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June 08, 2006

Comments

This is unabashedly, unambiguously, and uncontroverably good news.

Yes, because as Israel found out, when you kill a terrorist leader, you end terrorism.

It's an interesting point, isn't it? Back in 2002, the Bush administration looked on Zarqawi's presence in Iraq as unabashedly, unambiguously good news - as Fred on Slacktivist pointed out. Zarqawi was a good excuse for war. (Never mind that Zarqawi was in the "no-fly zone", where Saddam Hussein had no effective power, and the US could have killed Zarqawi with an airstrike four years ago - but that would have done away with their excuse.)

Perhaps it's true he's dead. Perhaps he's not. He is responsible for many, many civilian deaths in Iraq, and I'm not sorry if he is as dead as reported. Of course, he didn't kill nearly as many people as this guy...

Just plain good news. I agree that it won't solve the underlying problems, but lots of things can be good news without solving everything.

There were TWO milestones achieved today, but the second one we've heard little about, but it should be worthy of an update:

The prime minister's naming of candidates to the remaining unfilled Cabinet posts just a short time later -- while less dramatic -- was no less a good omen.

Parliament promptly approved the names -- a far cry from its earlier reluctance to even meet to consider al-Maliki's proposals to run the army and national police. That stalemate had dragged on for weeks because of a Shi'ite-Sunni-Kurdish inability to agree on who was acceptable.

With those posts now filled, al-Maliki can presumably turn to the still-overwhelming tasks ahead -- including reining in militias, and getting his Iraqi forces trained and cohesive enough to slowly take over from the US military.

We've turned the corner with this important milestone. While there is still much hard work ahead, this crucial watershed will mark the moment that the Iraq war turned the corner.

Oh, almost forgot. The next six months will be crucial.

Everyone keep their eyes open for leftwingers and liberals showing insufficient enthusiasm about this, okay?

Am I the only one who remembers the stories from April where it was admitted the military had deliberately played up Zarqawi's importance?

I'll repeat my comment from the thread below:

Congratulations to President Bush on making Zarqawi one of the most successful terrorists in history and then killing him.

Hilzoy: Just plain good news. I agree that it won't solve the underlying problems, but lots of things can be good news without solving everything.

That's a much more charitable response than mine. It's also unabashedly, unambiguously, and uncontroverably good news that Riverbend is still alive and blogging, and I'm sure we could all come up with more items of unabashedly, unambiguously, and uncontroverably good news from Iraq. None of them actually change the fact that the situation in Iraq is unabashedly, unambiguously, and uncontroverably grim, but hey, let's look for the happy moments.

but it should be worthy of an update

Better than an update; a second front page article. Feel free to add to it, Charles.

It's my bad for cut-and-pasting with sarcasm and without spellchecking, but, Von - uncontrovertibly?

mission accomplished - we got haditha out of the news cycle

von, you mean per se, not ipso facto.

None of them actually change the fact that the situation in Iraq is unabashedly, unambiguously, and uncontroverably grim, but hey, let's look for the happy moments.

If you're looking for something that will turn Iraq into Norway overnight you are destined for disappointment. Steps in the right direction ought to be welcomed.

It's my bad for cut-and-pasting with sarcasm and without spellchecking, but, Von - uncontrovertibly?

Whoops. I'll correct.

von, you mean per se, not ipso facto.

No, I mean ipso facto. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipso_facto.)

"Ipso facto is a Latin phrase, directly translated as by that very fact (as in therefore...)."

Per se may also be applicable, but that doesn't mean that ipso facto is inapplicable.

If you're looking for something that will turn Iraq into Norway overnight you are destined for disappointment. Steps in the right direction ought to be welcomed.

*sarcasm on* Nuclear winter?

Really, who has killed more innocent by-standers in Iraq?

The United States government or Al-Queda?

spartikus: Am I the only one...?

Oh, sparti, that's so two months ago!

If Iraq turned into Norway overnight it make global warming look a little silly, but that is a different problem I suppose. :)

Or have Rumsfeld's stupidity and Bush's incoherence -- coupled to opportunistic Democratic attacks, natch -- robbed this war of the public support it so desperately requires?

