International Cat Speculators Since 2006

Archive for the ‘War’ Category


Nice to see Maori TV playing Reach for the Sky on ANZAC day.

But while watching the clipped “righto chaps!” accents of 1950’s England, I couldn’t help but think that this was a slight deviation from what the Chanel was originally setup for!

It’s quite a story though, and a pity the movie has to gloss over so much. The book mentions that he was able to get dressed faster than any other pilot because he simply strapped on his legs and pulled up his trousers – no bothering with shoes and socks, since he never had to remove them!

Classic lines though – the phrase “we’ve not got a leg to stand on” is used in a quite literal sense! Also love the classic dialog when Bader stirs the pot because he can’t get spares and tools for his planes.

Bader: [Spotting the Base Commander] I was just on my way to find you, Sir. We’ve been unable to get replacement spares and tools, so I’ve sent this signal of to Group. ‘242 Squadron fully operational as regards pilots, but non-operational, repeat, non-operational as regards equipment’
Bader’s 242 Squadron Base Commander: [Taking the signal form from Bader and reading it] You know, you just can’t do this!
Bader: Well, I’ve done it, Sir.
Bader’s 242 Squadron Base Commander: There’ll be an awful row at Group.
Bader: There’ll be an awful row at Fighter Command. I sent them a copy too!
Bader’s 242 Squadron Base Commander: Well, I can see your squadron will either be getting new equipment or a new C.O. I wouldn’t like to bet on which!


John Yoo – *The* video to watch if you’re interested in the War on Terror

John Yoo was the lawyer who wrote the so-called “Terror Memos”.

John Stewart interviewed him recently, you can see the first part of the interview here.

Well worth watching.  John Stewart puts all the liberal lines to him and he explains patiently (and with fine humour) what he did, and why it was needed as well as the flaws in Jon’s (and by extension, the entire left) reasoning/logic/political talking points.

It’s nice to see someone intelligent being given the chance to calmly respond to the more childish aspects of the anti-war crowd without the childishness overwhelming the conversation.

Shock – Foreign Policy shouldn’t be written by 5 year olds!

Seems that the Obama administration’s “let’s talk about our problems” approach to Iran hasn’t worked yet.

Shocking, I know.

It’s this sort of thing that is going to change the way history regards the Bush administration. Bush scared Libya out of it’s WMD, while under Obama Iran is making major strides towards acquiring nuclear weapons.

Are more Iraqis today thanks to Bush?

Update: See video below

Here’s something interesting.

The Iraqi Government has finally tallied how many people died since the invasion/liberation. It turns out that the number is far, far less than the discredited Lancet study (surprise surprise!).

The Iraqi government reported today that 85,000 Iraqis were killed between 2004 and 2008. This was the government’s first official tally released since the war began in 2003.

Here’s the graphic.

So the “Iraq Body Count” website is in the ballpark, but missed quite a few – not surprising.

But what’s more interesting, is the idea that this might actually be a reduction on what would otherwise have happened.

Compare this to Saddam Hussein’s reign. From July 16, 1979 to April 9, 2003 and focusing on just six war crime events listed by US War Crimes Ambassador David J. Scheffer, there were an estimated 865,000 Iraqi deaths over 285 months – a rate of 3,035.1 deaths per month.

And compare to the Bill Clinton-era embargo that followed: From Aug 6, 1990 to Aug 6, 1999 the United Nations estimated one million Iraqi civilians died over 108 months as a result of the sanctions – a rate of 9,259.3 deaths per month.

Thus, Saddam Hussein’s death rate was 2.33 times greater than Bush’s. Clinton’s death rate was 7.1 times greater than Bush’s.

So if Bush’s invasion had not ended both Saddam’s rule and the embargo, we can estimate that from the period of 1 January 2004 to 31 August 2009, a total of 206,387 + 629,632 = 836,019 Iraqis would have died.

Taken against the actual figure of just 88,739 deaths during that period, we can determine that 747,280 fewer Iraqi lives have been lost due to ‘Bush’s war of aggression’.

Who’d have thunk it?

Don’t expect to see these numbers on any left-wing sites of course. That might make GWB look good, and we can’t have that.

Update: This video helps put some context.

Remember, the choice was to continue the sanctions, or go to war. Clinton chose sanctions, Bush chose war.

I’m with Bush on this one. He made the right call.

Who Dropped Nukes?

Saw this yesterday.

