So much for "peace with honor"

All I have to say about this is, thank God Cheney and Rumsfeld aren’t doing the same for the other side.

Sure, they can spell out “WAR” with dead bodies. It’d be awesome!

I bet a naked-lady spelling bee goes over REAL well with Islam. :-)

At least they didn’t chicken out.

The most hilarious thing about these guys leaving at the speed of light is that basically it confirms that they never felt human shields to be necessary in the first place. After all, if they are “terrified” of being placed in a strategic location, that has to basically be considered an admission that they never felt indiscriminate bombing of orphanages and hospitals was likely to begin with. It also shows that Iraq, despite their cries of “millions dead” in a war, also considers indiscriminate bombing of Iraq very unlikely. As well they should, since even ten years ago, with much less sophisticated technology, civilian casualties were shockingly low.

These guys are pretty hysterical though. Some great quotes from this article:

The eccentric, eclectic group, none of whom fitted the “peacenik” stereotype, may have been drawn from all ages, backgrounds and experience, but they all shared one trait: naivety… Later, a £500 donation from a well-wisher in Istanbul was squandered on boxes of Prozac in a misguided attempt to cheer up the war-weary Iraqi civilians…
Conspiracy theories spread like a contagion through the ranks. Whenever a puncture occurred it would be blamed on the CIA.

And here’s a telling portrait of Ken O’Keefe, the ex-marine who started the movement:

Ken O’Keefe, 33, the founder of the human shields movement who served as a US marine during the Gulf war, had always planned to protect Iraqi “installations” should bombs rain down on the capital.

During the journey, the heavily-tattooed O’Keefe, who earned the title “black Ken” on account of his penchant for the colour and outlook on life, had alienated his companions who felt he had developed both a death wish and a messiah complex. Prone to tantrums and mood swings, his credibility had not been helped by the fact that he had, for much of the journey, been accompanied by his mother, Pat.

In Baghdad, Ken came into his own. Dressed in a thick, grey dishdash, he took to ambushing me in the Andalus corridors to brief me on his latest soundbites. “Dark forces have worked against me,” he said, “but I have survived. My mission is hard core, in-your-face activism.

… to the EXXXTREME!!! Dudical! <air guitar>

“My mission is hard core, in-your-face activism.”

For which he was:

“accompanied by his mother, Pat”

What kind of a psycho brings him mommy on a suicide mission?

I’m not disagreeing with you, but reading the article (and talking with some friends involved in anti-war stuff), apparently the Iraqis were asking people to basically stand around with a big sign saying “don’t bomb me” in front of virtually every conceivable target. While some might be willing to try to stop the bombing of hospitals, most don’t feel quite as strongly about stopping the bombing of, say, an oil field.

That said, I did some reading up on the ex-marine heading up this movement, and the consensus seems to be that he’s way off the deep end.

ASJunk

I actually had no idea what an awesome screwball this guy was, but I keep on digging up more fantastic quotes from this guy. There is this diary, where he makes it clear that the human shield movement is spending most of its time playing football, designing t-shirts and plotting in Iraqi juice bars.

Beyond those goals, my main mission is to try to make the West understand that the Iraqi people are people, just people. I want to share that with my countrymen. I would like to start a book on that subject on our website, writing about 100 Iraqi people who are just like you and me. It would show the world that these are people who have their own desires, their favourite foods, their goals in life and so on. I’d ask them, how do you feel about George Bush? How do you feel about the American people? Anything to humanise the Iraqis. Ideally, it would encourage more people to come here as human shields, or, if war does break out, to come to help the Iraqi people recover when it’s over.

I too would like to know the answers to these questions. Because let’s face facts, unless the average Iraqi answers, “My favorite food is a gun muzzle, my greatest desire is to watch my daughter be gang raped by the Republican Guard and my goal in life is to unquestionably serve our great leader, Saddam”, this guy is going to have a hard time justifying his hard-line anti-war position with the desires of the general Iraqi populace. The only person who doesn’t seem to understand that Iraqis are people who have a right to all of the freedoms that Americans enjoy on a daily basis is O’Keefe.

Also, Iraq already has human shields - they are called “Iraqi citizens”. And historically, the US military has done their damnedest not to hit them.

I’m glad that southern people from oppressed places such as Turkey are joining the movement because these are the people that I relate to best. After leaving the US Marines in 1992, I lived in Hawaii where I became an environmental activist. The Hawaiian people are thoroughly oppressed, but they became my true family; I relate to them far better than to wealthy, white Westerners.