Never mind that the biggest drop in public support for the war came from Feb through July 2005, when you couldn't buy a Democratic "attack". Then came Camp Casey and Katrina, to finish the job.

mission accomplished - we got haditha out of the news cycle

I expect the investigation to be finished and the report issued before the end of the day.

But it may be that this particular moral victory can be used to get some tract on some of the seemingly intractable problems -- e.g., the perceived ineffectiveness of the state.

The perceived ineffectiveness?

The main problem with the Iraqi government is that it is ineffective. It is not a problem of "perception".

I am reminded of Abbie Hoffman's remark that if, as a fugitive, you find your name placed on the FBI's Most Wanted list, it means someone close to you has given you up and arrest is imminent: they only publicize you as a prelude to a dramatic arrest.

Gosh, I'm thrilled a murderous scumbag got killed. Better yet, it's not a prominent American official, past or present, so it's not in bad taste to dance a jig in public. If anything, it's morally and socially obligatory.

Other than providing yet another excuse for the media to prove its "balance" by pretending this is going to make a difference, I don't think it matters much.

The main problem with the Iraqi government is that it is ineffective. It is not a problem of "perception".

Uhh huh. And, as I wrote, "Zarqawi's death does not ipso facto resolve the various structural defects that have plagued our war and reconstruction effort." Zarqawi's death will also not ipso facto resolve the structural defects in Iraq's governemnt. But it does increase the perceived effectiveness of the government, which translates in greater political power for the current Iraqi leadership, which assists them in taking corrective action and making real changes.

Zarqawi's death does not itself change the government. But it may be used as a tool to improve things.

. But it does increase the perceived effectiveness of the government

How does it do that?

I know I've been consistently sarcastic up till now in this thread, but please see me taking my sarcastic hat off: this is an honest question, because to be honest, I assumed you were just doing the "bad person dead! oh good!" dance.

Zarqawi was a terrorist: but, as I pointed out sarkily upthread, killing one terrorist never ends terrorism. Iraq is a country in which terrorists can safely operate: there will be terrorists, there will be terrorism, and there will continue to be nothing effective either the US military occupation or the Iraqi government can do about it.

Zarqawi was not killed by the Iraqi government: he was killed by a US military airstrike. That the US military can do airstrikes and kill people is, we gather, taken for granted as a fact of death in Iraq: that the Iraqi government cannot is also a fact.

On what basis do you believe that Zarqawi's death will in any way increase the perceived effectiveness of the Iraqi government? How could it? It's not as if it will end or even diminish terrorism in Iraq: it's not as if the Iraqi government had anything to do with killing him: it's not as if he was captured and can be tried by the Iraqi government's nascent judicial system.

"Iraq is a country in which terrorists can safely operate"

That is why killing Zarqawi is a good step. It shows that terrorists have some trouble operating safely.

We already know that terrorists and insurgents (not always the same thing) can't operate safely in Iraq. They die all the time. The Brookings Institute puts out statistics on this--last time I looked, in early May, the number of insurgents killed or captured was supposedly over 60,000 since the war began.

Whether that number is right I don't know, but I assume the US troops are over there doing something besides taking casualties.

Zarqawi was a terrorist: but, as I pointed out sarkily upthread, killing one terrorist never ends terrorism.

Killing a terrorist leader (for that is what Zarqawi was) certainly will not end terrorism. A decapitation strike, however, is not without benefits. It may profoundly disrupt the particular terrorist organization, serve a setback to recruitment efforts, and make future operations less effective and organized.

Terrorism is a tactic, but it is a tactic that is employed by groups of individuals. Those individuals must be directed, prepared, and inspired -- that is, they must be led. Kill the leaders and you will probably get replacements, but those replacements are almost by definition second tier candidates. Kill the person who has become the face of terrorism in Iraq, and you have also achieved a significant symbolic victory -- in addition to the practical consequences.

