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[casi] News, 15-22/11/02 (6)

News, 15-22/11/02 (6)


*  Pentagon Schools Reporters for Possible Iraq War
*  Iraqi army is tougher than US believes
*  International Law Has Failed to Lessen Horrors of War
*  Saddam's regime prepares for escape from Iraq
*  US puts microwave bomb on Iraqi menu
*  A Modest Proposal: Let Iran "Liberate" Iraq
*  After Saddam
*  US again turns its back on Afghans
*  Nasty surprise for US airmen


by Jim Wolf
Yahoo, 16th November

ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Maryland (Reuters) - The Pentagon launched a
military education program for U.S. and foreign reporters on Saturday aimed
at giving greater media access to possible future battlefields in Iraq and
elsewhere and training them how to survive chemical attacks.

Nearly 60 reporters, camera operators and photographers from more than 30
news organizations and three countries showed up for what military officials
said was the most ambitious effort of its kind since at least the Vietnam

Three more week-long sessions are planned in the next months, including one
to take place abroad, possibly at a U.S. military base in Germany. Military
officials said they planned to offer more classes to help educate reporters,
many of whom, unlike earlier generations, have no military experience.

The boot camp for journalists includes emergency-procedure training at sea,
notably fire fighting, damage control and surviving nuclear, chemical or
biological attack.

For the ground-force piece at the Marine Corp's base at Quantico, Virginia,
reporters will operate with Marines in "live-fire" situations and amid
simulated biological and chemical attacks

"The bottom line is that the more access we can facilitate, taking into
consideration all the things we do -- operational security, safety -- the
better off we all are," said Victoria Clarke, the Defense Department's chief

The Pentagon hoped to raise the media's and the military's "comfort level"
in dealings with each other, notably so that military commanders would
welcome more coverage of future combat operations.

Reporters and the U.S. military have often been at loggerheads over access
to the front lines of conflict.

During the 1991 U.S.-led war that drove Iraqi invaders from Kuwait, for
instance, many news organizations complained that they could get access to
nothing more than military briefings in hotel ballrooms in Saudi Arabia.

Clarke said the Defense Department's view was that, the more the public can
see of U.S. military forces in action, "the more support we'll have over the
long haul."

"We firmly believe that when we're dealing with the kind of people we may be
dealing with  - who are very good at lies, deception and disinformation --
the most credible (thing) is that people see it and read it," she said.

"So we think it's the right thing to do and we certainly think it's in our
interest to do it."

She referred to the boot camp-like training as part of "contingency"
planning for any use of force by President Bush to make sure that President
Saddam Hussein of Iraq retains no banned nuclear, chemical or biological

Reporters who have covered U.S. military operations in the past welcomed the
Pentagon's pledge to open up more slots for front-line coverage.

"I just hope this genuinely signals a new era of letting journalists go in
on the ground during combat operations," said Eric Westervelt, a National
Public Radio correspondent who covers the Pentagon and who reported from
Afghanistan during U.S. operations there after Sept. 11, 2001.

"This is a long-term commitment," said Captain Brian Cullin, director of the
Navy-hosted leg taking place on the amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima and
ashore at Norfolk, Virginia. "It's going to be a regular investment. We'll
be doing this regularly, consistently over the next few years.",3604,841182,00.html

by Toby Dodge
The Guardian, 16th November

With just two days to go before the UN weapons inspectors arrive in Baghdad,
George Bush's administration is still beating the war drum. On Thursday
night, Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, confidently predicted that,
should a war erupt, the Iraqi army would soon surrender in the face of
overwhelming US force. He noted that in the first Gulf war, when allied
forces pushed Iraq out of Kuwait, ground combat had lasted only 100 hours.

"I can't say if the use of force would last five days or five weeks or five
months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that," he said.
"It won't be a world war three."

You have always got to hope for minimum loss of life in any war, but Mr
Rumsfeld's prognosis about the speed of an Iraqi army collapse is
ideologically driven and strategically ill-informed.

In the event of an invasion, US forces will face an army that has been
thoroughly indoctrinated, with party commissars in every unit. In addition,
a ruthless system of surveillance and constant purges mean that the officer
corps has had to renounce political activity to survive. To quote President
Saddam Hussein: "With our party methods, there is no chance for anyone who
disagrees with us jumping into a couple of tanks and overthrowing the
government. These methods have gone."