Wealthy, white Westerners here meaning “the people who financed my trip”. I’m totally confused about his comments about the oppression of Hawaii, though, which is a state full of coconut oil, palm trees, surf boards and half-naked hula dancers. Or Turkey, for that matter, possibly the most liberal Muslim country in the Middle East and which just told America to go fuck itself.

Then there is this interview from Turkey, where O’Keefe refers to America’s war as the first step on a path of “global domination”, and the American media (mind you, the same American media that has consistently printed newspaper articles about his cause and which supplies hundreds upon hundreds of anti-US-policy editorials and articles every day to the populace at large) as “the greatest propoganda machine in the history of the world” (North Koreans uniformly listen to gramophones of soothing Kim Jong Il praises for relaxation, you see, and a hundred percent of Iraqis willingly voted for Saddam). He implodes into a gelatinous puddle of confused cliches at this point though:

ISIN ELICIN: In my experience as a journalist, it was very difficult to get a visa to go to Iraq and as far as we know you’ll be welcomed by the Iraqi government. Don’t you be afraid of being used by Iraqi regime as part of counter propaganda?

KENNETH NICHOLS O’KEEFE: You know, I can’t control those things, that’s beyond my control and I know who Saddam Hussein is. I’m certainly not going there as an endorsement of Saddam Hussein. We all know what treatment the Iraqi people had to deal with under Saddam Hussein. But the reality is our governments; the British government and the United States government were complicit with Saddam’s crimes. In fact, they gave him the military weaponry, the chemical and biological technologies. They gave him economic aid. He was a favored trading partner for all the years he committed his worst crimes against the Iraqi people. So in that sense I think that our governments are even more criminal then Saddam. Without our governments he couldn’t have lasted as long as he did. Now whether he is going to use me or other people who are down there I can’t say. That’s certainly a potential risk but I don’t think politically there is anything much for him to gain in doing so. And I think probably the only reason why he would do something like that is if he would knew he was going to be destroyed, which is certainly a possibility but hopefully not. Hopefully that’s not going to happen.

Ignoring the part about “selling Iraq chemical and biological technologies to Iraq”, which is actually Germany and is happening currently, O’Keefe has made his position very clear here: I’m attempting a traitorous undermining of US military action to protest past US wrongs, not current ones. America hasn’t supported Iraq in any capacity since the 1980’s. America and Britain have spent the last 12 years as the only countries willing to accept a self-imposed moritorium on Iraqi oil based upon a position against Saddam Hussein and his atrocities. Yet even though O’Keefe kinda sorta admits that Hussein’s not very nice, the real enemy who needs to be thwarted is not Saddam Hussein now, but America twenty years ago. He is protesting the fact that Saddam “couldn’t remain in power for as long as he has without American support” by being an American supporting Saddam Hussein. Way to go, bud.

The entire interview is so surreal that even the journalist interviewing him seems to sense the craziness radiating from the gibbering cromagnon with the “Ride the Lightning” tattoo in the corner, and incredulously asks him…

ISIN ELICIN: Do you have a problem, that is are you personally affected by the use of depleted uranium?

I think we all know the answer to that one.

Yeah, I understand that and I guess that is natural. But laying aside my political beliefs for a second and, for the sake of argument, agreeing that what these human shields are doing will significantly help the Iraqi populace, guarding oil fields, electricity plants or water facilities are of incredible importance to the average Iraqi. Because in the coming war these are the things that are going to be hit, not hospitals and orphanages. The US’ military policy is one which does its damnedest not to bomb civilians.

Here is a quote from Unicef at the end of the Gulf War bombing of Baghdad:

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) stated immediately after the ceasefire that Baghdad “is a city essentially unmarked, a body with its skin basically intact, with every main bone broken and with its joints and tendons cut. . . .” There was little rubble, and civilians were spared, but their life support systems—electricity, water, transportation, communications—were disabled.

How carefully did the US military attempt to avoid bombing innocents?

There was considerable prewar attention to potential collateral damage. The administration was fully briefed on the plan for the first 48 hours, and Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and Secretary of State James Baker reviewed the target list in some detail. An urban map was prepared along with annotations describing the area around each target—“isolated,” “sparsely populated,” “residential,” or “industrial”—and special flags designated whether targets contained chemical weapons, or were near hospitals or mosques. Stealth pilots carried maps annotated with “sensitive” installations such as foreign embassies.

In other words, all military action directed at Baghdad was of strategic military value, not an indiscriminate carpet bombing of orphans. Any damage that was done to civilians was done indirectly by way of these strategic methods.