As for the new Iraqi government: The fact that the airstrike was by the US has surely been noticed. But US success inures to the benefit of the Iraq government so long as the US is in theatre, and Iraq's PM is doing an effective job of claiming the credit. Moreover, the removal of a key opposition figure (and I use that term loosely) can only strengthen the hand of the government. There is now one less alternative for the homicidally-inclined to "vote" for.

It may profoundly disrupt the particular terrorist organization, serve a setback to recruitment efforts, and make future operations less effective and organized.

What makes you think that? I can think of literally no example of any instance where a terrorist organization has suffered any apparent setback because a leader has been killed: in every instance I can think of, killing the leader lends his followers new fury. I can, of course, think of claims made by governments that a terrorist leader had to be killed - Israel is constantly making such claims - but no instance where the government could show that claim to be justified by any reduction in terrorism following the assassination. What particular instance are you thinking of?

But US success inures to the benefit of the Iraq government so long as the US is in theatre

Hardly. All the parties which put forward candidates for election and were successful had as part of their platform, getting the US military occupation out of Iraq. The more active the US military occupation is, the less good the Iraqi government looks - especially when they behave (as the Iraqi PM apparently is) as if the US military is acting for the government's benefit. This is not what they were elected for: insofar as that matters in Iraq today, it's hardly going to make them a more popular government.

some random thoughts:

1. i wonder if we're better off with him dead or captured. surely there is some interrogation team on the planet that could have obtained useful information from him.

2. on the other hand, dropping a 500 lb bomb on his head has a finality to it that must be very satisfying to the families of his victims.

3. the fact that this is being touted as such a major symbolic victory for the US / Iraqis is a pretty clear sign just how badly off we are. from what i've read, while he may have helped start the civil war, the war is now entirely self-supporting. Z. was apparently responsible for only about 15% of the current violence in Iraq.

4. That the US apparently found him due to a tip from his own senior staff suggests to me that iraqi insurgents / terrorists / sunni rejectionists may have decided that Z had outlived his usefulness. That, or $25 million (plus, i bet, relocation to some place safe) can be very persuasive.

5. i'm not sorry he's dead, but i worry that his death will be over-touted while the structural problems remain unresolved. this reminds me a little of our Somalia adventure when the capture of one warlord (later killed by other warlords) was going to end the fighting.

And once again, the White House says we're turning the tide in Iraq. Bush just can't help himself, can he?

Speaking of Somalia, it appears that jihadists may have a new safe-country to replace Afghanistan now. Good job Bush! Good job UN! Way to avoid having those failing states become something even more dangerous.

I think you forget that the worse terrorist sponsoring states are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and many other Arab countries run by monarchs.

They are hardly failed states and are always ready to fund soldiers.

Speaking of Somalia, it appears that jihadists may have a new safe-country to replace Afghanistan now.

minor correction: safe-country in addition to Afghanistan - and Iraq, of course.

Bit hard to blame the UN for failing to rein Bush in: how was the UN supposed to stop Bush, in your view?

Bit hard to blame the UN for failing to rein Bush in: how was the UN supposed to stop Bush, in your view?

Is the UN supposed to be deciding who gets to govern which country now? I thought that the standard US conservative view was that the UN should have less say-so in this regard, not more.

Oh sorry, that last comment of mire was directed at Seb, not Jes.


4. That the US apparently found him due to a tip from his own senior staff suggests to me that iraqi insurgents / terrorists / sunni rejectionists may have decided that Z had outlived his usefulness. That, or $25 million (plus, i bet, relocation to some place safe) can be very persuasive.

It seems that the Al Qaeda leadership may be among the celebrants of this event. They have been showing signs of unhappiness with Zarqawi's tactics for some time now. Considering that he was apparently betrayed by people within his own organization, you have to wonder whose victory this will turn out to be when all is said and done.

Yeah, probably just a consequence of that vid where he couldn't handle the gun properly. And maybe those shoes he was wearing. ;)

Interesting metaphor at Mark Kleiman's group blog.

I was noting separate failures--Bush and the UN--enough blame to go around for everyone.