It is true that Iraqi resistance in the 1991 Gulf war was negligible. The
troops that surrendered in their thousands to coalition forces were badly
trained, poorly led and had often not been fed for days. The war was a
one-sided affair, with the Iraqis overwhelmed by superior weapons,
technology and air power.

However, it is often forgotten that the Iraqi leadership made no serious
attempt to defend Kuwait City. The fortifications were half-hearted and
badly planned. They were primarily designed for propaganda, to convince
coalition forces that military liberation would be too costly. Despite the
portrayal of a heroic resistance in the "mother of all battles", once the
ground war began, President Saddam quickly withdrew most of the republican
guard, redeploying them around Baghdad to guard his regime. Substandard and
ill-prepared troops were left to face certain defeat.

After the Gulf war defeat, the Iraqi army was cut to less than half its
original size. The idea was to create a smaller, more disciplined force,
ideologically committed to defending the regime. For more than a decade
Washington has looked to this army for regime change. Today, the US
government still hopes a coup triggered by an invasion will save American
troops the high cost of fighting through Baghdad's streets to reach the
presidential palace.

Like Washington, President Saddam is also aware of the dangers the Iraqi
armed forces pose to his continued rule. To counter this he has staffed the
upper ranks with individuals tied to him by bonds of tribal loyalty or
personal history. Like him, most officers are Sunni Arabs, the country's
traditional ruling class. They are outnumbered by Shia Muslims and well
aware of the resentment towards them.

In addition, members of President Saddam's tribe, the Albu-Nasir, and those
hailing from his hometown, Tikrit, dominate the army and security services'
command, benefiting from regime patronage and enforcing his rule. They are
also more than aware of the anger that will be directed at them if he goes.
Because of this, those hoping for a coup may be disappointed. The regime has
created a "coalition of guilt" that underpins its continued rule with
corruption and great fear about what will happen when it is finally toppled.

In contrast to 1991, the battle this time will be not for a foreign land but
for the very survival of a regime many have spent their lives serving. An
invading US army will face 375,000 Iraqi troops and 2,200 tanks.

Analysts are right to point out that the army as a whole has suffered
greatly during more than a decade of sanctions. Beyond elite regiments,
equipment is old and badly maintained. Estimates suggest that the army is
only 50% combat effective, and regular troops may well behave as they did in
1991, fleeing the battlefield once war begins. On the other hand, President
Saddam has surrounded himself with a robust security system spreading out in
three concentric rings. The security services become more disciplined,
motivated and reliable the closer they are to the president.

The republican guard makes up the first ring of the regime's security.
Stationed on the three main roads to Baghdad, this parallel military force
totals between 50,000 and 70,000 men.

They are better paid than ordinary soldiers and much more likely to remain
loyal. Many stood by their posts during the Gulf war, losing a third of
their tanks. In the aftermath, they played the lead role in suppressing Shia
and Kurdish revolts in the north and south of the country.

The next ring of security is the special republican guard, formed in the
1980s when the republican guard became too large to be totally trusted.
Consisting of 26,000 men, they are the only troops stationed in Baghdad. The
loyalty of this force's officers is beyond doubt. About 80% of them come
from the same region as President Saddam, and they have been used as the
regime's main tool for policing Iraq.

Finally, surrounding President Saddam and the 50 or so people who rule Iraq
are a myriad of competing security organisations. Each one is charged with
overseeing the others, and they are headed by a small group of individuals
who are keenly aware that their continued health and prosperity is dependent
upon the rule of their boss. They too would fight to the last to defend him.

One of the main problems during the Iran-Iraq war was the army's inability
to act on its own initiative. To counter this, Baghdad has reportedly
decentralised its army command and control down to the lowest level
possible. Responsibility for each urban centre, from Basra in the south to
Mosul in the north, has been delegated to a trusted high-ranking soldier.
Each town has been garrisoned with troops, and stockpiles of weapons and
food have been built up.

Should hostilities start, martial law would be declared and troops brought
on to the streets. The ministry of information has developed a highly
efficient press handling system. Once bombing begins, with its inevitable
civilian casualties, the hope is that international press coverage will put
pressure on Washington to stop the war prematurely, as it did in 1991.