Therefore, to protect the average Iraqi citizen, these human shields should be going to places most likely to be bombed strategically, not playing foosball inside Iraqi hospitals. These guys have no clue - they are so wrapped up in their fairy tale ideology of US villainy that they couldn’t see how to best serve their own cause, and therefore weren’t capable of making an informed judgement call on what sacrifice was necessary on their part.

The only great loss of civilian life in Baghdad during the Gulf War was near the end of the war, when Allied Forced bombed a bunker that was filled with civilians. They never really figured out why the civilians took refuge in the bunker - they would have been infinetly safer in their homes, but it was chocked up to either a publicity stunt by Saddam, or the local garrison commander decided he’d be nice and let the civilians sleep in (at least what was though of) as relative safety.

General Chuck Horner has a pretty good description of the Allied Air War in his book (co written by Tom Clancy) Every Man a Tiger

You know how we got Hawaii, right? “Native Hawaiians,” or whatever the word is, tend to be rather poor and powerless nowdays there; he’s wildly exaggerating, but he’s not crazy.

Then there is this interview from Turkey, where O’Keefe refers to America’s war as the first step on a path of “global domination”, and the American media (mind you, the same American media that has consistently printed newspaper articles about his cause and which supplies hundreds upon hundreds of anti-US-policy editorials and articles every day to the populace at large) as “the greatest propoganda machine in the history of the world” (North Koreans uniformly listen to gramophones of soothing Kim Jong Il praises for relaxation, you see, and a hundred percent of Iraqis willingly voted for Saddam).

American newspapers have been all over the place, but television, which is all anyone pays attention to, has been consistently pro-war.

Ignoring the part about “selling Iraq chemical and biological technologies to Iraq”, which is actually Germany and is happening currently, O’Keefe has made his position very clear here: I’m attempting a traitorous undermining of US military action to protest past US wrongs, not current ones. America hasn’t supported Iraq in any capacity since the 1980’s. America and Britain have spent the last 12 years as the only countries willing to accept a self-imposed moritorium on Iraqi oil based upon a position against Saddam Hussein and his atrocities.

Oh please, like they’d sell us oil anyway. I also haven’t seen any evidence that the German weapon sales were due to anything but screwed up export controls; if you have something showing the government didn’t care or encouraged it, I’d like to see it. Of course, even then, the US did the same thing in the 1980s, when Saddam was just as much of a “moral monster”; there’s no moral difference between sales pre-war and post-war.

Jason, didn’t know about the Hawaiians (I was a Bostonian), but I’ll look it up, thanks.

Oh please, like they’d sell us oil anyway. I also haven’t seen any evidence that the German weapon sales were due to anything but screwed up export controls; if you have something showing the government didn’t care or encouraged it, I’d like to see it. Of course, even then, the US did the same thing in the 1980s, when Saddam was just as much of a “moral monster”; there’s no moral difference between sales pre-war and post-war.

First of all, in regards to Saddam not selling us oil: yeah, right. Like he didn’t sell oil to the rest of the international community who supported a war against him ten years ago? I’m not sure how to respond to a completely baseless assertion that Saddam wouldn’t love to personally enrich himself by billions of dollars every year by opening up his country to the largest oil market in the world. Especially when he already owns holdings in American magazines such as Car and Driver and Woman’s Day, which doesn’t really speak for a total lack of interest in American money on his part.

Secondly, there’s a big difference between what we sold Saddam to combat Iran at the time, and what Germany has sold Saddam in flagrant disregard for sanctions passed not only by the International community, but by itself.

Well, if you say so on the oil thing.

Here’s the deal with selling him WMD before 1991: we knew he used it on the Kurds and Iran. We didn’t give a shit that he used it. Is using WMD only immoral when it’s pointed at first-world residents?

Maybe you can find some realpolitck state department type that thinks so, but I don’t.

PS: On “Germany didn’t know anything about the sale of weapons of mass destructions to Iraq”, from the previously cited article:

The reason the BND is well-informed of Iraqi WMD programs - nuclear, biological and chemical - is straightforward: since the early 1980s, it has monitored German exports of dual-use nuclear technologies, precursor chemicals for poison-gas weapons, and “pharmaceutical” products and equipment for biological weapons manufacture to the Middle East. Indeed, there are strong suspicions that it was a silent partner in a Hamburg front company, Water Engineering Trading or WET, which covered for and facilitated such exports.

I’m going to ignore that allegation at the end there for the sake of argument, but hold on a second. Are you seriously claiming that Germany selling WMD to Iraq was a product of screwed-up export controls, when its own CIA has been monitoring these sales for the last decade? The only reason export controls would continue to be that screwed up in the light of such information is if the German government allowed them to be. Clearly, Germany had zero interest on stamping down on these “screwed up export controls”, if that was the problem, since the vast majority of current Iraqi WMD technology admittedly comes from them with their direct knowledge.

