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Updates on War in Iraq 2116

New Developments on the war in Iraq: Oil Fields ablaze in southern Iraq. Turkey opens airspace to U.S.. US Forces 3rd Infantry Fire Heavy Artillery at Southern Iraq. The schedule has been accelerated due to infrastructure destruction. CT: Explosions and heavy anti aircraft fire heard in Baghdad. We'll continue to update as new information warrants.
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Updates on War in Iraq

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  • by floppy ears ( 470810 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @01:53PM (#5556890) Homepage
    Serious question: where are y'all getting your info on the war? I'm talking in depth stuff like tactics, maps. Not just the CNN bs, but real stuff like great terrain maps and discussions of the weaponry.
    • by OrbNobz ( 2505 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @01:55PM (#5556940) Homepage
      BBC has the only free live feed I can find.
      They have great coverage (of what can be covered anyway).

      - OrbNobz
      And the rockets red glare...the bombs bursting in air...
      • by Telastyn ( 206146 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:17PM (#5557254)
        iirc cnn has an irc server ( that has a bot spouting their closed caption feed.

        Not exactly a great feed [or unbiased!], but a good way to keep in touch of what's going on.
      • Ask the Iraqi's (Score:5, Interesting)

        by krysith ( 648105 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:22PM (#5557337) Journal
        I ran across this blog from a resident of Baghdad. Apparently, music websites aren't scragged by Iraqi security. It's not media coverage, but it gives a certain perspective you won't find in the media.

        I worry that I might be perhaps causing trouble for the guy, but I figure if he put it on the web he wants people to see it.

        • Re:Ask the Iraqi's (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 20, 2003 @03:08PM (#5557927)
          A snippet from there that I found to be pretty damn good...

          No one inside Iraq is for war (note I said war not a change of regime), no human being in his right mind will ask you to give him the beating of his life, unless you are a member of fight club that is, and if you do hear Iraqi (in Iraq, not expat) saying "come on bomb us" it is the exasperation and 10 years of sanctions and hardship talking. There is no person inside Iraq (and this is a bold, blinking and underlined inside) who will be jumping up and down asking for the bombs to drop. We are not suicidal you know, not all of us in any case.
          I think that the coming war is not justified (and it is very near now, we hear the war drums loud and clear if you don't then take those earplugs off!). The excuses for it have been stretched to their limits they will almost snap. A decision has been made sometime ago that "regime change" in Baghdad is needed and excuses for the forceful change have to be made. I do think war could have been avoided, not by running back and forth the last two months, that's silly. But the whole issue of Iraq should have been dealt with differently since the first day after GW I.
          The entities that call themselves "the international community" should have assumed their responsibilities a long time ago, should have thought about what the sanctions they have imposed really meant, should have looked at reports about weapons and human rights abuses a long time before having them thrown in their faces as excuses for war five minutes before midnight.
          What is bringing on this rant is the question that has been bugging for days now: how could "support democracy in Iraq" become to mean "bomb the hell out of Iraq"? why did it end up that democracy won't happen unless we go thru war? Nobody minded an un-democratic Iraq for a very long time, now people have decided to bomb us to democracy? Well, thank you! how thoughtful.
          The situation in Iraq could have been solved in other ways than what the world will be going thru the next couple of weeks. It can't have been that impossible. Look at the northern parts of Iraq, that is a model that has worked quite well, why wasn't anybody interested in doing that in the south. Just like the US/UK UN created a protected area there why couldn't the model be tried in the south. It would have cut off the regimes arms and legs. And once the people see what they have been deprived off they will not be willing to go back, just ask any Iraqi from the Kurdish areas. Instead the world watched while after the war the Shias were crushed by Saddam's army in a manner that really didn't happen before the Gulf War. Does anyone else see the words (Iran/not in the US interest) floating or is it me hallucinating?
          And there is the matter of Sanctions. Now that Iraq has been thru a decade of these sanctions I can only hope that their effects are clear enough for them not to be tried upon another nation. Sanctions which allegedly should have kept a potentially dangerous situation in Iraq in check brought a whole nation to its knees instead. And who ultimately benefited from the sanctions? Neither the international community nor the Iraqi people, he who was in power and control still is. These sanctions made the Iraqi people hostages in the hands of this regime, tightened an already tight noose around our necks. A whole nation, a proud and learned nation, was devastated not by the war but by sanctions. Our brightest and most creative minds fled the country not because of oppression alone but because no one inside Iraq could make a living, survive. And can anyone tell me what the sanctions really did about weapons? Get real, there are always willing nations who will help, there are always organizations which will find his money sweet. Oil-for-Food? Smart Sanctions? Get a clue. Who do you think is getting all those contracts to supply the people with "food"? who do you think is heaping money in bank accounts abroad? It is his people, his family and the people who play his game. Abroad and in Iraq, Iraqis and non-Iraqis.
          • by EverDense ( 575518 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @06:25PM (#5560325) Homepage
            no human being in his right mind will ask you to give him the beating of his life, unless you are a member of fight club that is

            You just broke the first and second rules...
            Time for pain!
      • by Cally ( 10873 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @03:15PM (#5558012) Homepage
        The best thing the Beeb have is their "reporters log" -- short paragraphs from hacks in the field (Kuwait, Baghdad, Saudia, Cairo, Jerusalem etc.) It's got a very immediate sensation that they're sticking stuff up more or less as it comes in - well before it's getting onto the main website. Here's the link (printable version == lighter page) [] or the main page []. Although having said all that, at time of writing (19:13GMT) it hasn't been updated for about an hour...Don't worry about the slashdotting, the head of BBC Online is quoted as saying they can cope with 10x the traffic they've been getting... >:)

        The BBC's streaming radio may be worth checking out; radio 4 is the main spoken word station, has lots of news, usually on the hour. Dunno if they're carrying their new CNN-alike 24 hour rolling news TV channel though, if you can't get it on satellite or cable.

