pinkasphalt

Month: April 2004 (page 1 of 2)

Loyalty day is coming!

Last year Bush proclaimed May 1st was Loyalty Day. I missed it, but this year I am ready. I wonder if there will be any festivities? Maybe a parade? And I am sure we can come up with some new French food to vilify.

What the Pentagon doesn’t want you to see, Pt II

From the BBC: …Defence officials had banned publicity of the return of bodies from Iraq, but were forced to release images after a freedom-of-information court action. …When the photos began appearing on American websites on Thursday, the Bush administration reacted angrily, reportedly banning any further release of photos to media outlets. Read More

According to the Boston Globe, the photos were released to First Amendment activist Russ Kick, who runs The Memory Hole website. “The Memory Hole exists to preserve and spread material that is in danger of being lost, is hard to find, or is not widely known….The emphasis is on material that exposes things that we’re not supposed to know (or that we’re supposed to forget).” Lots of other interesting reading there, however it seems that site is really slow, presumably due to the attention stemming from the photos.

The New York Times also has an article on this (with several of the pictures), and they note that Among the national television news organizations, only the Fox News Channel had no plans to use any of the photos or explore the issue of why they had been barred from use in the news media, a channel spokesman said. Gotta love Fox News; unbiased reporting at its finest.

I don’t buy the Adminstration’s argument that the ban on these kinds of photos is necessary to protect the families of the dead soldiers. The photos I saw were very solemn and actually show how much care is taken to ensure that the soldiers bodies are treated in the most respectful manner possible. Looking at these pictures I was struck by how many coffins there were and filled with sadness at the thought that each box contained all that remained of someone who was certainly loved and missed. And then I thought of all those boxes making their way into towns across America and the grief of the families awaiting their arrival. And of course then you have to ask yourself it it was worth it. And that is why they don’t want us to see these pictures. An election-year president who has fully committed himself to this war cannot risk having the country decide that no, it isn’t worth it.

The MemoryHole servers appear to still be taking a beating, so I thought I would show a few of the tumbnails I managed to view. They’re in the US Soldiers photo album on the left. All photos are copyright of the United Stated Air Force.

A look at GMail

Google’s controversial new webmail service has been reviewed by one of its beta testers.

The numbers paint the picture

Newsweeks’ calculations:

150,000. The estimated number of all coalition forces in Iraq, of which about 124,000 are Americans and 26,000 are others.

20,000. The number of U.S. troops who are being told this week that they’ll have to stay in Iraq another 90 days, even though they’ve completed their one-year “boots on the ground” deployment.

8,875 to 10,725. The minimum and maximum estimates of the number of Iraqi civilians killed in Iraq so far, according to IraqBodyCount.org, an organization of British and American academics. Other groups have even higher estimates.

3,466. The total of American soldiers wounded in action in Iraq through April 17, 2004, according to the Pentagon. There’s a lot of controversy about these figures, which do not include many minor wounds, although they do include some soldiers who are wounded and returned to duty. Other estimates of wounded American soldiers range as high as 15,000.

Read more.

On an aside, I was wondering today, have we heard any news about Saddam since he was captured? Where are they holding him? What is he being charged with? Is he cooperating? Hmm…

What the Pentagon doesn’t want you to see

From Salon again:

As the Pentagon planned the Iraq invasion, it issued this directive, aimed at controlling the disturbing images of war: “There will be no arrival ceremonies for, or media coverage of, deceased military personnel returning to or departing from Ramstein (Germany) airbase or Dover (Del.) base, (and) to include interim stops.”

Read more.

Turning into Israel?

For those of you with access to Salon’s premium content, or if you don’t mind sitting through some advertising for a one-day pass, Salon has an interesting article that talks about linkages between recent events in Iraq and Israel.

… The fuse ran from Gaza to Iraq, and ignited in Fallujah. … The group that killed the four American civilian security guards in Sunni Arab Fallujah on March 31 identified itself as “Phalanges of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin,” calling the grisly killings a “gift to the Palestinian people.” …

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