An interesting article on why Zarqawi still had a recognizable face after the bombing. Perhaps this will allay concerns by conspiracy theorists. Or not.

An interesting article on why Zarqawi still had a recognizable face after the bombing.

While by profession, I am a software programmer, I'm also an industrial first aid attendant. During testing, the scenario everyone hopes for is amputation, which is easy to deal with. The one everyone dreads is blast victims, because everything is wrong. You have airway blockages, broken bones, spinal injury, shock, external and internal burns, severe puncture wounds, and multiple trauma. Very, very nasty.

Perhaps this will allay concerns by conspiracy theorists.

There's a conspiracy?

Sebastian: I was noting separate failures--Bush and the UN--enough blame to go around for everyone.

That's certainly true, and I should have taken that from your comment. Apologies: I misread, and I can't say the misreading was justified.

just to be a grouch, i suspect that the blast impacts from US aerial bombings are very similar to the ones described in the link associated with car bombs.

There's a conspiracy?

I mentioned conspiracy theorists, not conspiracies.

Charles, I'm not trying to jump on you here, but, as spartikus suggests, your comment implied that there was a conspiracy theory floating around. Now, I'm sure, given the state of the world today, there is someone somewhere thinking that Zarqawi meets with Cheney and Bush every 4th tuesday and because they needed a new face, Zarqawi's death was faked so that he could take a break. But it's loose rhetoric to make the implication, because I would assume that the only ones you imagine creating such a theory would be on the left (presumably because they couldn't accept the good news that Zarqawi was dead) which therefore suggests that the left is unhinged. You may feel that this is over analysis, but your suggesting that there are conspiracy theorists churning out these sorts of scenarios seems like a rhetorical pre-emptive strike.

Well, in CB's defense I know I've seen online today a conspiracy theory, or anyway an embryonic conspiracy theory involving the fact that Zarqawi's face was intact after an air strike. Or I suppose it was--I haven't actually paid much attention to this story today, since my tolerance for jingoistic media cheerleading is on the low side these days and rightly or wrongly, that's what I'd expect from TV news reports. Anyway, the idea seems to be that there is something deeply suspicious about the fact that his face is recognizable. Not knowing anything about the vagaries of bomb blasts and what they do to human bodies, I have no opinion on the subject.

Google on "barotrauma" along with some other discriminator (possibly detonation or explosive) and you'll get quite a lot of links that refer to fatalities without much external damage. here, for example.

The eXile's War Nerd's take on Zarqawi.

Interesting. I don't agree with it all, but it isn't too far fetched.

Surely someone - anyone - can link to this conspiracy theory?

Interesting. I don't agree with it all, but it isn't too far fetched.

That may be the smartest thing I've yet read about the insurgency -- and the most depressing.

So, where will the Al CIAda send the severance cheque?

Killing a terrorist leader (for that is what Zarqawi was) certainly will not end terrorism. A decapitation strike, however, is not without benefits. It may profoundly disrupt the particular terrorist organization, serve a setback to recruitment efforts, and make future operations less effective and organized.

Wow, given that, I wonder if there are any other terrorist leaders walking around today that perhaps we are or should have been pursuing with equal tenacity?

Surely someone - anyone - can link to this conspiracy theory?

I'm getting the idea that the comment about conspiracy theorists (who, funnily enough, talk about conspiracies) was made about a conspiracy theory -> from the future!!

Can replies to comments from the future be far behind?

Thanks Slarti. I think. I may or may not want to read about barotrauma today.

Well, I've seen hints of a Zarqawi intact face conspiracy in the forum section at medialens, a far-left British media watchdog group. Medialens itself (which is basically a blog with two writers and a techie adviser) hasn't made any claims about this, but a couple of the regulars have talked about their suspicions concerning the fact that Zarqawi's face was intact. No details on the conspiracy that I've seen--if it gets fleshed out I may let you know. If I care. Which so far I don't.

I haven't checked, but past experience enables me to predict that you could probably go to Moon of Alabama (the independent comment section for Billmon's blog, to which he used to link until he got p*ssed off by some of the criticism aimed at him) and find a conspiracy theory about this before too long in the comments section, if it's not already happened. There's some good stuff at MoA and a fair amount of silliness.