        Just for the record, I'm against the war, but sadly as a news junkie I find it horribly compelling...

    • by screwballicus ( 313964 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @01:59PM (#5557019)
      For plain old news coverage, I depend on the CBC's (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's) coverage, which I find more to the point and unembellished than CNN's coverage (not that it's hard to be).

      For analysis, [] is quite biased, but informative.
    • by rwiedower ( 572254 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:01PM (#5557040) Homepage
      Noah Shachtman's website [] has a great deal of information on the war...this is the guy who single-handedly broke into Los Alamos a few weeks back. He's updating fairly regularly today, so check it out.
    • by Ian Wolf ( 171633 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:10PM (#5557168) Homepage
      From reliable news media sources such as The Onion, The Daily Show, and of course Slashdot.

      Why? Where do you get yours?
    • by ortholattice ( 175065 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:26PM (#5557424)
      Try [], a blog currently being updated every few minutes.
    • by sql*kitten ( 1359 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:39PM (#5557597)
      Serious question: where are y'all getting your info on the war? I'm talking in depth stuff like tactics, maps. Not just the CNN bs, but real stuff like great terrain maps and discussions of the weaponry.

      Try Reuters Focus Iraq []. Reuters is governed by Trust Principles [] which ensure that unlike CNN or the BBC, there is no political bias. Wherever you get your news, it's highly likely that it came from Reuters originally, then was repackaged by your newspaper, TV station or web site.

      (Disclaimer: I am a Reuters employee, but I'm nothing to do with the news side).
      • by csguy314 ( 559705 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @04:44PM (#5559135) Homepage
        [] l

        Reuters principles?

        Operation MOCKINGBIRD -- The CIA begins recruiting American news organizations and journalists to become spies and disseminators of propaganda. The effort is headed by Frank Wisner, Allan Dulles, Richard Helms and Philip Graham. Graham is publisher of The Washington Post, which becomes a major CIA player. Eventually, the CIAs media assets will include ABC, NBC, CBS, Time, Newsweek, Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Copley News Service and more. By the CIAs own admission, at least 25 organizations and 400 journalists will become CIA assets.
  • but Saddam (Score:5, Funny)

    by thammoud ( 193905 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @01:53PM (#5556904)
    said during the interview with Dan Rather that he will NOT set the wells on fire and I believed him. My trust in Saddam is now shattered. Going to see my shrink.

  • by B3ryllium ( 571199 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @01:54PM (#5556907) Homepage
    Dear Turkey,

    All Your Base Are Belong To U.S.


  • USA PR (Score:5, Informative)

    by onthefenceman ( 640213 ) < minus physicist> on Thursday March 20, 2003 @01:54PM (#5556915)
    As a US citizen having spent the last 12 months outside the US, I can personally vouch for the fact that public opinion for the US has spiraled downwards recently. While I can see some justification for a conflict in Iraq, at what cost will it come?
    • Mmmm Oceans (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Flamesplash ( 469287 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @01:58PM (#5557000) Homepage Journal
      Well regaurdless at least we have some big old Oceans between us and anyone we really could care about.

      I oftern wonder if our stance would be different if we were part of Europe, or if England was originally part of North America and we had fled to what is now Europe.

      Are we isolationists due to geography?
      • Re:Mmmm Oceans (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Telastyn ( 206146 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:05PM (#5557098)
        eh? The US has not been isolationist since Pearl Harbor. You think they'd be busy sticking their noses/military in other people's affairs if they were?
        • Re:Mmmm Oceans (Score:5, Insightful)

          by malkavian ( 9512 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:19PM (#5557289)
          Point being, the US sticks it's nose into things that it doesn't understand.
          Those big oceans give rise to a huge amount of ignorance in the American populace about how the rest of the world works. And more so, they honestly don't care about this ignorance.
          In Europe, we're all forced to understand that there are other cultures, and other ways of thinking. This expands the mind somewhat, and stops the narrow, blinkered view that your way is the only way.
          Just a couple of years ago, near the whole world was behind America. It was the sole, largest chance I think that has ever been seen to rise up and start things in motion that would have helped true world peace, and formed a lasting tribute to a 'land of the free'.
          However, Bush has squandered this freely, used the excuses to repress his own people, and start down the road of a police state, while giving the rest of the world the view of America as an aggressive empire builder.
          A large portion of world view is now against America. The land that places so much in the law, and the freedom of a vote. The land that wouldn't let the resolution to go to war hit a vote, as it knew it would lose. And thus broke international law to go to war. Strange, American law should be worldwide (Can you say Sklyarov?), yet the views of the rest of the world mean so little.
          I think that's what the parent meant by isolationist. American politicians think they're in a nice little container apart from the rest of the world. They can do what they want when the want, anywhere they want, and the rest of the world doesn't exist in their calculations of the effects.
          This doesn't mean I dislike America, or it's people. It just means I have absolutely no faith in it's politicians, or their thinking.
    • Re:USA PR (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TopShelf ( 92521 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:09PM (#5557140) Homepage Journal
      I agree with the sentiment. While I think the war is just (Saddam was never going to disarm completely and voluntarily), the diplomatic failure lies in not having a broader base of support for military action.

      If you think about it, however, there may be a silver lining to this cloud. France and others have stated that if Iraq were to use chemical/biological weapons, that would change things completely and bring them in on the side of the U.S. That provides a powerful incentive for Saddam not to use these weapons - by not doing so he keeps France, Germany and Russia on his side in calling for an end to hostilities. The bottom line, however, is that we don't need those countries' military support, but if they help prevent the use of chemical/biological weapons, that's OK by me...