Baghdad will be key. It is within this sprawling city of five million that
US troops will have to hunt down the Iraqi dictator and his close
associates. With this in mind, all troops and security services loyal to the
government will in the last instance be massed in and around the capital.

Caught between a potentially hostile Iraqi population bent on revenge and an
invading army committed to regime change, those fighting alongside President
Saddam will have little choice but to remain loyal to the end. The result
could be the worst-case scenario for US military planners: an organised,
committed and disciplined force with nowhere to go, defending a highly
populated urban area. In front of the world's media, US troops would have
the unenviable task of distinguishing these forces from the wider, innocent,
civilian population.

If Mr Bush orders US troops to invade Iraq to topple the regime, it will not
only be the most important and risky decision of his presidency, but a
momentous event in world politics. The only thing certain about it is that
it will not be as simple as Mr Rumsfeld says.

Dr Toby Dodge is an Iraq expert at Warwick University and an associate
fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

by Greg Barrett
Salt Lake Tribune, 17th November


Despite the humanitarian ambitions of the Fourth Geneva Convention and its
protocols, its wording presents a vague notion of fair play. Convention law
"offers a loophole big enough to drop a nuclear weapon through," Lt. Col.
Kenneth Rizer of the U.S. Air Force wrote last year in an online Department
of Defense journal.

Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention bars willful killing of
civilians "if not justified by military necessity."

But it fails to define military necessity. That means international law
might allow for the killing of civilians and the destruction of their
property if it is deemed imperative for victory, Rizer said.

"In simpler terms, military necessity means that if one is justified in
going to war, one is justified in doing what is necessary to win," he wrote
last year in Air and Space Power Chronicles.

In World War I, 5 percent of all direct casualties were civilian, according
to Simon Chesterman in his book, Civilians in War. In World War II, civilian
casualties amounted to roughly 50 percent of the total.

During the 1990s, most casualties of armed conflicts were civilians. In some
cases, including Rwanda, civilians made up 90 percent of casualties, said
Chesterman, a senior associate at the International Peace Academy in New
York, an independent security research organization.

Although Chesterman said some scholars dispute his numbers, no one denies
the trend.

Collateral damage is endemic to modern war, where assaults rain from the sky
and legitimate targets are loosely defined, said Thomas Nagy, a professor at
George Washington University.

Nagy claims the U.S. Air Force violated international law with its bombing
of Baghdad in 1991. Protocol 1, added to the Geneva Conventions in 1977,
forbids the destruction of civilian infrastructure, but the allied assault
on Iraq began with bombing raids on electrical grids that supported civilian
and military needs.

The Pentagon defined the grids as legitimate dual-use targets.

"The electrical attacks proved extremely effective," reads a 53-page U.S.
Air Force analysis dated May 20, 1998. "The loss of electricity shut down
the capital's water treatment plants and led to a public health crisis from
raw sewage dumped in the Tigris River."

Rizer, assessing the Baghdad bombing, wrote that the raid's legitimacy "is
very subject to interpretation."

Arend agreed. "Dual-use [targets] are sufficiently ambiguous," he said.
"It's difficult to say if it is clearly prohibited by customary
international law."

The U.N. Security Council can order economic sanctions, such as those
applied to Iraq in 1990. It can authorize the use of military force, such as
Operation Desert Storm in 1991, and it can create ad hoc international war
crime tribunals.

"The United Nations in general is a very weak body; it is only the Security
Council that has power," said Derek Jinks, a professor at St. Louis
University School of Law who worked for The Hague prosecutor at the
International War Crimes Tribunal of the former Yugoslavia.

But a single veto by any of the five permanent Security Council members --
the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom -- quashes
any action.

"One friend, if it is the right friend, can translate to immunity from any
kind of coercion from the Security Council," Jinks said.

The most striking example of that, he said, is Israel's friendship with the
United States, which has allowed Israeli tanks to plow through Palestinian
neighborhoods in search of suicide bombers. The United States has long
supported Israel's right to fight terrorism and refuses to place blame in
the Middle East conflict.

In U.N. resolutions critical of Israel, only two nations -- Israel and the
United States -- have consistently abstained or voted nay.

"The United States has an idiosyncratic view -- shared by Israel -- of what
is a proportionate" military response, Jinks said. "The view is that any use
of force necessary to minimize casualties on your side is the proportionate
use of force, even if it includes heavy civilian casualties."