Hugo Chavez wants the US to apologize to Japan.
Iran Press TV reported, via LGF:

The US is “the planet’s number one nuclear power. It is also the only country in the world that dropped the atomic bomb,” Chavez said.

“At any rate, I think America should apologize to Japan.”

Maybe – it depends on what you define “dropped” as.

Most people would define it as deliberatly dropping a bomb on an army or civilian population.

Sadly for Chavez, he overlooked this little experiement from those lovely persuers of equality – the USSR.

A conference earlier this month in Orenburg on the medical and environmental impacts of the Totsk explosion heard that the region’s population suffers shorter life expectancy and a death rate 1.8 times higher than in other similar areas, a high infant mortality and a high rate of physical retardation in children.

The incidence and type of genetic disorders in adults and children are similar to those seen in the Russian Bryansk region, downwind of the 1986 explosion at Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

The 1954 experiment was kept secret for many years. Those involved had to sign documents undertaking not to speak about it for 25 years. Some 45,000 troops took part. They were dressed only in their uniforms, rubber boots and masks to watch a 40 kiloton atomic bomb explode nearby 350 metres above their heads.

They then embarked on several hours of war games as two “opposing armies”. The aim was to see how men and equipment coped under conditions of nuclear attack. Today less than one percent of these men are still alive and those who remain are ill.

The test was not at one of the main tests sites but in the Arinbuk region of Totsk in the southern Urals. It was watched — from a safe distance — by leaders from other East bloc countries.

“We were nothing more than guinea pigs,” says Shamed Shaimikhamedov, of the Committee for Special Risk Veterans which was set up in 1991 . “Most of us were in the open without any kind of shelter.”

Lovely people, those Soviets – try getting an appology from them.

Your Sherlock Holmes moment…

I was watching TV last night.

There was some idiotic program about men and women being different. yawn. Turn off…

“Relationships are nothing new in New Zealand…”

Clearly someone who’s done their homework.

Obama Changing a lot Less than You’d Think

Obama says he’s going to restore America’s place in the world. It doesn’t sound like his plan for Gitmo is going to do that.

Mr Obama, who is due to be inaugurated as US president on 20 January, has repeatedly promised to close the camp, where some 250 inmates remain.

Well, even Bush wanted to close it.

President Bush said today that he would like to close down the Guantanamo Bay prison camp on Cuba, but for the fact that some of the terror suspects held there were too “darned dangerous” to release.

Speaking at a press conference in the White House Rose Garden the day after returning from a surprise trip to Baghdad, Mr Bush said that he realised the detention centre was an “excuse” for critics to claim that American was guilty of hypocrisy over its core values.

“I’d like to close Guantanamo,” Mr Bush said. “But I also recognise that we’re holding some people that are darned dangerous, and that we’d better have a plan to deal with them in our courts.

So what is Obama going to do?

The signing of the order is unlikely to be followed by immediate closure.

On Sunday, Mr Obama indicated that closing Guantanamo was a “challenge” and would take time.

“It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realise,” Mr Obama told the ABC TV network.

“We’re going to get it done, but part of the challenge that you have is that you have got a bunch of folks that have been detained, many of whom may be very dangerous, who have not been put on trial or have not gone through some adjudication.”

I have no doubt that Obama will be different, but let’s not pretend that he’s just going to thrown open the gates. Remember: even Bush released many detainees, even (unfortunately) people committed to terrorism as witnessed by their returning to the fight.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said 18 former detainees are confirmed as “returning to the fight” and 43 are suspected of having done in a report issued late in December by the Defense Intelligence Agency.

But he’s going to end torture, right?

“President-elect Barack Obama is preparing to prohibit the use of waterboarding and harsh interrogation techniques by ordering the CIA to follow military rules for questioning prisoners, according to two U.S. officials familiar with drafts of the plans. Still under debate is whether to include a loophole that would allow exceptions in extraordinary cases.”

How is this different from President Bush’s policy?

Answer: it’s not.

Then we have this today.

During the Presidential campaign, Obama promised to “have the Army Field Manual govern interrogation techniques for all United States government personnel and contractors.” Thus, Obama implied he would reject the more aggressive interrogation tactics like waterboarding that had been considered and, in rare cases, used by the Bush Administration.

Now that he’s President, it appears Obama will implement his campaign promise to have the military guidelines govern interrogation techniques. However, he is also considering expanding the military guidelines to permit more aggressive techniques:

“At least two more executive orders are expected in coming days, according to two Obama officials.