    • Re:USA PR (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ezfur ( 534240 )
      I have been traveling the world for years and the rest of the world never liked the US anyway, this isnt a recent event especially in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa and oh I guess thats about the world.
    • Cost to USA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by John Bayko ( 632961 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:58PM (#5557834)
      European countries used to be be warlike and belligerant to one another until industrial capacity simply made war economically unviable any more - this happened in World War I, but random events made World War II possible (part of it was the disbelief that anyone would be stupid enough to go through that again, hence the appeasement and reluctance to stop it quickly).

      Since then, industrialized countries (except the U.S) have realized that economic realities now completely overshadow military force, hence the de-emphasis on military spending. If the world's largest military power were to go to war with its almost completely undefended neighbour, sure they could conquer it more easily than Iraq, but the economic disruption in trade would shut down about a quarter of the U.S economy.

      Furhermore, distrust of the U.S and economic sanctions would probably kill another third, even after the war was over and trade could be resumed. Without its industrial base, it's military ability would go the way that Russia's has (5 million military personnel about a decade ago, approaching 800,000 in a few years).

      In the situation with Iraq there is still economic uncertainty for the U.S. An essay here [] makes a claim that the reason for the Iraq war involves the currency used to purchase oil. While I don't think it's correct, it does outline some of the problems which the U.S could encounter by squandering it's begrugingly earned goodwill in economic matters.

      Basically, the U.S economy has been powered by a few factors that prop up the value of the U.S dollar, which allows the U.S treasury to keep printing them without causing devaluation. Printing money is a economically equivalent to taxation, in that money disappears from elsewhere (value falls, leading to inflation) and appears somewhere else (treasury).

      However, the importance of the U.S economy following World War II made the U.S dollar a standard currency for world trade, such as for oil (which is priced in U.S dollars). This means that even when not buying U.S goods and services, countries elsewhere need U.S dollars. In addition, most countries prop up their own currencies by buying U.S dollars and keeping them in their treasuries (it used to be gold, but while currencies were released from the "gold standard" in theory, in practice it's useful to have something of relatively fixed value for controlling exchange rates).

      The result of this is that the U.S treasury could keep printing U.S dollars and the value doesn't go down because they are taken out of domestic circulation. However, when the trust is gone, countries will start looking for alternatives, and it's beginning to look like the Euro is that alternative. Iraq has switched to Euros for selling oil (is main customer is France, after all), and Iran (also on the "Axis of Evil") is looking at it too. Finally countries are starting to exchange U.S dollars for Euros for their reserves - Russia and Vensuala are examples.

      If the U.S dollars start returning to circulation, you can expect (and it's happening now) a devaluation of the U.S dollar. Once countries realize that their treasury reserves are losing value relative to Euros, there's a good chance they'll switch, essentially leading to a run on currency - the U.S dollar will plummet, U.S trade deficit will inflate, and the U.S economy may suffer a recession that makes the current problems look like a pleasant memory.

      That is the potential cost for the U.S spreading ill will. That's not the worst case, either - think Russia-style meltdown. Hopefully it won't come to that, but the more the U.S alienates the rest of the world, the more the rest of the world is likely to abandon the U.S economically - and without the economy to sustain it, the U.S military won't last either.

      • by davebo ( 11873 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @08:50PM (#5561525) Journal
        Fact correction:

        The U.S. is the major consumer of Iraqi oil (at least in 2002).

        You can get the statistics here [], and I apologize in advance that they're Excel format. Check out Table 3.14.

        Quick summary: Iraq exported (on average) 10.726 million BPD in 2002, of which (on average) 5.316 m BPD came to the US. France imported 0.953 m BPD from Iraq.

        Oh, and in case you're curious - that makes Iraq the 4th largest OPEC exporter to France, and probably at best 6th largest overall exporter (GB & Norway being 2 other major suppliers). And in both cases, Iraqi oil made up ~3.5% of the total oil imports to each country (slightly higher for the US than France).
  • God Bless America (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pave Low ( 566880 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @01:54PM (#5556918) Journal
    I pray this war be short and quick, and our troops to come home as soon as we have finished the job.

    I appreciate all they do to defend our freedoms, and save others as well.

  • by micahmicahmicah ( 600841 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @01:55PM (#5556945)
    As if I wasn't getting enough of a bombardment of this news, now I have to read about it when I want my geek fix??? I'd like to smack whoever posted this with a large herring.
  • by aengblom ( 123492 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @01:57PM (#5556969) Homepage has this page [] up carrying the latest news briefs of military and diplomatic action.

    They seem to be keeping it pretty fresh.

    Personally, it seems they'll do better than the Slashdot crew in the News for Everbody realm.
  • Even though half my students are against the war and the other half are for, they all are interested, involved, and informed. I've been grilled by my students with better questions than I have been by adults. There's a healthy population of students who want to protest the war, and a healthy bunch who see this war as something really important. Logarithms, exponentials? No, today, my students showed me that they can care about something, and I have nothing but confidence that some day my students will be critical thinking adults that make a difference in this country.

    May free speech continue to live, in spite of the attempts of the far right to silence it, and the far left to exploit it.

  • WELLS != FIELDS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by magarity ( 164372 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @01:59PM (#5557004)
    Oil Fields ablaze in southern Iraq

    A well is just one pump/tower combo. It is several of these that are burning. A field is a whole darn field full of the things. Several of these are NOT what has caught fire, which will be a major mess when (if) they do.
  • by craenor ( 623901 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:00PM (#5557028) Homepage
    Some people seem to be indicating that they think Bush was after the Short, Victorious War. Over the ages many politicians, like Theodore Roosevelt, have indicated that this is a sure way to boost the economy and boost the flagging spirits of a country with nothing to do.

    Maybe there is some of the Short, Victorious War thinking that lead to our current situation. Perhaps the politics of succeeding where his father had failed was motivation enough to lead a country to this point.

    But I don't care, do you know why? Because the Son of a Bitch has it coming. I long ago gave up needing a reason to feel that Saddam Hussein had to be "removed" from the world scope.

