JS Kelly jskelly@jskelly.com
Wed, 26 Mar 2003 11:20:09 -0800 (PST)

Thank you, Owen, for posting that. And to the list, I completely take back
my one-time complaint that the Internet sucks. It doesn't. On the

I also wanted to share some of the few bits I have read recently which
made me laugh -- as laughter is such a powerful stress reliever:


7) well so we are offending russia now as well. because " Moscow has
denied that Russian companies have been selling deadly military equipment
to Iraq. "  so i have to say something about this. it is probably
reference to those anti-tank !!!wire!!!!guided missiles. well let's get
real here. those are ancient devices. i bet they are there in iraq from
the time of cold war.  yeah those things are made in soviet union block. 
i've been there in czechoslovak socialist republic mandatory peoples'
democratic army so i know what these are. i've been trained in late
eighties to use them to hit big fifties american sherman tank from the
distance of roughly some 300 yards. they are absolutely useless things. it
is like trying to compute size of a black hole in another galaxy on atari
or commodore. from all the trainees in our year only one was able to get
it roughly going in proper direction and please mind that we all had hours
of experience with devices like that from our childhood and wire guided
small cars on backyards. none of us was ever able to hit the target with
this weapon. i think that if iraq army was able to use these and hit
anything including their own troops they do deserve our big applause.


On Wed, 26 Mar 2003, Owen Byrne wrote:

> This column is on the front page of our local paper  - but I note CNN 
> has mentioned "wad of bills" - it seems to be the primary way the
>  US is identifying so-called "fedayeen."
> Military intelligence looks like its well on its way (back) to oxymoron 
> status.
> Owen
> http://www.herald.ns.ca/cgi-bin/home/displaystory?2003/03/26+221.raw+Today+2003/03/26
> Ignorance breeds U.S. fears :Taylor
> By Scott Taylor <mailto:staylor@herald.ns.ca> ON IRAQ
> Ankara, Turkey - ABOUT ONE MONTH ago, a number of foreign journalists 
> based in Baghdad were discussing the possible start date and potential 
> development of a U.S. intervention in Iraq. The contribution from one 
> American reporter may yet prove to be prophetic.
> "Whatever they do, the last thing the Iraqis want to achieve is any 
> initial success against the U.S. forces," he said, "because the only 
> thing more dangerous than the U.S. military is the U.S. military when 
> it's scared."
> To illustrate his point, the American journalist used the example of the 
> loss of American helicopters in Somalia, immortalized in the 2002 
> Hollywood blockbuster Black Hawk Down.
> "Although everyone focused on the American losses (18 killed and dozens 
> more badly wounded), what is overlooked is that the U.S. shot the hell 
> out of the Somalis in the battle," explained the journalist. "Only when 
> the final credits (of the movie) roll past do they note that some 500 
> Somalis were killed and (over) 1,000 more were injured in that firefight."
> With Iraqi resistance stiffening and U.S. forces suffering their first 
> fatalities, it would seem the allied front-line forces are no longer as 
> confident that this operation will be a cakewalk.
> Compounding this situation is the old axiom that ignorance breeds fear. 
> And from initial media reports, it is evident that both the allied 
> soldiers and the embedded journalists who accompany them have virtually 
> no understanding of the circumstances that surround them.
> For instance, following the U.S. setback in Nasiriyah, now dubbed Ambush 
> Alley by the U.S. forces, the Marines have become understandably jumpy. 
> It was in this southern Iraqi city that the allies have suffered their 
> most serious losses to date (10 dead, 50 wounded and 12 captured on the 
> first day of fighting alone).
> But from published quotes, it would appear that U.S. personnel were 
> never properly briefed about Iraq.
> On Monday, a number of Iraqi men, dressed in civilian clothes, were 
> detained by a U.S. Marine security detail in An Nasiriyah after a search 
> revealed they were carrying a large amount of Iraqi dinar notes. Lieut. 
> Matt Neely, the U.S. Marine officer responsible for overseeing security 
> in this city, was quoted as saying, "These individuals were suspicious 
> because who carries a wad of cash in their pocket but has no shoes on?"
> Obviously, this was Lieut. Neely's first contact with Iraqis, and he has 
> no idea about the local currency. With the Iraqi dinar devalued by some 
> 7,000 per cent since 1990, everyone in Iraq carries "a wad of cash." 
> (For example, $20 Cdn would amount to a stack of dinars about 10 
> centimetres thick.) As for the lack of footwear among Iraqi soldiers, 
> this is something that has been commented upon by many foreign 
> journalists reporting from inside Iraq to exemplify the sorry state of 
> Saddam's forces.
> Proving to be equally ignorant of circumstances within Iraq was one 
> Kuwait City-based reporter for the British Broadcasting Corp. He 
> repeated a Pentagon statement that the U.S. 3rd Division had captured 
> what it believed to be a site containing weapons of mass destruction. 
> While the news anchor noted that no proof had been offered as yet, the 
> field reporter added his own speculation.
> "What made this site particularly suspicious is that it was hidden 
> behind a sand berm - or wall of sand - so as to make it invisible from 
> the air," he said.
> If the presence of a sand berm is grounds for suspicion, then all of 
> Iraq is littered with potential sites of weapons of mass destruction. 
> Anyone who has driven outside of Baghdad, regardless of the direction 
> taken, will recognize the ignorance of this BBC correspondent's 
> statement. The Iraqi military - and even most civilian firms - uses sand 
> berms to surround all of its facilities. While offering only the most 
> primitive protection from munitions, sand berms do provide protection 
> from the wind and are simply an inexpensive means of marking out territory.
> Likewise, the allied forcesā "discovery" that Iraqi soldiers had been 
> issued with gas masks was also misreported. Many reporters speculated 
> that the equipping of Iraqi soldiers with such protective measures could 
> only mean that Saddam Hussein intended to use his chemical arsenal. 
> "After all," they concluded, "the Iraqis know that the U.S. and British 
> troops would never use such illegal weapons."
> The fact is, the Iraqi army - like virtually every other military force 
> in the world - has always issued gas masks to its soldiers. In fact, 
> many Iraqi civilians have stocked up on military surplus gas masks as 
> well. This is not to protect their families from Saddam's chemical 
> weapons but because they are under the mistaken belief the gas masks 
> will offer them a measure of protection against radioactive fallout in 
> the event of a U.S. nuclear strike.
> Fear-mongering continues at the highest levels. When images of U.S. 
> prisoners were broadcast on Iraqi television, U.S. President George W. 
> Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair immediately denounced the 
> spectacle as a "war crime contravening the Geneva Convention." While the 
> fact that U.S. personnel have been captured is certainly embarrassing to 
> the allies, it is a hell of a stretch to call this a war crime. (Don't 
> we televise images nightly of captured Iraqis?)
> Bush's warning to Iraqi officials "not to harm" the prisoners seems 
> unnecessary given the footage that was broadcast. All the U.S. service 
> members appeared to be unhurt as they sat sipping water in front of the 
> Iraqi cameras. What was disturbing was that they all looked terrified, 
> and that isn't a good omen for how this war will develop.