Post-9-11 events and analyses
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
U.S. scales back democracy goals in Iraq:
"While publicly stressing the need for Iraqis to control their own destiny, the Bush administration is working behind the scenes to coax its closest Iraqi allies into a coalition that could dominate elections scheduled for January. U.S. authorities in Washington and Iraqi politicians confirmed that top White House officials have told leaders of the six major parties that were on the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council that it would be in the groups' common interest to present a unified electoral slate.
The U.S. effort to influence the parliamentary elections is highly sensitive, coming at a time when President Bush daily expresses his desire to bring liberty and democracy to a nation that for decades has known only authoritarian rule. But the White House move stems from concerns that neighboring Iran is using its money and influence to try to sway the elections in its favor. One U.S. official in Washington said the administration now believes Iraq needs a "negotiated resolution … a scaled-back democratic process."
Between the two conflicting key goals, "I see the arguments for stability now outweighing the calls for democracy," said the official.." 10:35:28 PM
Civil claims provide glimpse into war's impact on Iraqi citizens: Dayton reporters review "4,611 never-before-released civil claims from Iraq — hundreds alleging abuse and misconduct by American military personnel — on a computer database obtained by the Dayton Daily News through the federal Freedom of Information Act. The U.S. Army tort claims database is the most comprehensive public record released to date of alleged acts against Iraqi civilians by American forces, which do not otherwise systematically track civilian casualties.
The records provide a previously unseen portrait of the toll the war has had on civilians in Iraq, and the kinds of incidents described in the records have fueled the growing insurgency and hatred toward the American-led coalition. ..
"When we first got there, the Iraqis were glad to see us. I believe things changed because there was disrespect to the people," said Elizabeth Wisdorf of Colorado Springs, Colo., who served for nearly a year in Iraq as a member of the Colorado National Guard's 220th Military Police Company. "There were a lot of accidents, a lot of deaths." 10:00:29 PM
Building on the large and successful wikipedia community, a news site is proposed, with review before publication and links to sources. "We seek to create a free source of news, where every human being is invited to contribute reports about events large and small, either from direct experience, or summarized from elsewhere. Wikinews is founded on the idea that we want to create something new, rather than destroy something old. ..
While Wikinews aims to be a useful resource of its own, it will also provide an alternative to proprietary news agencies like the Associated Press or Reuters; that is, it will allow independent media outfits to get a high quality feed of news free of charge to complement their own reporting. Thanks to copyleft, anyone can create their own free news source - even a non-neutral one - on the basis of our work. Even if our articles will initially be few, they will be free, permanently available and not require registration before reading.
While we are faced with many new challenges, Wikinews will adopt the key principles which have made Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia websites what they are today: neutrality, free content, and an open decision making process.
We seek to promote the idea of the citizen journalist, because we believe that everyone can make a useful contribution to painting the big picture of what is happening in the world around us. The time has come to create a free news source, by the people and for the people. We invite you to join us in this effort which has the potential to change the world forever." A potentially important source to open source intelligence. 9:30:27 PM
Cheney loses his cool:
"On Sept. 28, at the Vice President's request, the Agency provided a special briefing on the subject of Jordanian terrorist Mu'sab al-Zarqawi. The CIA's Counter Terrorism Center (CTC) reviewed all of the available intelligence on the subject and based its briefing on a just completed comprehensive intelligence analysis. The CTC concluded that Saddam Hussein had not materially supported Zarqawi before the U.S.-led invasion and that Zarqawi's infrastructure in Iraq before the war was confined to the northern no-fly zones of Kurdistan, beyond Baghdad's reach. Cheney reacted with fury, screaming at the briefer that CIA was trying to get John Kerry elected by contradicting the president's stance that Saddam had supported terrorism and therefore needed to be overthrown. The hapless briefer was shaken by the vice president's outburst, and the incident was reported back to Goss, who indicated that he was reluctant to confront the vice president's staff regarding it. " 4:00:27 PM
President Kerry and Europe: "From an Oxford professor currently at Stanford: "This U.S. election will shape the future of Europe and the trans- atlantic West. If President Bush is reelected, many Europeans will try to make the European Union a rival superpower to the United States.
Led by French President Jacques Chirac, they will find the main justification for further European integration in counterbalancing what they see as irresponsible, unchecked American power. In the great European argument between Euro-Gaullists and Euro-Atlanticists, these Euro-Gaullists will be strengthened. The temptation for Europe to define itself as Not America will be increased. All this at a formative moment when an enlarged European Union is hoping to give itself a new constitution and work out what it wants to be. ..
Even more important, in the longer term, is China. Chirac has been pursuing a shameless policy of wooing China, for French economic advantage and to poke Washington in the eye. He has endorsed Beijing's position on Taiwan and said the E.U. embargo on arms exports to China should be lifted. This raises the grotesque prospect of European weapons being pointed at American warships in the Taiwan Strait. But of course it's not France that is calling the shots here. In the 1970s, Henry Kissinger played the China card against the Soviet Union. Today, China is playing the European card against the United States. ..
If, however, Americans choose Sen. John F. Kerry as their 44th president, we will have a chance of reconstructing the transatlantic West on a new basis."" 3:44:52 PM