Wow, given that, I wonder if there are any other terrorist leaders walking around today that perhaps we are or should have been pursuing with equal tenacity?

What, you mean Osama bin Laden wasn't the president of Iraq?

From CNN Breaking News:

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was alive when U.S. troops reached him after the U.S. bombing raid, but died "almost immediately" after, Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said.

Oops.

Oops.

A scene from The Fifth Element (if he moves, shoot him) comes to mind. Probably for no reason, but the extent to which I amuse my own self is staggering, sometimes.

I'm a little late to this discussion, but am I the only person here who sees this as a good thing only in a limited sense - in that OK, yes, he was a bad guy who can no longer do bad things, but that it would have been much better still to have caught him and had him tried and convicted (before killing him, if you really really must)? After all, most people don't get giddy with the same excitement when other criminals are killed in the process of capture - there's usually a sense of the tragedy of the event, even when there is little doubt about what the outcome of a trial would have been (as is surely true of Zarqawi).

Lots of people seem to be celebrating what is, after all, either an assassination or a state-sanctioned killing, and celebrating his death too energetically seems to me to imply an acceptance of abandoning due process, at the very least. I would have thought that this would be a path we should want to think very carefully about before we set off down it as a matter of state policy (see Guantanamo Bay etc).

I'm not arguing that the world is better off without Zarqawi in it, nor that the action taken by US forces was wrong in any way. But surely we're talking about a least bad outcome, rather than a party-worthy lollapalooza-type thing.

"but that it would have been much better still to have caught him and had him tried and convicted (before killing him, if you really really must)?"

Not necessarily. Inspiring attacks from jail (and the annoying capturing people and offering to 'exchange prisoners') is much easier than doing so when you are dead.

Andrew: my normal reaction to anyone's death involves some sense of sorrow. In Zarqawi's case, it's muted by the videotape of Nicholas Berg's death, which I did not watch but read a number of descriptions of (which is why I didn't watch it), and enlivened only by the thought of our possibly getting information from him, and then muted again by the thought of the means this administration might have felt justified in using. Which is to say: it ends up in the same rather theoretical domain as my fairly rarefied regret about the death of Jeffrey Dahmer, which requires several readings of John Donne's 'No man is an island' sermon to be perceptible.

NPR covered this story with various interviews, including one about how Zarqawi's stature was largely the result of US (and in particular Powell) marketing efforts. It was a case of a thug needing not only a religious conversion but also a good agent. Without a high level Al Quada terrorist in Iraq, the rationale for an invasion lacked some continuity with 9/11.

Andrew: I'm not arguing that the world is better off without Zarqawi in it, nor that the action taken by US forces was wrong in any way. But surely we're talking about a least bad outcome, rather than a party-worthy lollapalooza-type thing.

Quite.

And, the "action by US forces" was only "not wrong in any way" because (reportedly) the only people killed were Zarqawi, who had outlived his usefulness to the US, and about a dozen of his people. The problem with using airstrikes as a means of assassination is that airstrikes frequently take out the people right next to the person targetted, too. And while everyone wants to believe (I do myself) that everyone in the house with Zarqawi was also a terrorist, if that's so, it's pure luck on the US military's part - and good fortune that the airstrike didn't go wrong and hit the house next door.

Michael Berg:

When Nick was killed, I felt that I had nothing left to lose. I'm a pacifist, so I wasn't going out murdering people. But I am -- was not a risk-taking person, and yet now I've done things that have endangered me tremendously.

I've been shot at. I've been showed horrible pictures. I've been called all kinds of names and threatened by all kinds of people, and yet I feel that I have nothing left to lose, so I do those things.

Now, take someone who in 1991, who maybe had their family killed by an American bomb, their support system whisked away from them, someone who, instead of being 59, as I was when Nick died, was 5-years-old or 10-years-old. And then if I were that person, might I not learn how to fly a plane into a building or strap a bag of bombs to my back?