Like the Palestinian ambulance worker who was shot and killed by Israeli
soldiers when he attempted to rescue Mohammed al-Durra and his father.

Like the 10-year-old Palestinian boy felled by a single rifle shot the next
day near the same spot in the Gaza Strip after throwing a rock at Israeli

Like the other 14 Palestinian children killed in the crossfire within 72
hours of Mohammed's death.

The United Nations, sounding like an exasperated parent, has issued a dozen
resolutions over the past two years saying it "condemns," "further
condemns," "reaffirms," "also reaffirms," "calls upon," "calls once more
upon" Israel to stop what it deems the mistreatment of Palestinian refugees.

Yet bloodshed on both sides of the conflict continues unabated.

A remedy could rest with the newly created International Criminal Court, an
offshoot of the ad hoc tribunals of the United Nations. It counts 139
signatories -- the United Kingdom, France and Germany among them -- and is
being hailed by the United Nations and human rights groups as the future of
global justice.

It is the world's first permanent international court to specifically
address genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity and is expected to
begin operating in The Hague next year.

Yet even as the White House plans to pursue U.N.-backed war crime charges
against the Iraqi regime for atrocities alleged against Iraqi Kurds, it
refuses to endorse the new court.

The United States wants its soldiers and civilians exempted from the court
because it fears politically motivated war crime charges. The White House is
asking more than 100 nations to sign bilateral agreements that promise to
never deliver an American to the international court.,12239,841865,00.html

by Peter Beaumont and Jason Burke
The Observer, 17th November

A senior Iraqi envoy has visited several Arab states to ask for asylum for
key members of Saddam Hussein's regime in the event of its overthrow.

According to Western diplomatic sources, the envoy - General Ali Hasan
al-Majid, known as 'Chemical Ali' to Iraqi Kurds for his role in the attack
on Kurds at Halabja in 1988 - visited Algeria, Tunisia and Libya in
September to sound out governments about asylum for senior Iraqi officials
fleeing the collapse of the Ba'ath regime.

Other reports have suggested that members of the regime have recently been
in Syria to organise an overland route for Saddam's family to flee in the
event of a massive US-led attack. However, all reports suggest Saddam
himself would remain behind.

Although it is possible the story is being circulated by Western
intelligence agencies to undermine morale within the regime, it seems likely
there is much truth in these accounts.

The visit by al-Majid has coincided with approaches by dozens of Iraqi
officials to states that might offer asylum, and with approaches to members
of the Iraqi diaspora by middle ranking officials to ascertain what any new
regime's attitude might be towards them.

According to the Times yesterday, al-Majid's visit to Libya was part of a
2.3 billion deal to secure asylum in Libya for members of Saddam's family
and key associates, although not for Saddam himself or his son Uday.

Libyan Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassouna al-Shawish labelled the Times
report 'a fabrication', according to the official Libyan news agency, Jana.
But diplomatic sources insisted al-Majid had been touring the region looking
for sanctuary for members of Saddam's regime and family.

'We know that al-Majid was touring the region in September,' said one source
yesterday. 'And we know that key members of the regime have been making
arrangements for places they could live in a post-Saddam world. These are
members of Saddam's al-Tikrit clan and very senior members of his regime,
who would be regarded as beyond the pale by any new regime and might
justifiably fear for their lives.

'These are not middle-ranking officials who might go for the Nuremburg
defence that "they were only following orders", but the most senior
officials who might fear for their lives.'

Diplomatic sources do not believe the disclosure of plans by the Baathist
regime to open an underground railroad out of Iraq for key officials amounts
to evidence of an impending coup against Saddam.

'This is not evidence of a coup,' said one British source. 'The security in
this regime is so tight it would pick up any planning of a coup. But it is
evidence that key officials - Saddam included - do not believe the regime
would survive a US-led attack.'

The source confirmed that evidence of the flight-not-fight instincts of so
many key members of the regime was one reason behind the timing of Prime
Minister Tony Blair's broadcast last week to Iraqis, criticising the
Ba'athist regime and pointing out that Britain was not in conflict with
ordinary Iraqis but with Saddam's regime.

