heatray5d: (thirdeye)
I can find no further sourcing on this, except for repost after repost throughout the echo chamber. There is a clear bias in this article, and some factual errors, but the point of it is that this is plausible. Certainly tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds of depleted uranium ammunition has been used in Iraq to date – if not the four million claimed in this article (written in 2004).

Depleted uranium is the primary material used in small-bore (30mm and below) armor-piercing rounds. Very little anti-personnel weaponry uses DU ammunition. It is also used in the core of anti-tank shells as a penetrator. The radiological danger of DU rounds is minimal unless – and this is important – it is taken into the body.

From wikipedia:
“On impact with a hard target, such as an armoured vehicle, the nose of the rod fractures in such a way that it remains sharp. The impact and subsequent release of heat energy causes it to disintegrate to dust and burn when it reaches air.”

It's worth noting, too, that these are bullets. Kind of the point of bullets is that they be forced into bodies at high velocity. Any kind of bullet, no matter what material it is made of, will deform, shatter, or pulverize when it strikes a target. So while all four million pounds may not be available for inhalation by the children of Iraq (not to mention our own soldiers and Marines), a significant proportion of it is.

So let's say that article is wildly inaccurate, and the actual amounts are a tenth of what is claimed, with only a quarter of that available for inhalation or ingestion. That's still one hundred thousand pounds of uranium dust – the equivalent of 6,250 Nagasaki bombs – the be kicked up out of the desert sand and into the lungs of the people we've saved.

The Wikipedia article is worth reading. In particular because the toxicity of DU rounds has not been conclusively proven. There are some interesting correlations, however, between the first Gulf War and an increase in cancers and birth defects.
heatray5d: (thirdeye)
Holy shit.

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, then the secretary of state, told National Public Radio he had traced a trail of memos and directives authorizing questionable detention practices up through Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's office directly to Cheney's staff.
Wilkerson also told National Public Radio that Cheney's office ran an "alternate national security staff" that spied on and undermined the president's formal National Security Council.
He said National Security Council staff stopped sending e-mails when they found out Cheney's staff members were reading their messages.
He said he believed that Cheney's staff prevented Bush from seeing a National Security Council memo arguing strongly that the United States needed many more troops for the March 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq.
heatray5d: (Dino Joy)
I've been reading a lot about the Fitzgerald investigation of the Plame outing lately. A lot of progressive bloggers hope against hope that the investigation leads Fitgerald to looking into the evidence used by the administration in the run up to war - specifically the evidence of an attempt by Iraq to purchase uranium from Niger.

If you care to, you can read a lot about the twisted path and the odd connections leading up to the delivery of the Niger documents into the hands of the Bush Administration, but the thing that keeps catching my eye is the constant reference to the forged documents as "crude." So I went to see if there was an image of the thing online.

Here's one.

Look at the letterhead.

Now, here's the other one. This one is more difficult to read, but if the date in the letter itself is to be believed, this letterhead was date-stamped nearly a year prior to writing the memo. That's a fine beuracratic mistake. Everyone makes mistakes like that. Although such a mistake suggests that someone was either fucking with the secretary's date-stamp, or no one in that office had written a letter in a year.

Now, look at the letterhead.

You've got a clearly hand drawn copy of the official seal of the Republic of Niger on the first document. Did the CIA actually look at that and say to themselves, "Well, if I ran out of CIA letterhead, I would just go ahead and draw the CIA logo on the top of a blank sheet. We've got carbon paper in the mimeograph room. Who's up for some tracing! God I love the smell of a fresh mimeograph."
heatray5d: (thirdeye)
Here's a line from a cartoon I was just watching for work:

"This ship was named after my mom and believe me, it can take more than you think."

Also: Giant, wind-powered animals. Click on the link for the rhinoceros transport at the low center-left and watch the movie (.mpg). It's worth it. The link is worksafe, and the movie has sound.

From CNN:
"U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday tried to dispel concern over the possibility that a civil war could erupt in Iraq between Sunni Arabs and Shiite Arabs."

The Wikipedia definition of a civil war:
"A civil war is a war in which the competing parties are segments of the same country or empire. Civil war is usually a high intensity stage in an unresolved political struggle for national control of state power. As in any war, the conflict may be over other matters such as religion, ethnicity, or distribution of wealth. Some civil wars are also categorized as revolutions when major societal restructuring is a possible outcome of the conflict.

"An insurgency, whether successful or not, is likely to be classified as a civil war by history if and only if organised armies fight conventional battles." [emphasis added]

From a recent Washington Post article, to which I don't have a link because their site requires registration:

"Shiite and Kurdish militias, often operating as part of Iraqi government security forces, have carried out a wave of abductions, assassinations and other acts of intimidation, consolidating their control over territory across northern and southern Iraq and deepening the country's divide along ethnic and sectarian lines . . ."

"'Here's the problem,' said Majid Sari, an adviser in the Iraqi Defense Ministry in Basra, who travels with a security detail of 25 handpicked Iraqi soldiers. 'They're taking money from the state, they're taking clothes from the state, they're taking vehicles from the state, but their loyalty is to the parties.'"

From the Wall Street Journal:

"Gen. McCaffrey also worries that the Pentagon's plan to equip Iraqi forces won't give them enough punch to survive on their own in the long term. He estimated in a postvisit report to Congress that the Iraqi Army needed 120 Black Hawk helicopters, 2,000 armored humvees and 2,000 M113 armored personnel carriers to be effective without U.S. support."

From Veterans for Common Sense:

"This month, more than 500 armored vehicles are to arrive for a force that now largely gets around in pickup trucks. Iraq's first armored brigade is now trained and in the field, and 77 Soviet-designed T-72 tanks donated to Iraq by Hungary are expected in Iraq soon."

Now, the WSJ article goes on to say that providing Blackhawks and M113s is extremely unlikely, given how little we're trying to spend on equipping the Iraqis. But T-72s are the prime choice of third world armies everywhere, and nothing to shake a stick at, unless you're shaking that stick from the pilot's compartment of an Abrams.

So, taking all of the above together, it seems like we're basically importing everything - from bullets to bombs - the locals need to stage those large scale, conventional battles Wiki requires to call the Iraqi insurgency a civil war. I think that's very interesting.
heatray5d: (Default)
Boy, I sure am glad we've got all the terrorists pinned down in Iraq. Better to fight and kill them over there than have them over here, killing us.
Jun. 29th, 2005 08:54 am

a funny

heatray5d: (hi!)
Courtesy, once again, of the National Review

"[W]hat made the speech effective was the setting: a room full of troops at Fort Bragg. By putting the president in front of a military audience, which ensured little if any interruptions for applause, the White House removed all semblance of political theater..."


heatray5d: (Default)

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