That's what is happening every time we kill an Iraqi, every time we kill anyone, we are creating a large number of people who are going to want vengeance. And, you know, when are we ever going to learn that that doesn't work?

That's what is happening every time we kill an Iraqi, every time we kill anyone, we are creating a large number of people who are going to want vengeance.

I have no doubt that GWB has no understanding of this whatsoever.

"T'S LIKELY THAT most have heard by now that...."

I'd just like to say that, indeed, I wrote about it at 1:52 a.m. that night.

Pity most of you weren't reading me to hear then.

:-)

Ugh: I have no doubt that GWB has no understanding of this whatsoever.

I disagree: After all, this is the guy who tried to kill my dad."

Jes, have you seen how the wingnuts have reacted to that one?

That link doesn't work, Phil, but I assume it's the same they've been saying for years: that Michael Berg is either insane or a traitor or a Christian.

Oh, wait: they never think of the last one. That's just me.

Try roy edroso's recap, Jes.

Hilzoy: "Which is to say: it ends up in the same rather theoretical domain as my fairly rarefied regret about the death of Jeffrey Dahmer, which requires several readings of John Donne's 'No man is an island' sermon to be perceptible."

This isn't quite what I was getting at, but rather than try to explain I'll point to a newish post by Hume's Ghost over Glenn Greenwald's place, because it says what I was trying to say far better than I can.

(Sorry about the lack of link - I'm not terribly geeky, so if someone can point to where I can learn how to put them in I'd be happy to do so.)

Andrew:

<a href="%YOURLINKHERE">textytextytext (with spaces too if you like!)</a>

where %YOURLINKHERE is the URL you're linking to.

And wow, TypePad appears to have fixed the bug with preview and the '<' symbol; sweet!

Anarch - thanks.

Here is the link to the post I mentioned (for courtesy, and to see if I've got this right)

I'm a complete moron when it comes to interpreting the instructions on making links--I look at Anarch's example and I'm clueless. I'm not asking for further instructions--just offering up an excuse why I never post links. There are, btw, some ways in which I am not a complete moron. Perhaps there is some obscure learning disability involved, but I prefer the "complete moron" theory.

Jes, at least one of the people killed in the airstrike was a child. The military (General Caldwell, I think) explained the decision to bomb Zarqawi rather than capture him on the grounds a capture attempt might have cost American lives with no guarantee of success. Reasonable, though it suggests they didn't think Zarqawi had any intelligence worth the sacrifice of soldiers, though he was important enough to kill even if a few civilians also died.

The conspiracy theory about Zarqawi's torso has made it into the NYT today. Here's the most interesting quote (link not given for reasons cited above--

"Chief among them was how Mr. Zarqawi...could have survived for even a few moments after the attack as American officials say he did, when everything around him was obliterated. Concrete blocks, walls, tin cans, palm trees, a washing machine: everything at Hibhib scene was shredded or blown to pieces. It seemed puzzling too, given the destruction and the condition of other bodies, how Mr. Zarqawi's head and upper body...could have remained largely intact."


Well, well, well. I take back my sneering superior tone at the conspiracy theorists. Sometimes the desire to bash people to one's left to establish moderate street cred overcomes me.

Of course, that said, I don't know that this isn't some weird byproduct of the physics of shock waves, nor do I have any particular conspiracy to propose. But the probability that the US government is lying about something (always fairly high unless telling the truth would benefit them more) does seem greater to me today than it did yesterday.

On a vaguely related topic, my nominee for The Worst Headline Ever, currently being displayed on the BBC News homepage:

Guantanamo suicides a 'PR move'

Donald: Jes, at least one of the people killed in the airstrike was a child.

Fuck.

That fact was not considered important enough to mention in any of three news stories I read reporting on Zarqawi's death - which says something about the media, doesn't it?

Reasonable, though it suggests they didn't think Zarqawi had any intelligence worth the sacrifice of soldiers, though he was important enough to kill even if a few civilians also died.