The disclosures came as chief United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix
warned yesterday that Iraq would face the full might of the UN Security
Council if it failed to co operate completely with inspectors looking for
weapons of mass destruction.

Blix has also warned that any intelligence agents found working among the
inspection teams will effectively be fired.

Blix was in Paris on his way to Cyprus, where an advance team of UN
inspectors was gathering. The team is expected to fly to Baghdad tomorrow,
with inspections possibly beginning on 27 November.

Times of India, 18th November

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon has accelerated development of a new generation of
advanced precision weaponry that could be ready for use in a high-tech
battle for Baghdad, according to US military sources.

Weapons ready for battlefield deployment include a microwave bomb that emits
powerful pulses of energy to destroy enemy electronics, disable
communications and even block vehicle ignitions, without hurting bystanders.

Defence researchers have also successfully tested a radical thermobaric
warhead - previously described as a "vacuum bomb" - to be aimed at suspected
chemical and biological stockpiles. The warheads are designed to produce a
heat so intense that any contaminants released into the atmosphere are
neutralised instantly.

After the success in Afghanistan of military innovations such as
precision-guided bunker busting bombs and remote-controlled Predator drones,
Pentagon officials have been racing to develop previously experimental
weapons that might prove invaluable should US troops be ordered into action
in Iraq.

Military scientists have long been intrigued by the potential harnessing of
microwave technology to paralyse enemy capabilities. The US air force used a
related technique to disable Yugoslavian power grids during the Kosovo

Since then, research has advanced so rapidly that US officials believe a
single microwave device carried by an unmanned aircraft could hit 100
targets with 1,000 pulses of high intensity energy on a single sortie.

Military analysts believe that microwave bombs could be particularly useful
against the Republican Guard and other defences around Baghdad.

Known as directed-energy weapons, they destroy electronic systems but -- in
theory at least - do not harm people or damage buildings.

Perhaps the most useful new toy in the Pentagon's Christmas sack is a
three-dimensional computer simulation of the streets of Baghdad, complete
with all known Iraqi military locations and satellite positioning
co-ordinates. The 3D imagery is being studied by military commanders as they
plan possible scenarios for a ground assault on the city.

The combination of overwhelming fire-power and technological expertise helps
explain why so many Pentagon officials are convinced that the battle for
Baghdad will prove a walkover.

by Noam Chomsky
Counterpunch, 18th November

The dedicated efforts of the Bush administration to take control of Iraq--by
war, military coup or some other means--have elicited various analyses of
the guiding motives.

Offering one interpretation, Anatol Lieven, senior associate of the Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC, observes that the Bush
administration's efforts conform to "the classic modern strategy of an
endangered right-wing oligarchy, which is to divert mass discontent into
nationalism" through fear of external enemies.

The administration's goal, Lieven says, is "unilateral world domination
through absolute military superiority", which is why much of the world is so

But the administration has overlooked a simple alternative to invading Iraq.
Let Iran do it. Before elaborating on this modest proposal, it's worthwhile
to examine the antecedents of Washington's bellicosity.

Ever since the September 11 attacks, Republicans have used the terrorist
threat as a pretext to push a right-wing political agenda. For the
congressional elections, the strategy has diverted attention from the
economy to war. When the presidential campaign begins, Republicans surely do
not want people to be asking questions about their pensions, jobs,
healthcare and other matters.

Rather, they should be praising their heroic leader for rescuing them from
imminent destruction by a foe of colossal power, and marching on to confront
the next powerful force bent on our destruction.

September 11 provided an opportunity and pretext to implement long-standing
plans to take control of Iraq's immense oil wealth, a central component of
the Persian Gulf resources that the State Department in 1945 described as a
"stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material
prizes in world history".

Control of energy sources fuels US economic and military might, and
"strategic power" translates to a lever of world control. A different
interpretation is that the administration believes exactly what it says:
Iraq has suddenly become a threat to our very existence and to its

So we must ensure that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and the means for
producing them are destroyed, and Saddam Hussein, the monster himself,
eliminated. And quickly. The war must be waged this (northern) winter. Next
winter will be too late. By then the mushroom cloud that National Security
Adviser Condoleezza Rice predicts may have already consumed us.

Let us assume that this interpretation is correct. If the powers in the
Middle East fear Washington more than Saddam, as they apparently do, that
just reveals their limited grasp of reality.