One official said the first will require all U.S. personnel to follow the U.S. Army Field Manual while questioning detainees. The manual explicitly prohibits threats, coercion, physical abuse and waterboarding, which creates the sensation of drowning and has been termed a form of torture by critics.

The second order will set up a study of interrogation methods that could be added to the Army manual, including some that may be more aggressive than those currently permitted.”

So what about Iraq? Obama opposed the war, opposed the surge and wants out ASAP. That’s what he said during the election.

Seems that now that he’s got the votes, some things might have changed.

A key adviser to Senator Obama’s campaign is recommending in a confidential paper that America keep between 60,000 and 80,000 troops in Iraq as of late 2010, a plan at odds with the public pledge of the Illinois senator to withdraw combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office.

The differences between Obama and Bush were always going to be a lot more subtle than 99% of his supporters expected.

We’re now starting to find out just how subtle.

Update: One more.

While Obama calls for transparency, Pelosi is doing the opposite.

After decades of Democrat control of the House of Representatives, gross abuses to the legislative process and several high-profile scandals contributed to an overwhelming Republican House Congressional landslide victory in 1994. Reforms to the House Rules as part of the Contract with America were designed to open up to public scrutiny what had become under this decades-long Democrat majority a dangerously secretive House legislative process. The Republican reform of the way the House did business included opening committee meetings to the public and media, making Congress actually subject to federal law, term limits for committee chairmen ending decades-long committee fiefdoms, truth in budgeting, elimination of the committee proxy vote, authorization of a House audit, specific requirements for blanket rules waivers, and guarantees to the then-Democrat minority party to offer amendments to pieces of legislation.

Pelosi’s proposed repeal of decades-long House accountability reforms exposes a tyrannical Democrat leadership poised to assemble legislation in secret, then goose-step it through Congress by the elimination of debate and amendment procedures as part of America’s governing legislative process.

“Bill Ayers – educationalist and former radical”

Our very own Radio New Zealand National (US – think NPR) interviewed Bill Ayers yesterday.

Have a listen.

I half expected that the left position was correct – that this man was repentant of placing the bombs and terrorising people. However, about 2/3 of the way into the interview he tries to bluster that he wrote a book all about it, then comes out saying that he doesn’t regret anything.

Kathryn Ryan made some good points, correctly pointing out that it was Hillary, not the McCain campaign who first brought up the issues. She make a key omission at the start however, failing to mention that the charges were dropped because of prosecutor misconduct, not because of Ayers’ innocence.

Here’s some of what was said. My comments in italics.


A: Well, what I did was not terrorism, it was extreme, it was illegal, but if you take the definition of terrorism from the US criminal court or from the US criminal code or from the United Nations, what we participated in crossed lines of legality, propriety, certainly we broke the law and destroyed property but to call it terrorism is to have such a broad definition of terrorism that includes everything from burning an American flag to burning a draft card. Both of which I also did, but both of which are not actually terror.  They may be stupid, and they may be illegal but they are not acts of terror, and it makes the word unusable if everything in opposition is terror. What we did at a time when 2000 Vietnamese a month were being murdered; at at time when the majority of the American people had turned against this illegal, immoral,  and dishonest war – at that time, the anti-war movement, in crisis (because we coudn’t figure out how to stop the war) split into many, many factions. Some joined the democratic party, and tried to build a peace wing, some fled to Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Canada, and Africa, some did other things and what we did was try to build a clandestine organisation that could survive what we thought was an impending American fascism, escalating repression, [this, from a guy who used to sit around and have perfectly serious conversations about the best way to eliminate the estimated 25m people who would disagree with them after they took over!] and to make the war painful for the war makers. [Which ironically, is what the US was doing in Vietnam & what making war is all about: having used all other methods to avoid war, making waging the war painful for those fighting it. Ayers in fact turned to the very tactics he despised.]

And so we targeted symbols, and we targeted war targets, we did not target people. [a lie, the house of a judge was fire-bombed] We never kidnapped, we never assassinated or bought mass destruction on anyone and therefore it wasn’t terrorism.

R: Some might say “what is the point of bombing a public building if not to induce terror in those who work there or go there”?