But they were just Iraqis, not real people. As we know from the years of US military occupation: the US military regards Iraqi civilians as expendable if their certain death can minimize any risk to American soldiers.

Anarch: worse than 'Guantanamo suicides 'acts of war''?

*blinks*

Wow, the competition's really intense, isn't it?

Although, these two grafs have got to be a joke, right?

The suicides of three detainees at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, amount to acts of war, the US military says.

The camp commander said the two Saudis and a Yemeni were "committed" and had killed themselves in "an act of asymmetric warfare waged against us".

I mean... right? Seriously? This can't be real, can it?

Donald, I'm offering these tips on putting in a link in the hopes that you'll provide one to an article that reports on who was killed in the house where Zarqawi was found. I don't want to search around right now.

HTML tags -- italic, bold, blockquote, etc. -- are deployed in pairs, at the beginning and end of the text you want to give the desired effect. The tags are enclosed in pointy brackets (which I'm illustrating here with square brackets because pointy ones often don't display correctly as text), and the closing tag is the beginning tag preceded by a slash. For example, the opening tag for italics is [i]; the closing tag is [/i]; bold= [b],[/b]; indented text = [blockquote],[/blockquote].

A link is just a special case, with the opening tag being [a href=""] and the closing tag being [/a]. The url you're linking to (full url, including the http:// beginning) goes in between the quote marks. The clickable text that will show up goes in between the two tags.

[a href=""]clickable text[/a]

So, if I were to replace the square brackets with pointy ones in the example below:

[a href="http://alovelypromise.blogspot.com"]my blog[/a]

It would come out like this:

my blog

Here endeth the lesson.

The full quote from camp commander Rear Admiral Harris is even more damning:

"They are smart. They are creative, they are committed," he said.

"They have no regard for life, either ours or their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us."

Gawd, the only way to make that BBC headline tolerable is to think of Woody Allen's line about the bully who picked on him as a little kid and how Allen used to pummel the bully's fists with his face and mouth. It seems like sarcastic humor is all that is left.

While of course Bush lies like he breathes, that paragraph at the end of the BBC story:

On Friday, Mr Bush said he would "like to end Guantanamo", adding he believed the inmates "ought to be tried in courts here in the United States".
If this statement was achieved by those men's suicides, perhaps they didn't die in vain. Prior to this, I believe all public statements by the Bush administration about the Guantanamo Bay prisoners have been on pure Sergeant Shrift lines: "Guilty, guilty, guilty. Sentenced to six million years!"

Jes, I'm afraid that Bush, who believes words mean what he wants them to mean, is referring to the military tribunals when he talks about "tried in courts here in the United States." Either that, or it's one hell of an unusual amicus intervention, just weeks before the Hamdan decision...

I'd read that, matttbastard, but I've heard similar enough things that it didn't really register. At least, didn't register from under the wincing tic I'd acquired from reading those opening paragraphs...

I don't know whether to assume that statement is amazingly dishonest, amazingly clueless, or both, but the very last thing I would assume is that it'll mean any change in US policy.

Forget civilian courts--they've charged a grand total of ten before the military commissions! And they have no plans to ever charge the vast majority of the rest; they've said as much.

Nell: Jes, I'm afraid that Bush, who believes words mean what he wants them to mean, is referring to the military tribunals when he talks about "tried in courts here in the United States."

Oh, I believe that. But even military tribunals, ending in sentencing or release, even though we can assume that the tribunals will be stacked against the defendants, would be an improvement over burial for life with torture in America's gulag.

Here's the L.A. Times story where the child's killing is confirmed:

[Maj. Gen. Caldwell] also confirmed that a girl between 5 and 7 years old had died in the bombing. Two unidentified women and one man were also killed in addition to Zarqawi and his spiritual advisor, Sheik Abdel Rashid Rahman, Caldwell said. U.S. officials at first had said that Zarqawi and at least five others had died, including a woman and a child, but then changed to say that seven people had died, none of them children.

The military has revised several other details of the bombing and its aftermath.

In case anyone's still interested, the autopsy results. I'm sure there'll be more detail later.

Ah, CNN delivers.

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