    If there was a shred of diplomacy, decency, reality or reasonability in the man, he would have, at one point in the past 12 years, delt fairly with the United Nations. How much rope do you give to someone, before you hang them with that rope?

    Nah, screw was time for War.

    Craenor - Gulf War Veteran
  • by spoonboy42 ( 146048 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:01PM (#5557034)

    Personally, I have opposed this war for a long time. I agree absolutely with the Bush administration that Hussein is a terrible dictator, but I have a hard time grasping why we are not dealing with a fundamentally more dangerous situation in North Korea, or why we are at this very moment "allied" with a military government in Pakistan, a Monarchy which is only nominally friendly in Saudi Arabia (interesting note: about half of all Americans believe most of the September 11th hijackers were Iraqi, not Saudi). Anyway, I believe that supporting bad governments for short-term gain is only going to wind up hurting us in the long run (as it did with our support of Hussein in the 1980s).

    Furthermore, it is impossible to declare war on one man. If we could truly only direct our action against Hussein and his thugs, this would be an entirely different matter. The fact is, though, that the Iraqi people, as well as the American and allied troops, are going to suffer terrible losses in this war. War is always hell, no matter what the reason, and if a war can be averted, and the noble goals of disarmament and democratization achieved through peaceful means, then the path of diplomacy, however difficult, should be pursued.

    That said, it is now entirely apparant that we are at war. I, like the vast majority of anti-war Americans, support our troops. I am grateful that my country has so many brave young men and women who are willing to endure the horrors of combat for their country. I pray that their lives and the lives of the Iraqi people are spared. I still, however, disagree with my president's decision. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, it is even more important for the people of America to scrutinize their leader's actions of time of war than in time of peace. I hope for the best possible outcome to be salvaged from this conflict, but I am deeply saddened that it came to this.

    • by blaine ( 16929 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:10PM (#5557169)
      The reason NK is being treated differently is that it's a different situation entirely.

      We cannot move on NK without China being OK with it. Well, we could, but then we'd have to deal with a very pissed off China. Why? Well, how do you think we'd feel if China invaded Mexico, even if it was provoked? Now, multiply that by about 10, because China does not want the U.S. installing a democracy to their south. See why we can't do jack and shit until China decides diplomacy has failed?

      I don't feel like getting into the rest of your post, because I"m tired of arguing about the war. However, claiming that NK is a more pressing issue is just uninformed. It's a big deal, yes, but not one that we can do much about right now, especially given how quiet they've been since China's new leader was installed. Until China believes diplomacy has failed with NK, us moving on NK would likely cause China to move in on thier side, if only to assure that no democratic government was installed. And that is something that we really can't risk happening right now.
      • by spoonboy42 ( 146048 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:27PM (#5557446)

        Actually, I think you misunderstand me. I do NOT in any way approve of the US invading North Korea. The costs would simply be far too high, even if the DPRK did not possess nuclear weapons (which it might). Even now, there are North Korean artillery in place which can fire 50,000 rounds an hour into downtown Seoul. A military conflict there would be disasterous.

        What I am advocating is that we step up negotiations with North Korea, which China, South Korea, and Japan are all trying to persuade us to do. If our senate would have ratified the 1994 treaty, which would have given North Korea a couple of nuclear power plants jointly run by the US and Japan, this nuclear standoff could likely have been averted. In the meantime, North Korea's goals are still basically diplomatic: the regime there wants normalization of relations with the US, a non-agression treaty, and a return of fuel and power aid.

        Additionally, I would like to note that China's government does have mixed feelings about North Korea. On the one hand, China has always enjoyed having another communist state as a "buffer" in the region. On the other hand, North Korea has become an albatross about China's neck. Without assistance from the Chinese government, North Korea would essentially collapse, both politically and economically, and the cost to China of maintaining that regime keeps getting higher. Additionally, China has (albiet slowly) been making economic and political reforms aimed at democratizing Chinese society and promoting more private industry. North Korea is not making similar efforts, which has caused the two countries to be farther apart politically than ever before. If anything, China is interested in being a partner with the US in resolving the Korean crises. The PRC, like the US, realizes it is in noone's interested to have a nuclear Korean peninsula.

    • I have a hard time grasping why we are not dealing with a fundamentally more dangerous situation in North Korea,

      Well, we are trying to deal with it, but the situation is complicated. I think the difference is that Saddam has shown no willingness to cooperate, while North Korea has at least shown a willingness in the past to cooperate. Say what you want about NK, but at least they're *openly* defying us.

      or why we are at this very moment "allied" with a military government in Pakistan, a Monarchy which is only nominally friendly in Saudi Arabia

      Because sometimes you have to deal with reality, and the reality is that the middle east is not going to turn into stable western-style democracies overnight. Better to hold our nose and try to influence them toward modernity than isolate them and them let them fall toward more fundamentalism.

      Anyway, I believe that supporting bad governments for short-term gain is only going to wind up hurting us in the long run (as it did with our support of Hussein in the 1980s).

      Yes, unfortunately there are no perfect policies, and there are no crystal balls.

      Furthermore, it is impossible to declare war on one man. If we could truly only direct our action against Hussein and his thugs, this would be an entirely different matter. The fact is, though, that the Iraqi people, as well as the American and allied troops, are going to suffer terrible losses in this war.

      During WW2, we basically declared war on Hitler. A lot of "innocent Germans" were killed during that war, but I think most agree that sometimes a terrible price is necessary to bring peace to the world. There are a scary number of parallels between Saddam Hussein of today, and Hitler of the 1930s. The same debates about preemptive striking took place back then, and Europe showed the same policies of appeasement back then about dealing with him.

      I for one am glad that the US is taking care of Hussein now rather than later when it really would have turned into WW/III with Hussein invading the entire middle east (as he also tried to do back in 1991).