It is only an accident that by next winter the US presidential campaign will
be under way. How then can we achieve the announced goals? One simple plan
seems to have been ignored, perhaps because it would be regarded as insane,
and rightly so. But it is instructive to ask why.

The modest proposal is for the US to encourage Iran to invade Iraq,
providing the Iranians with the necessary logistical and military support,
from a safe distance (missiles, bombs, bases, etc). As a proxy, one pole of
"the axis of evil" would take on another.

The proposal has many advantages over the alternatives. First, Saddam will
be overthrown -in fact, torn to shreds along with anyone close to him. His
weapons of mass destruction will also be destroyed, along with the means to
produce them.

Second, there will be no American casualties. True, many Iraqis and Iranians
will die. But that can hardly be a concern. Those in US President George W.
Bush's circle--many of them recycled Reaganites--strongly supported Saddam
after he attacked Iran in 1980, quite oblivious to the enormous human cost,
either then or under the subsequent sanctions regime.

Saddam is likely to use chemical weapons. But the current leadership firmly
backed the "Beast of Baghdad" when he used chemical weapons against Iran in
the Reagan years, and when he used gas against "his own people", the Iraqi

The current Washington planners continued to support the Beast after he had
committed by far his worst crimes, even providing him with means to develop
weapons of mass destruction, nuclear and biological, right up to the Kuwait

Third, the UN will be no problem. It will be unnecessary to explain to the
world that the UN is relevant when it follows US orders, but irrelevant when
it doesn't.

Fourth, Iran surely has far better credentials for war-making, and for
running a post-Saddam Iraq, than Washington. Unlike the Bush administration,
Iran has no record of support for the murderous Saddam and his program of
weapons of mass destruction.

Fifth, the liberation will be greeted with enthusiasm by much of the
population, far more so than if Americans invade. People will cheer on the
streets of Basra and Karbala, and we can join Iranian journalists in hailing
the nobility and just cause of the liberators.

Sixth, Iran can move towards instituting "democracy". The majority of the
population is Shi'ite, and Iran would have fewer problems than the US in
granting them some say in a successor government. There will be no problem
in gaining access to Iraqi oil.

Granted, the modest proposal that Iran liberate Iraq is insane. Its only
merit is that it is far more reasonable than the plans now being
implemented--or it would be, if the administration's professed goals had any
relation to the real ones.,3604,843740,00.html

by John W Dower
The Guardian, 20th November

In their immediate response to the shock of September 11, journalists and
pundits across America evoked, almost as one, Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor
60 years earlier. Stories dwelled on similarities (and differences) between
the holy war fanaticism of the Islamic terrorists and that of the Japanese -
and, of course, on the dismal failure of American intelligence to anticipate
either attack.

Now, with the Bush administration promoting the virtue of pre-emptive
strikes, Japan has emerged as possibly offering a very different sort of
historical precedent. Does America's successful occupation of Japan after
the second world war provide a model for a constructive American role in a
post- Saddam Hussein Iraq?

The short answer is no.

By almost all standards, the occupation of defeated Japan was a remarkable
success. A repressive and militaristic society emerged from occupation to
become a viable democracy. Naysayers who declared the Japanese people to be
culturally incapable of self-government were proved impressively wrong.
Contrary to what self-anointed "realists" seem to be suggesting today,
however, most of the factors that contributed to the success of nation
building in occupied Japan would be absent in an Iraq militarily defeated by
the US.

When war ended the US-dominated occupation of Japan had moral as well as
legal legitimacy in the eyes of the rest of the world. There was a level of
unequivocal regional and global support that a projected US war against
Saddam Hussein does not enjoy.

The occupation also had legitimacy in the eyes of almost all Japanese. The
Japanese government accepted this when it surrendered. Emperor Hirohito gave
his significant personal endorsement to the conquerors. And Japanese at all
levels of society quickly blamed their own militaristic leaders for having
initiated an unwinnable war. Saddam Hussein will never morph into a Hirohito
figure, and a pre-emptive war will surely alienate great numbers of Iraqis.

In defeat, the Japanese proved to be anything but homogeneous. Political
allegiances ran from conservatives to communists. But Japan was spared the
religious, ethnic, regional and tribal animosities that are likely to erupt
in a post-war Iraq. By the same token, the suicidal fanaticism that
characterised Japanese behaviour on the battlefield did not survive the war.
In an occupation that lasted from 1945-52, there was not one instance of
Japanese terror against the occupation forces. Does anyone really imagine
this would be the case in an occupied Iraq?

