Thursday, January 26, 2006

Gone fishing.

# posted 4:52 PM

Monday, December 19, 2005

White House press corps...sigh

Well someone asked the question that needed to be asked. Tellingly it was the last questions and perplexingly the reporter made it the first of a disjoint two-part question -- haven't you learned that if you don't ask simply worded short questions he's going to go way off into left field?!??!!!!

QUESTION: Mr. President, in making the case for domestic spying, could you tell us about planned attacks on the U.S. that were thwarted through your domestic spying plan? [Oh why couldn't you just stop here. Sigh...]

And also, on the issue of race, since you brought up the issue of Katrina, 2005 gave us your defense of yourself on race. And some are still not sold on that. In 2006, what are you giving to the nation on the issue of race, as we're looking to the renewal of the Voting Rights Act in 2007 and things of that nature?
Guess which question Bush "answered" first?

Here's the non-answer to the first part

QUESTION: Sir, the other...

BUSH: You asked a multiple-part question.

QUESTION: Yes, I did.

BUSH: Thank you for violating the multiple-part question rule.

QUESTION: I didn't know there was a law on that.

BUSH: There's not a law.

It's an executive order.

In this case, not monitored by the Congress.

Nor is there any administrative oversight.

QUESTION: Well, without breaking any laws, back on domestic spying. Making the case for that, can you give us some example...

BUSH: Oh, I got you. Yes, sorry.

No, I'm not going to talk about that, because it would help give the enemy notification and/or perhaps signal to them methods and uses and sources. And we're not going to do that.

It's really important for people to understand that the protection of sources and the protections of methods and how we use information to understand the nature of the enemy is secret.

And the reason it's secret is because, if it's not secret, the enemy knows about it, and if the enemy knows about it, it adjusts.

And, again, I want to repeat what I said about Osama bin Laden, the man who ordered the attack that killed 3,000 Americans.

We were listening to him. He was using a type of cell phone -- or a type of phone. And we put it in a newspaper -- somebody put it in the newspaper that this was the type of device he was using to communicate with his team. And he changed.

I don't know how I can make the point more clear that any time we give up -- and this is before they attacked us, by the way. Revealing sources, methods and what we use the information for simply says to the enemy: 'Change.'
Blah blah blah blah blah. This has little to do with sources and methods. This is the new equivalent of "Saddam was a bad guy" answer. The question can be answered without revealing sources and methods by simply saying "we've stopped x attacks using these wiretaps. We overheard y plots being made and these plots in z nonspecific countries were stopped." Could someone please give the White House press corps a brain for Christmas?

#
posted 9:34 PM

Saturday, December 17, 2005

More nonsense

In today's live radio address, the president explains why the NSA needs to spy on us.

This authorization is a vital tool in our war against the terrorists. It is critical to saving American lives. The American people expect me to do everything in my power under our laws and Constitution to protect them and their civil liberties.
As I said in the last post, it's time to stop letting the president simply say whatever he does is because he's trying to keep us safe. The president needs to be pushed to provide evidence that certain measures actually are necessary.

In this address here is as far as he was willing to go

As the 9/11 Commission pointed out, it was clear that terrorists inside the United States were communicating with terrorists abroad before the Sept. 11 attacks. And the commission criticized our nation’s inability to uncover links between terrorists here at home and terrorists abroad.

Two of the terrorist hijackers who flew a jet in the Pentagon, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid al-Midhar, communicated while they were in the United States, to other members of Al Qaeda who were overseas. But we didn’t know they were here until it was too late.

The authorization I gave the National Security Agency after Sept. 11 helped address that problem in a way that is fully consistent with my constitutional responsibilities and authorities.
Now I suppose I should give the president the benefit of the doubt because he didn't have time to go into details (not that he's a details guy anyway). But if you don't know the terrorists are even here, how are wiretaps going to help? Just a question.

#
posted 12:16 PM

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Bushies are spying on us? Shock horror.

Let's skip the handwringing and circular questions about the constitutionality and legal issues surrounding the NYT's revelations that the NSA is spying on American citizens in the name of fighting terrorism. This administration is quite clever at answering such questions using the logic of a 5-year old (e.g. "I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda."). Bush tried it again today: "We do not discuss ongoing intelligence operations to protect the country, and the reason why is that there's an enemy that lurks, that would like to know exactly what we're trying to do to stop them." Let's not let legal issues cloud the debate the same way it's going with the Patriot Act. Civil liberty matters are important. But we shouldn't arrive at those discussions until we've established that specific tactics are even working. The same can be said of the torture issue.

We should first be asking the president to tell us how many terrorist plots have been foiled because officials did not have to wait an hour or two to get a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Mr. President tell us how many plot would have likely succeeded if law enforcement had taken the time to get to get those warrants. Don't tell us about sources and methods, just give us a number.

While we're on that subject, why not tell us the same thing about library records. How many times have library records helped stop and ongoing terrorist plot to kill Americans in this country? Why is does this manner of killing Americans warrant so much special attention when the plain old bullet to the head with a 9mm street crime doesn't. Dead is dead, right?