      • by halftrack ( 454203 ) <> on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:42PM (#5557644) Homepage
        Just want to correct a minor historical error you made:

        During WW2, we basically declared war on Hitler. A lot of "innocent Germans" were killed during that war, but I think most agree that sometimes a terrible price is necessary to bring peace to the world.

        The US didn't declare war on Germany. Germany was the agressor. WW2 was triggered when Hitlers took Poland. Europe was then fed up by Germanys imperialism and declared war. The US on this time stood back and watch. When they entered it was in true self defence (perl harbour) and it was allready a fullscale war where Germany couldn't complain about losses (they were the agressor, remember.)
      • Say again? (Score:5, Informative)

        by CrystalFalcon ( 233559 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @04:35PM (#5559016) Homepage
        There are a scary number of parallels between Saddam Hussein of today, and Hitler of the 1930s.

        Uhm-hm. I came across this text from Thom Hartmann which you may find interesting. The closing pieces about federally empowered corporations are especially interesting, and may ring a bell with the Slashdot crowd.

        When Democracy Failed: The warnings of history

        18 Mar 2003
        The 70th anniversary wasn't noticed in the United States, and was barely reported in the corporate media. But the Germans remembered well that fateful day seventy years ago - February 27, 1933. They commemorated the anniversary by joining in demonstrations for peace that mobilized citizens all across the world.

        It started when the government, in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis, received reports of an imminent terrorist attack. A foreign ideologue had launched feeble attacks on a few famous buildings, but the media largely ignored his relatively small efforts. The intelligence services knew, however, that the odds were he would eventually succeed. (Historians are still arguing whether or not rogue elements in the intelligence service helped the terrorist; the most recent research implies they did not.)

        But the warnings of investigators were ignored at the highest levels, in part because the government was distracted; the man who claimed to be the nation's leader had not been elected by a majority vote and the majority of citizens claimed he had no right to the powers he coveted. He was a simpleton, some said, a cartoon character of a man who saw things in black-and-white terms and didn't have the intellect to understand the subtleties of running a nation in a complex and internationalist world. His coarse use of language - reflecting his political roots in a southernmost state - and his simplistic and often-inflammatory nationalistic rhetoric offended the aristocrats, foreign leaders, and the well-educated elite in the government and media. And, as a young man, he'd joined a secret society with an occult-sounding name and bizarre initiation rituals that involved skulls and human bones.

        Nonetheless, he knew the terrorist was going to strike (although he didn't know where or when), and he had already considered his response. When an aide brought him word that the nation's most prestigious building was ablaze, he verified it was the terrorist who had struck and then rushed to the scene and called a press conference.

        "You are now witnessing the beginning of a great epoch in history," he proclaimed, standing in front of the burned-out building, surrounded by national media. "This fire," he said, his voice trembling with emotion, "is the beginning." He used the occasion - "a sign from God," he called it - to declare an all-out war on terrorism and its ideological sponsors, a people, he said, who traced their origins to the Middle East and found motivation for their evil deeds in their religion.

        Two weeks later, the first detention center for terrorists was built in Oranianberg to hold the first suspected allies of the infamous terrorist. In a national outburst of patriotism, the leader's flag was everywhere, even printed large in newspapers suitable for window display.

        Within four weeks of the terrorist attack, the nation's now-popular leader had pushed through legislation - in the name of combating terrorism and fighting the philosophy he said spawned it - that suspended constitutional guarantees of free speech, privacy, and habeas corpus. Police could now intercept mail and wiretap phones; suspected terrorists could be imprisoned without specific charges and without access to their lawyers; police could sneak into people's homes without warrants if the cases involved terrorism.

        To get his patriotic "Decree on the Protection of People and State" passed over the objections of concerned legislators and civil libertarians, he agreed to put a 4-year sunset provision on it: if the national emergency provoked by the terrorist attack was over by then, the freedoms
    • by N8F8 ( 4562 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:33PM (#5557529)
      Iraq has attached two of its neighbors within the last two decades. Iraq has used WMD against its own people. No-one doubts that Saddam wouldn't flinch to use nuclear or biological weapons. It is not a matter of if, but when he gains the capability.

      North Korea is a repressive regime that pretty much keeps to itself. Frequent spying and assassignations into Sough Korea though. North Korea likely already has plently of WMD capability and has not chosen to use them against their own population or a neighboring one.

      You analogy with Pakistan doesn't hold up. By that measure Turkey would be an enemy also. Whatever you want to say about Musharraf, he has resisted some pretty dserious political pressure to keep doing the right thing for his people.

      Moth importantly though, as with any religious belief: if a beleief system can survive two generations unimpeded, it will become entrenched. Not only one Saddam, but an entire nation of Saddams.

      Diplomacy only works iif there is a real threat to a faiure to act diplomatically. Twelve years of diplomacy hasn't worked.
    • by praksys ( 246544 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:37PM (#5557581)
      I have a hard time grasping why we are not dealing with a fundamentally more dangerous situation in North Korea

      Actually I doubt if you have made any effort to grasp why the US is dealing with Iraq first, because there are dozens of political, and military, commentary sites that provide explanations. "The New Republic" (a generally pro-Democrat political comentary magazine provides a fairly good explanation on their site).

      Roughly speaking it comes down to two factors. Military action is far more difficult in the case of North Korea, and even if a military solution is eventually sought it is in the interests of the US to delay such action for about 2 years. In the 2004-2006 timeframe the US will have in place roughly four components of its missile defense program. Military action before that time would be ill-advised to say the least.