Much of the success of the Japanese occupation derived from the fact that
Japan surrendered "unconditionally", thereby ceding absolute authority to
the victors. The exercise of this authority, moreover, was vested in the
unusually charismatic General Douglas MacArthur, who, in effect, was
authorised to rule by fiat. Planning for the occupation of Japan actually
began in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor, and the general objectives
of demilitarisation and democratisation of the vanquished foe were spelt out
in the Potsdam Proclamation of July 1945, weeks before the Japanese
government finally capitulated. MacArthur's staff had considerable leeway
for creative interpretation of their orders, but those orders reflected long
deliberation in Washington, in contrast to today's hasty policymaking.

The great legal and institutional reforms that continue to define Japanese
democracy today reflected liberal New Deal policies that now seem testimony
to a bygone age: land reform; encouragement of organised labour; a new
constitution that guaranteed an extremely progressive range of civil rights;
restructuring of schools and rewriting of textbooks, and so on. Ideology
aside, the simple logistics of such serious nation building would seem
prohibitive. The key military and civilian personnel who carried out civil
affairs policy under MacArthur numbered around 5,000 to 6,000, stationed
mostly in Tokyo but also in grassroots offices throughout the country. Tens
of thousands of bilingual Japanese support staff were hired. And for most of
the occupation, US military forces - whose mission quickly turned to cold
war objectives rather than the prevention of domestic unrest - numbered more
than 100,000.

What ultimately enabled the Americans to institutionalise democracy was not
only the existence of strong pre-war democratic traditions, but also the
survival of the existing bureaucracy. The administrative structure remained
essentially intact from the central ministries down to village governments.
Again, it is difficult to imagine a post-war Iraq in which structures of the
old regime will provide so ready a vehicle for carrying out reforms.

One could easily go on with examples of the unique nature of Japan's
occupation. As an island, it was isolated from neighbours (like China) that
soon became hostile to its incorporation in America's cold war strategy. By
contrast, Iraq shares borders with potentially intrusive neighbours. Of even
greater importance, MacArthur and his staff had the period of relative quiet
from 1945-47 to concentrate on promoting democratisation, while policy
makers in Washington were preoccupied with developments in Europe. In the
cauldron of Middle East politics, there will be no such period of calm after
a war with Iraq.

Defeated Japan also was poor in natural resources and of virtually no
economic interest to outsiders. It was spared the presence of carpetbaggers
who might have tried to manipulate occupation policy to serve their private
interests. In oil-rich Iraq, foreign capital is poised to play a major
political as well as economic role.

While occupied Japan provides no model for a post-war Iraq, it does provide
a clear warning - even under circumstances that turned out to be favourable,
demilitarisation and democratisation were awesome challenges. To rush to war
without seriously imagining all its consequences, including its aftermath,
is not realism but a terrible hubris.

(John W Dower is the author of Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World
War II, which won the Pulitzer Prize. A longer version of this article
appeared in the New York Times)

by Andrew Lawler
Dawn, from Los Angeles Times, 21st November

BOSTON: The governor of Ghazni, an Afghan province south of Kabul, is just
the kind of leader Washington should like. He's young, educated and

Haji Hassadullah Khalid studied political science before the Taliban shut
down Kabul University, speaks passable English and dreams of studying in the
United States.

He is a striking contrast to the warlords, such as Abdul Rashid Dostum,
recently implicated in the deaths of Taliban prisoners, or Ismail Khan, who
pays little heed to Kabul's diktats.

But Khalid gets no help from the United States. One year after coming to
power, he says his people still must walk an average of three miles just to
get drinking water. He has no tax money to pay teachers. And there is little
support from the central government in Kabul.

"This job is very difficult," he said, taking a break from the endless
stream of supplicants who come to his reception room.

What about support from the United States? He shakes his head, sighs and
lights up another cigarette. "We've talked to USAID (US Agency for
International Development), but we haven't received any help yet."

The Bush administration pledged to try to do more to rebuild Afghanistan,
but help so far has been too little and too late.