Is using WMD only immoral when it’s pointed at first-world residents?

No, but who made morality their sole argument here? You’re trying to confuse the issue. America stopped selling weaponry to Iraq when they said they would. Germany hasn’t. Or are you trying to claim that realizing you were doing something dangerous and wrong and stopping it is just as nefarious as putting on your gas mask and watching Saddam gas Kurds with your supplied weaponry, making sure to turn up “Die Fladermaus” to drown out the screams as you count your deutschemarks?

Uh, so you’re outraged that Germany didn’t abide by their agreement, but not on moral grounds? I’m not following here.

You might want to read that article again because, you know, it doesn’t say that. All it says is that German companies are selling dual-use technology to Iraq that could be used for WMD, besides their declared peaceful use. No proof is given that these technologies have actually been used for WMD. Seeing how the author tries to paint Germany as Iraq’s chief weapons supplier I’m sure he would have listed any actual proof if it existed, so I guess it doesn’t.

The BND is routinely monitoring all sales of potentially dangerous goods and technologies to potentially dangerous areas so this doesn’t really mean as much as you think. The author darkly hints that Schröder might have an interest in these supposedly dark dealings but fails to state the actual volume of these trades – not perhaps because they would be too small to matter?

It’s rather ironic how you parade around a nearly factless article that you would be the first to decry as a vile propaganda piece if it was about shady dealings of America rather than Germany…

Holy shit, does Saddam have ISIN ELICIN? That stuff’s worse than anthrax.

“Ja, zis material is merely dual-use, mein fuehr…I’m sorry, Mr. Secretary General.”

You might want to read that article again because, you know, it doesn’t say that. All it says is that German companies are selling dual-use technology to Iraq that could be used for WMD, besides their declared peaceful use. No proof is given that these technologies have actually been used for WMD. Seeing how the author tries to paint Germany as Iraq’s chief weapons supplier I’m sure he would have listed any actual proof if it existed, so I guess it doesn’t.

The BND is routinely monitoring all sales of potentially dangerous goods and technologies to potentially dangerous areas so this doesn’t really mean as much as you think. The author darkly hints that Schröder might have an interest in these supposedly dark dealings but fails to state the actual volume of these trades – not perhaps because they would be too small to matter?

It’s rather ironic how you parade around a nearly factless article that you would be the first to decry as a vile propaganda piece if it was about shady dealings of America rather than Germany…[/quote]

To quote the article:

In 1991, Iraq fired dozens of Scud missiles at Israel and threatened to arm the missiles with poison-gas and biological warheads. Most of the contents of those warheads were made in Germany or made with the aid of German engineers and technology

German HUMANS helped to create gas and bio weapons. Where they blindfolded, they were TOLD they were working on Saddam’s GMC Pacer?

The list in Iraq’s 1998/current chemical weapons declaration contains 31 “major suppliers”, 14 from Germany. The 1996/current nuclear suppliers list has 62 company names on it, 33 from Germany. As Iraq claims that since 1991 it has not engaged in WMD production, the lists name no post-Gulf War suppliers. Call it old news. So much the sillier that the UN refuses to make them public. But since the BND claims that deliveries did not stop at the end of the Gulf War as well as simply as a matter of record of German complicity in arming Iraq, the issue remains an urgent current concern.

Indeed, there are strong suspicions that it was a silent partner in a Hamburg front company, Water Engineering Trading or WET, which covered for and facilitated such exports. Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said in his January 27 report that tons of Iraqi chemical and biological agents and precursors were unaccounted for. Over the years, well over half of the precursor materials and a majority of the tools and know-how for their conversion into weapons were sold to Iraq by German firms - both prior to and after the 1991 Gulf War. The BND has the details.

That’s TONS of material that has vanished like a fart in the wind. TONS of things that could be used to make deadly poisons and gasses that NO ONE can account for.
Here’s a little ‘Slylock Fox’ puzzle: I threaten to kill your dog with gas. The next day I purchase a ton of ammonia, and a ton of bleach. The day after that you find your dog gassed to death. You call the police and tell them about my threat and my purchases. The police find the reciepts, but no bottles, when questioned I respond that I don’t have any bottles cause I NEVER bought any of those items. Or I did buy them, but just to use them as they were intended, depending on what time you ask me.
The question is: How long before I’m in prison: A) twelve seconds, B)twelve minutes, C)as soon as they are done beating me with their batons for being so God damn stupid that I would just assume they would turn a blind eye to my obvious activities in the interest of ‘Peace no matter what the cost’?