      North Korea is also a client state of China which makes military action more difficult, and diplomatic action more likely to succeed. However, diplomatic action has *no* chance of success until the US gets the powers surounding N. Korea to get behind such action. So far US efforts to marshall the support of China, Japan, Russia, and S. Korea seem to be working quite well. Japan and S. Korea have just come on board publicly, China is said to be comming around privately. I have no idea where Russia stands on the matter at the moment. You can find a pretty good discussion of the diplomatic efforts at the Reason Magazine website.

      why we are at this very moment "allied" with a military government in Pakistan

      To some extent it is a marriage of convenience. Do you seriously think it would make sense at the moment to take a confrontational attitude with Pakistan? Especially when they have been co-operating with efforts to secure their own nuclear weapons?

      Monarchy which is only nominally friendly in Saudi Arabia

      Again you need to think about the alternatives (not to mention the alternatives available to the Saudi Regime). What exactly do you think the US should be doing instead? Bombing Mecca? Abandoning what influence it does have with the Saudi's? Pushing them towards Theorcracy (like Iran)?

      War is always hell, no matter what the reason...

      Sometimes peace is also hell. War is not and never has been the worst possible state of affairs. A peace in which good people are left at the mercy of bad people is almost always worse. I suggest you take a look at the Atlas of 20th century atrocities. You will find many human catastrophes that involved war. You will find many others that did not.

      Here's a link:

      Dealing with international problems often involves choosing between bad options. It is not any sort of objection to a policy to point out that it is a bad option. The only objection to a policy is that there is some better option available.
  • by Mikey-San ( 582838 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:04PM (#5557080) Homepage Journal
    Why not do what we're doing to news outlets, and Slashdot Iraq?

    They'll collapse in /minutes./

    mikey-san@bungie777org | sed s/777/./
  • Iraq & Bush (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nycsubway ( 79012 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:05PM (#5557095) Homepage
    George Bush is a born-again christian. He has come to beleive that he was able to stop drinking alcohol because of god, not because of his wife. This makes him dangerous because he now feels that he has one mission in life, and that mission is destroy the 'axis of evil'.

    Whether this is good for the United States or the world is not important to him. He sees things as black and white. Either its good or its bad. People like that are dangerous because they are incapable of seeing someone else's point of view. It's especially dangerous if that person is in a place of power. They should be able to see many peoples view points if they are in power, otherwise they are not representing the interests of the people they govern. And George has done that. He has taken it upon himself to go to war to route-out evil doers. Even if most of the United State's allies dont want war.

    George has let the economy slide and has paid more attention to a country that's doing nothing that to his own country. This war will not be quick, it will take a long time. We will be in Iraq and the middle east for years to come. Well beyond when Bush's term ends, we will still have soldiers in the middle east. If we dont, all the factions and groups of militants and regular citizens will begin to fight for power, just like they have for thousands of years. Certain groups in the middle east will begin to hate us even more, the Saudis, the Iranians, the Turks, and especially the terrorist groups for hire. They will all have reason to attack the United States, when before they had none.

    This is not a quick & simple war. It is not going to solve our problem with terrorism. George Bush has gotten the United States involved in something far worse than Vietnam.
    • by repoleved ( 569427 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:30PM (#5557487)
      I'd just like to take a moment to complain about how biased moderators have been on the topic of George Bush. It has been really noticeable. The parent post contained some degree of insight, and just because there was some criticism of George Bush, his post was labeled flamebait.

      I am 99% sure that the parent post was not intended to be flamebait, and that the moderators have been abusing their mod-points in labelling the parent post and similar posts (n.b., one of which I wrote) to be flamebait.
  • GPS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BigBir3d ( 454486 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:07PM (#5557118) Journal
    Anyone with a GPS notice the difference in accuracy today? I heard civilian stuff is to be accurate to 100 to 300 feet. Is that what people are finding?
  • by CoolVibe ( 11466 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:07PM (#5557120) Journal
    For dutch people, check here []. They have CNBC, Euronews, BBC-World, Deutsche Welle, CCCTV, and also the Iraqi state television (from sattelite).

    Available in the netherlands only, sorry :(

  • by artemis67 ( 93453 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:07PM (#5557126)
    Taco posts a message about the 3 or 4 oil wells that are on fire, but the big story is here [].

    A senior military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said military intelligence was picking up signs and "circumstantial evidence" that Saddam and his senior leadership were either incapacitated or out of communication with battlefield commanders. It was too early to say if they were killed or wounded.

    "We are seeing no coordinated response to our first attack," the official said. "It's little things here and there. Some individual commanders are hunkering down while others are launching small attacks and setting fires."

    Military officials "believe it is significant that there is a lack of coordination and significant resistance to what we did," the official added.

    Granted, it's too early to be so optimistic, but surely the lack of any battlefield coordination in Iraq after an attempted hit on Hussein is a bigger story than the 4 oil wells that are on fire.
  • by Gannoc ( 210256 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:08PM (#5557133)
    I see a lot of people who say they are getting sick of hearing people say "Support the Troops!".

    The reason you keep hearing this, is that this country is still ashamed at its treatment of Vietnam War veterans. A lot of people still think of war protesters as hippies who scream accusations of "Baby killer!" at veterans.

    Everyone wants to make sure that no matter how much you disagree with the politics of the administration or the military as a whole, you never turn your anger on the individual solders, sailors, airmen and marines who are out there doing their jobs.

  • by Ravenscall ( 12240 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:13PM (#5557207)
    "the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do."

    Samuel P. Huntington

  • Advice to troops (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cafebabe ( 151509 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:22PM (#5557339)
    I found this speech to be very moving. I just hope the US troops are getting the same advice as the Brits. Somehow I doubt it.


    UK troops told: Be just and strong

    British troops waiting to attack Iraq have been told to behave like liberators rather than conquerors. But they have also been warned some of them may not return from Iraq alive. Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins gave the battlegroup of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish the pep talk as the US deadline for Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq or face action ticked away.
    Reporters said the men listened in silence to the address at Fort Blair Mayne desert camp, 20 miles from the Iraqi border.
    "We go to liberate not to conquer. We will not fly our flags in their country," he said.
    "We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own. Show respect for them.
    "There are some who are alive at this moment who will not be alive shortly. Those who do not wish to go on that journey, we will not send.

