day of Sacrifice, on which Muslims commemorate the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son for God. Shiites celebrate it Sunday. Sunnis celebrate it Saturday –- and Iraqi law forbids executing the condemned on a major holiday. Hanging Saddam on Saturday was perceived by Sunni Arabs as the act of a Shiite government that had accepted the Shiite ritual calendar.

The timing also allowed Saddam, in his farewell address to Iraq, to pose as a “sacrifice” for his nation, an explicit reference to Eid al-Adha. The tribunal had given the old secular nationalist the chance to use religious language to play on the sympathies of the whole Iraqi public.

The political ineptitude of the tribunal, from start to finish, was astonishing. The United States and its Iraqi allies basically gave Saddam a platform on which to make himself a martyr to Iraqi unity and independence -- even if by unity and independence Saddam was really appealing to Sunnis' nostalgia for their days of hegemony.

In his farewell address, however, Saddam could not help departing from his national-unity script to take a few last shots at his ethnic rivals. Despite some smarmy language urging Iraqis not to hate the Americans, Saddam denounced the "invaders" and "Persians" who had come into Iraq."

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