Outside the heavily guarded walls of Khalid's residence, the burnt fields,
destroyed irrigation systems and virtually non-existent roads are mute
testament to his helplessness. The drive from Kabul, once smooth and easy,
is now a harrowing four- hour ride. When Khalid travels it, he does so only
by day in a convoy with soldiers and machine guns.

He is struggling to control sporadic fighting across the desperately poor
province, often between rival Pakhtoon and Hazara ethnic militants. In
August, he was forced to place soldiers around the United Nations relief
ministry in his own provincial capital after an armed robbery.

President Bush last month ballyhooed the $588 million in humanitarian
assistance and reconstruction showered on Afghanistan during the past year.
Now the Pentagon promises to bring in a few hundred more civilians to help.
But put that in perspective: The Pentagon spent nearly $15 billion on the
war in that same period.

The truth on the ground is even more alarming. Kabul is full of European and
Japanese aid workers, while American GIs are largely confined to a military
base north of the city.

Beyond Kabul and its environs, there are few signs of foreign assistance. In
a recent two week trip through central and south Afghanistan, outside the
relative safety of Kabul and the surrounding area, I saw few signs of
foreign aid.

Groups of armed men, some in fatigues, some not, block what's left of those
roads between the major cities, demanding money. The only roadwork I saw
outside Kabul was being done by hundreds of people - almost all children -
along desolate portions of the rutted roads. As drivers approach, they throw
a spadeful of dust into the ruts and then hold out their hands for money.

Given enough political and economic willpower, the United States could
rebuild the main roads, sink thousands of new wells and help revitalize the
devastated school and university systems. Instead, the United States is
training a much-needed national army but turning a blind eye to broader

We did it for Germany, but Afghanistan is yesterday's problem. American
statesman George Kennan foresaw the problem during World War II, when he was
assigned one summer to Baghdad, Iraq. "Our government is technically
incapable of conceiving and promulgating a long-term consistent policy
toward areas remote from its own territory," he wrote. The problem, he said,
is that "our actions in the field of foreign affairs are the convulsive
reactions of politicians to an internal political life dominated by vocal

It was that lack of a long-term policy that led us to walk away from
Afghanistan in the early 1990s, after we had pumped the country full of
weapons to defeat the Soviets, leaving it in chaos and eventually to Mullah
Mohammed Omar and Osama bin Laden. Now we are again moving on to other
things, such as Iraq.

A media darling just a few months ago - remember reading about his fabulous
wardrobe? - Hamid Karzai is out. Kurds are in. And Khalid is left on his

Didn't we learn the first time?

by Hans de Vreij
Radio Netherlands, 21st November

If the long-anticipated American attack on Iraq goes ahead, the US Air Force
may find itself in for an unpleasant surprise. Their so-called "stealth"
aeroplanes (the B-2 bomber and F 117 fighter) are invisible to normal radar
systems. But Ukraine is strongly suspected of having sold Iraq a number of
"Kolchuga" passive detection systems which, the producer claims, are able to
track stealth aircraft at ranges of up to 500 kilometres.

Earlier this month, US and British military experts visited Ukraine to find
out more about the alleged deliveries. But the outcome was said to be
unsatisfactory. As early as March, a spokesman of the US Defence
Intelligence Agency bluntly stated, when asked about the Kolchuga delivery,
"Iraq has them".

Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma was told he wouldn't be welcome at the
Prague NATO summit this week in direct retaliation for the alleged delivery.
Another US punishment for Ukraine's alleged shady dealings with Saddam
Hussein's regime  said to be worth 100 millions dollars  is the suspension
of 54 million worth in aid to the former Russian satellite.

Ukraine has been actively marketing the Kolchuga system at international
defence exhibitions. According to the firm producing the systems, Topaz in
the city of Donetsk, clients so far have included Russia and other countries
from the former Soviet Union, China, Ethiopia and Ukraine itself.

Compared to traditional anti-aircraft radar systems, Kolchuga and similar
products have one obvious advantage. Since they are passive systems, enemy
aircraft cannot detect their presence or activity. They therefore cannot
themselves be neutralised by anti-radar missiles.

In the case of a massive US air strike against Iraq, there is no way the
presence of the Ukrainian systems would tip the balance in Baghdad's favour.
They might, however, cause the loss of a few very expensive aircraft, not to
mention their pilots.

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