    "As for the others I expect you to rock their world. Wipe them out if that is what they choose. But if you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory.
    "Iraq is steeped in history. It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birthplace of Abraham. Tread lightly there.
    "You will see things that no man could pay to see and you will have to go a long way to find a more decent, generous and upright people than the Iraqis.

    "You will be embarrassed by their hospitality even though they have nothing.
    "Don't treat them as refugees for they are in their own country. Their children will be poor, in years to come they will know that the light of liberation in their lives was brought by you.
    "If there are casualties of war then remember that when they woke up and got dressed in the morning they did not plan to die this day.
    "Allow them dignity in death. Bury them properly and mark their graves."

    To his 800 men - an arm of the 16 Air Assault Brigade - he said: "It is my foremost intention to bring every single one of you out alive but there may be people among us who will not see the end of this campaign.
    "We will put them in their sleeping bags and send them back. There will be no time for sorrow.
    "The enemy should be in no doubt that we are his nemesis and that we are bringing about his rightful destruction.
    "There are many regional commanders who have stains on their souls and they are stoking the fires of hell for Saddam.

    "He and his forces will be destroyed by this coalition for what they have done. As they die they will know their deeds have brought them to this place. Show them no pity."
    He said: "It is a big step to take another human life. It is not to be done lightly.
    "I know of men who have taken life needlessly in other conflicts, I can assure you they live with the mark of Cain upon them.
    "If someone surrenders to you then remember they have that right in international law and ensure that one day they go home to their family.
    "The ones who wish to fight, well, we aim to please."
    He warned the troops not to get carried away in the heat of battle.
    "If you harm the regiment or its history by over enthusiasm in killing or in cowardice, know it is your family who will suffer.

    "You will be shunned unless your conduct is of the highest for your deeds will follow you down through history. We will bring shame on neither our uniform or our nation."
    Warning that the troops were very likely to face chemical or biological weapons, he said: "It is not a question of if, it's a question of when. We know he has already devolved the decision to lower commanders, and that means he has already taken the decision himself. If we survive the first strike we will survive the attack."
    His closing words were resolute: "As for ourselves, let's bring everyone home and leave Iraq a better place for us having been there. Our business now is north."
    • Re:Advice to troops (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TopShelf ( 92521 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:40PM (#5557623) Homepage Journal
      Whatever else you may say about the Brits, they have some awfully fine orators. Just flip back and forth between C-SPAN coverage of our Congress and the Prime Minister's question time in the House of Commons to get a comparison that puts our legislators to shame...
    • Re:Advice to troops (Score:5, Informative)

      by madro ( 221107 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:45PM (#5557682)
      (Care of the Wall Street Journal ...)

      In explaining the mission of our soldiers, we can't do any better than Major-General J.N. Mattis, commander of the 1st Marine Division now heading somewhere into Iraq. Here is what he told his troops in his "Message to All Hands" on the eve of war:

      "For decades, Saddam Hussein has tortured, imprisoned, raped and murdered the Iraqi people; invaded neighboring countries without provocation; and threatened the world with weapons of mass destruction. The time has come to end his reign of terror. On your young shoulders rest the hopes of mankind.

      "When I give you the word, together we will cross the Line of Departure, close with those forces that choose to fight, and destroy them. Our fight is not with the Iraqi people, nor is it with members of the Iraqi army who choose to surrender. While we will move swiftly and aggressively against those who resist, we will treat all others with decency, demonstrating chivalry and soldierly compassion for people who have endured a lifetime under Saddam's oppression.

      "Chemical attack, treachery, and use of the innocent as human shields can be expected, as can other unethical tactics. Take it all in stride. Be the hunter, not the hunted: Never allow your unit to be caught with its guard down. Use good judgment and act in best interests of our Nation.

      "You are part of the world's most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon. Share your courage with each other as we enter the uncertain terrain north of the Line of Departure. Keep faith in your comrades on your left and right and Marine Air overhead. Fight with a happy heart and strong spirit.

      "For the mission's sake, our country's sake, and the sake of the men who carried the Division's colors in past battles -- who fought for life and never lost their nerve -- carry out your mission and keep your honor clean. Demonstrate to the world there is 'No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy' than a U.S. Marine."
  • by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:23PM (#5557361)
    We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it. And we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into a trial of the causes of the war, for our position is that no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy.

    Those words were uttered by Supreme Court Justice Robert L. Jackson, the U.S. representative to the International Conference on Military Trials in Nuremberg at the close of World War II. But what did he know? That was in 1945, when everyone was complacent and comfortable. After 9/11, "everything is different" or something. A logical foreign policy is apparently a luxury we can no longer afford.

    • Nurf-Bombs (Score:4, Funny)

      by N8F8 ( 4562 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:43PM (#5557651)
      in other news...Iraqi forces have agreed to lie down and play dead if US forces agree to switch to Nurf Bombs.
  • by chimpo13 ( 471212 ) <> on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:26PM (#5557417) Homepage Journal 8

    There's a picture of both Optimus Primes (Optimii Prime?) on the site.

    National guardman changed his name to a toy

    CUYAHOGA FALLS -- A member of Ohio's 5694th National Guard Unit in Mansfield legally changed his name to a Transformers toy.

    Optimus Prime is heading out to the Middle East with his guard unit on Wednesday to provide fire protection for airfields under combat.

    "On Sunday, we were awarded as the best firefighting unit in the Army National Guard in the entire country," said Prime. "That was a big moment for us."

    Prime took his name from the leader of the Autobots Transformers, which were popular toys and a children's cartoon in the 1980s.

