Friday, June 02, 2006


Song of the Day


“I dont suppose anybody ever deliberately listens to a watch or clock. You dont have to. You can be oblivious to the sound for a long while, then in a second of ticking it can create in the mind unbroken the long diminishing parade of time you didn’t hear…Christ was not crucified: he was worn away by a minute clicking of little wheels.”—The Sound and the Fury

“I don’t want to administer a program that satisfies the conditions of genocide.” –David 'It's been emotional' Halliday, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, referring to the Iraqi sanctions after his resignation from his 34 year career in the UN in 1998.

“The humanitarian disaster which has occurred in Iraq far exceeds what may be any reasonable level of acceptable damages according to the principles of discrimination and proportionality used in warfare.” --Richard Garfield, in a 1999 report on that’s often cited as the most conservative death toll estimate (350,000 through 2002).

“The best we can say is that in Kosovo, and in Iraq, all-out war has been avoided for the time being. But unless people abide by their commitments, and unless they redouble their efforts to find peaceful solutions, we have every reason to fear the worst in 1999.” –Kofi Annan at the end of 1998. The NATO bombing of Yugoslavia started on March 24th 1999. The invasion of Iraq did not start until four years later on March 20th 2003.

“I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it."—Madeline Albright, when ambushed with the but-half-a-million-Iraqi-children-died question by a reporter in 1996.

“Most Iraqis…feel they were handed the worst possible outcome from the Gulf War -- sanctions and Saddam.”—Paul Wolfowitz in 1997.

“Say what you will about it, it was thirty years of peace.” –Brent Scowcroft in summarizing the last thirty years in the Middle East.

“Then they talked about what they would do with twenty-five dollars. They all talked at once, their voices insistent and contradictory and impatient, making of unreality a possibility, then a probability, then an incontrovertible fact, as people will when their desires become words.”—The Sound and the Fury

“Outsiders who have not dealt with Iraq cannot easily understand the extent to which the terror of the Hussein years has penetrated that unhappy nation.”—Rolf Ekeus, head of UNSCOM from 1991-1997, currently OSCE High Commissioner of Ethical Minorites, in making the case for war.

“Iraq always gave up materials once it was in its interest to do so. Iraq has spent the past 30 years building up an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Although the current threat presented by Iraq militarily is modest, both in terms of conventional and unconventional weapons, it has never given up its intent to develop and stockpile such weapons for both military and terrorist use…The link with al-Qaeda is disputed, but is, in any case, not the principal terrorist link of concern. Iraq has long trained and supported terrorist activities and is quite capable of initiating such activity using its security services.”—the late weapons inspector Dr. David Kelly advocating regime change on his own terms.

"Ironically, Kelly, like most of the weapons inspectors, probably wasn't suspicious enough of the intelligence on Iraqi WMD."--Juan Cole.

"When he assumed his post as the chief U.N. weapons inspector inspector in 1997, Richard Butler, an Australian arms control expert, told Anthony Zinni that whether the Americans liked it or not he was prepared to give the Iraqis a clean bill of health if they complied with the terms of the U.N inspections. When Zinni saw Butler again a few months later the UN inspector seemed frustrated beyond endurance. 'He was the angriest most pissed off man in the world. He hated Tariq Aziz and his silk suits and his cigars and the sufferring of the people and the lies and the deception,' Zinni recalled. 'It was clear to the inspectors, I think, that even if you could not find smoking guns that Saddam had the framework to restart a program.'"--Cobra II

“A war in Iraq might not be the greatest humanitarian disaster of all times as some critics argue. But it is surely one of the major opportunities to reduce potential humanitarian damage in the world. To date, the lack of open discussion to address these risks and reduce harm is in striking contrast to the very public dissemination of plans for war.” –Richard Garfield, in correspondence in Lancet, 2003.

We had filed a three-month report the week before, and Madeline Albright was leading the strong resistance to the wording of a new mandate that would include our “ensuring” stability and security in the province of Rwanda. “In her view, it would be more practical to describe the task as the ‘promotion’ of stability,” the code cable read. How far does one go up the scale in the use of force to achieve “promotion” without getting into “ensuring”? How could a junior officer understand the resultant new ROE in the field? Once again, we could end up with soldiers injured and dying, and more innocent people sacrificed, because of nuances in mandate that the politicos did not fully comprehend. I had terribly mixed feelings about my departure but all it took was a code cable such as this or another frustrating session with the administration gang to reaffirm my total incapacity to accept any more excuses, delays or budget limitations.—Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, Force Commander of UNAMIR


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