A: It doesn’t induce fear at 2 in the morning if you knock out a computer in the Pentagon that’s waging an air war against the Vietnamese [what is this, the terminator chronicles?!?] and while you can say it’s stupid and I’ve never really defended it, I’m not defending it now [except in every other part of the interview he tries to justify it] you could call it a lot of things, but calling it terror is what I’m argueing against. And, if you want and I believe we aught to in this country, have a truth and reconcilliation process about the Vietnam war, then what we would have to do is line up people like myself, like my partner and we’d also have to line up John Kerry and Bob Kerry and John McCain and Henery Kissinger and George Bush and Dick Cheney and ask everyone “What did you do while the United States murdered 2000 a month? [Funny how concerned he is for those 2000/month, but shows no concern whatsoever for the murdering rampage that was caused by the war being lost.] What was your responsibility?” And in that company, I’m happy to say exactly what I did and take full responsibilty for it. But without that kind of process, it seems that a small organisation that came out of the student movement, the war movement, is asked to stand for everything backward and violent where Henery Kissinger goes to state dinners and advises the state department. That makes no sense whatsoever.

R: You did have casulaties though, through an accidental explosion…

A: I’m sorry?

R: You did have casualties though, through an accidental explosion that killed 3 or 4 people. [note tone of question here is neutral, not accusing but tending towards sympathetic]

A: Oh, absolutely and I write about that fully in my book, Fugitive Days and those things are terrible, horrific, um, hard to live through, and yet that too compares nowhere on the scale of what the Kissingers for example were doing to the Vietnamese people. If you take – and many people won’t – take a Vietnamese life as valuable as an American life if you think that that’s true, which I do, then how can you compare what we did to what they did? [Funny how, while very concerned about lives that American forces took, he has no concern whatsoever for – never even mentioning – the lives being taken by the North, and the VC, who started the war.]]


The interview going on, but I think this is the key part. It’s clear that he is not repentant, and still believes to this day that what he did was justified – even setting bombs which could easily have killed people.

Jihad – Action or Dreams?

Jihad has a story about a girl who got involved with a terrorist. Apparently he just supported them, so he must be innocent of trying to blow up hundreds of people.

Anyway, she is making much here about the distinction between jihad and terrorism, and that is an excellent illustration of why this is “Jihad Watch” and not “Terrorism Watch.” Zeba Khan says: “Just because he supports them (violent jihadists) in theory is not actually proof of his involvement as such.” Indeed. But if they want to survive (which cannot be said to be completely clear at this point), Canada and other Western countries are sooner or later going to have to shift focus away from “terrorism” to the ideology that drives that terrorism, which is jihad and Islamic supremacism. And that ideology is not being spread today solely by bombs and terror attacks, but also by numerous other initiatives that have nothing to do with violence at all.

And at some point Western countries are going to have to ask whether those who support violent jihadists in theory are welcome here at all, any more than those who supported Nazis in theory would have been welcome in Canada or the United States in 1943.

Oh, and the victims of 9/11 were unintentional. Apparently.

But her credibility with the court likely suffered when she said the nearly 3,000 people murdered on 9/11 were unintentional victims – “collateral damage” – of what was intended as an economic assault against the United States and an act she compared to the Allied bombing of Dresden, Germany during the Second World War. The Dresden bomber crews were not terrorists, she said. “Some things happen in war, innocent people get killed. In America you call it collateral damage, I don’t see this as much different.”

South Vietnamese Murders

No Right Turn demands that the government not just apologises to the veterans it mistreated, but also to the Vietnam.

I didn’t expect to say this, but Tariana Turia is right. The government’s apology to Vietnam veterans today does not go far enough. In addition to apologising to those poisoned by American chemicals and then denied proper care by successive governments, we should also be apologising to Vietnam. Vietnam was an unjust war, fought for America’s imperial aggrandisement. It caused the deaths of over a million North Vietnamese soldiers and two million civilians – over 10% of the North Vietnamese population. We should not have participated, and that fact needs to be formally acknowledged.

One can not agree enough that the Vietnam war (or the “American War” as it’s known locally, the war before that was the “French War”) was unjust. I am quite sure that a great number of North Vietnamese died.

But I wonder how many people in South Vietnam died? You know, South Vietnam, the country that was invaded.  The country that the US came to the defense of. Sort of like the Kuwait of the Gulf/Iraq wars.

Yes, the Vietnamese deserve an apology. They deserve an apology from the west for the west’s failure to be whole-hearted in defending free people in the face of tyranny. They deserve an apology for western leaders listening to people so obsessed with the terrible nature of war that they’d rather have massacres of innocent unarmed people instead.

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