    He legally changed his name on his 30th birthday and now it's on everything from his driver's licence, to his military ID, to his uniform.

    "They razzed me for three months to no end," said Prime. "They really dug into me about it."

    "I got a letter from a general at the Pentagon when the name change went through and he says it was great to have the employ of the commander of the Autobots in the National Guard."

    Prime says the toy actually filled a void in his life when it came out.

    "My dad passed away the year before and I didn't have anybody really around, so I really latched onto him when i was a kid," he said.
  • by Crynn ( 660534 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:29PM (#5557466)

    It seems to me that there's a huge, gaping black hole in the discussion of this war. According to the Poll du Jour, we have the choices of:
    A) being all for the war, supporting the president and the troops 100%, and let's nuke Iraq 'till it glows!
    B) War is bad. Always Bad. Never go to war. NEVER. Anybody who goes to war (i.e. members of the military) is a murder.

    Unfortunately, back here in reality-land, it's not so simple....and I've heard from several personal sources, that the people who are over in the Middle East right now are being told that the Anti-war protests are against them. Personally. That's a problem!

    About 10 days ago, a group of military families formed in Suburban Chicago to support each other and to remind their loved ones overseas that while many of us do not support or endorse the politics behind this war, we DO love and support the soldiers whose job it is to go fight it. Being the techy I am, I of course felt the need to help this group get online...if anyone is interested in joining this growing online community, and expressing your support, you can visit [].

    And I'll brace for the / kind to my little server!

  • irc newsfeeds (Score:4, Informative)

    by carpe_noctem ( 457178 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:34PM (#5557538) Homepage Journal
    For those of you without access to television, you can also get the latest news on IRC:

    slashnet -> #newswire (periodic updates)
    efnet -> #cnn-live (live closed-caption feed from CNN)

    These are the only 2 I've found so far. If anyone has other suggestions, please reply to this comment.
  • by mrm677 ( 456727 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @02:45PM (#5557687)
    Its not a war. The last declaration of war by the United States occurred December 8th, 1941.

    It is a conflict!! The media is fixated on using the word "war".
  • by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @03:12PM (#5557980)
    What the hell do troop movements in the Middle East have to do with "News for Nerds"?

    If I want shoddily reported, unsubstantiated rumors about the war, I can go to CNN. I count on Slashdot to give me shoddily reported, unsubstantiated rumors about technology.
  • Island Life (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tiger Smile ( 78220 ) <james@ d o r> on Thursday March 20, 2003 @03:59PM (#5558533) Homepage

    Imagine you are one of 20 people on a small island. One of the other people has a gun. They are the only one with a gun.

    One day there is a loud gun shot, and everyone runs over to find that the guy with the gun shot someone else dead. He claims "He was evil. Trust me."

    You might think that he might shoot you next. Everyone treats the guy with the gun nice and all, like Billy Mummy in a Twilight Zone episode. "Yes, you did a good thing. That was really good. Shot the evil people. That's good."

    Unlike a TV show, the guy with the gun does need to sleep, and will be killed shortly.

    This is how I worry other countries will see us. If we make them worry about the gun we have, they will find unity in taking it away.
  • by sllim ( 95682 ) <(ten.knilhtrae) (ta) (ecnahca)> on Thursday March 20, 2003 @04:14PM (#5558746)
    That Slashdot not cover the war in Iraq.


    I love Slashdot. And I feel very strongly about the war in Iraq. The thing is that for some time in the very near future there will be no shortage on the web for coverage of the war. The newsites are going to run with every damn rumor like it is fact. And I (along with many, many other people) am going to be firmly addicted to that.

    It is nice to know that I can placate the geeky side of me in a politic free zone on Slashdot.

    It almost seems ironic, but Slashdot offers a unique site this day in age. Slashdot can serve the slashdot community best right now by being what Slashdot is.

    Maybe I didn't make that statement very well. I am just trying to say that Slashdot is the best site I know of for geeky news, and I love it.
    I also take great comfort that when I am all politicd out, wether it be the war on Iraq or whatever, I can go to Slashdot and enjoy it and my politics, or anyone elses don't matter.
    Your greatest service might be to stay a politic free zone.

    Thanks for listening.
    • by MrP- ( 45616 ) <jessica@supjCOLA ... m minus caffeine> on Thursday March 20, 2003 @04:48PM (#5559179)
      Slashdot editors dont listen to sllim.

      Not to bash you or anything, its your opinion but my opinion is that I'm glad slashdot is covering this.

      Slashdot can still cover geek news, and they are.

      The reason I like when slashdot covers stuff like this, 9/11, columbia, etc is not really the news reporting, but the community. I enjoy discussing this with other people all around the world that read slashdot. You get everyones opinions on the matter and not just the US news reports.

      Slashdot is a community of mostly nerds, but being nerds doesn't mean this war wont affect us.

      If you don't want to read about the war on /., just skip over these threads, but don't ask slashdot to ruin it for everyone else.
  • by VivianC ( 206472 ) <internet_update&yahoo,com> on Thursday March 20, 2003 @04:21PM (#5558830) Homepage Journal
    Funny how the US Marines sitting still in the desert have already seen more banned SCUD missiles than the inspectors found in six months of active searching!

    Hey! Just give peace a ch... INCOMING!!
  • Oh boy... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Thaelon ( 250687 ) on Thursday March 20, 2003 @08:58PM (#5561579)
    In George Orwell's 1984, the government is kept in control, in power, and justifies it's ruling methods by being constantly at War.

    The Spanish American War.
    World War I
    World War II
    Korean War
    Vietnam War
    The Gulf War
    War On Iraq

    War On Poverty
    War On Drugs
    War On Terrorism

    The First group isn't that alarming by its self, war happens, it's sometimes unavoidable from the standpoint of one side. But when combined with the second group I become worried.

Would you people stop playing these stupid games?!?!?!!!!