Let's not let this important issue get bogged down in legal matters that allow the White House to ignore issues of effectiveness. Demonstrate for us Mr. President exactly how this is keeping us safer. Let's keep our eye on that issue first and civil liberties a close second.

#
posted 6:51 PM

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

When President Bush and Vice President Cheney say we must "stay the course" and not "cut and run" from Iraq, they leave as vague all the bad things that might happen with the U.S. troop withdrawal. Unfortunately most news outlets have covered this debate from a political angle and haven't considered whether the "stay the course" proponents are actually making a reasonable argument. Fortunately, the Atlantic Nir Rosen does consider this in an article that every major newspaper should have already written. Here's a taste:

If the people the U.S. military is ostensibly protecting [in Iraq] want it to go, why do the soldiers stay? The most common answer is that it would be irresponsible for the United States to depart before some measure of peace has been assured. The American presence, this argument goes, is the only thing keeping Iraq from an all-out civil war that could take millions of lives and would profoundly destabilize the region. But is that really the case? Let's consider the key questions surrounding the prospect of an imminent American withdrawal.

Would the withdrawal of U.S. troops ignite a civil war between Sunnis and Shiites?

No. That civil war is already under way—in large part because of the American presence. The longer the United States stays, the more it fuels Sunni hostility toward Shiite "collaborators." Were America not in Iraq, Sunni leaders could negotiate and participate without fear that they themselves would be branded traitors and collaborators by their constituents...

Wouldn't a U.S. withdrawal embolden the insurgency?

No. If the occupation were to end, so, too, would the insurgency. After all, what the resistance movement has been resisting is the occupation. Who would the insurgents fight if the enemy left? When I asked Sunni Arab fighters and the clerics who support them why they were fighting, they all gave me the same one-word answer: intiqaam—revenge. Revenge for the destruction of their homes, for the shame they felt when Americans forced them to the ground and stepped on them, for the killing of their friends and relatives by U.S. soldiers either in combat or during raids.

But what about the foreign jihadi element of the resistance? Wouldn't it be empowered by a U.S. withdrawal?

The foreign jihadi element—commanded by the likes of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi—is numerically insignificant; the bulk of the resistance has no connection to al-Qaeda or its offshoots. (Zarqawi and his followers have benefited greatly from U.S. propaganda blaming him for all attacks in Iraq, because he is now seen by Arabs around the world as more powerful than he is; we have been his best recruiting tool.)...

What about the Kurds? Won't they secede if the United States leaves?

Yes, but that's going to happen anyway. All Iraqi Kurds want an independent Kurdistan. They do not feel Iraqi. They've effectively had more than a decade of autonomy, thanks to the UN-imposed no-fly zone; they want nothing to do with the chaos that is Iraq. Kurdish independence is inevitable—and positive. (Few peoples on earth deserve a state more than the Kurds.)...


There's more well worth checking out. Read it here.

#
posted 7:32 AM

Monday, November 28, 2005


I saw the film Syriana with George Clooney and Matt Damon this weekend. It's intelligent, complex, riveting and I highly recommend it.

#
posted 10:24 PM

Saturday, November 19, 2005

A light bulb goes on in the White House

From the Washington Post:

The White House yesterday endorsed a proposal that would allow Iran to refine uranium at a key nuclear facility as long as more advanced work on the material was completed in Russia, reversing a major element of Bush administration policy in the hopes of resolving a crisis over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Officials involved in crafting the new U.S. approach said it signals a growing recognition inside the Bush administration that its Iran policy, both tactically and strategically, was failing to resolve a two-year crisis over the country's nuclear program.
Well at least it only took two years to come to that conclusion.

Update: This shows who is doing the creative thinking on how to actually resolve this crisis. Too bad it's not the Bush administration.

#
posted 11:35 AM

Friday, October 14, 2005

A (typically) great Paul Krugman column

Encapsulating what's wrong with political coverage in the media

George W. Bush, I once wrote, "values loyalty above expertise" and may have "a preference for advisers whose personal fortunes are almost entirely bound up with his own." And he likes to surround himself with "obsequious courtiers."

Lots of people are saying things like that these days. But those quotes are from a column published on Nov. 19, 2000.

...

But many people in the news media do claim, at least implicitly, to be experts at discerning character - and their judgments play a large, sometimes decisive role in our political life. The 2000 election would have ended in a chad-proof victory for Al Gore if many reporters hadn't taken a dislike to Mr. Gore, while portraying Mr. Bush as an honest, likable guy. The 2004 election was largely decided by the image of Mr. Bush as a strong, effective leader.

...

Mr. Bush is the same man he always was. All the character flaws that are now fodder for late-night humor were fully visible, for those willing to see them, during the 2000 campaign.

...

Read the speeches Howard Dean gave before the Iraq war, and compare them with Colin Powell's pro-war presentation to the U.N. Knowing what we know now, it's clear that one man was judicious and realistic, while the other was spinning crazy conspiracy theories. But somehow their labels got switched in the way they were presented to the public by the news media.


Read it here (Times Select).

#
posted 3:48 PM

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Gone fishing for a while.

#
posted 11:39 AM

Friday, August 19, 2005

I think the New York Times got it right in an editorial on Monday.

"This morning Israel finally began withdrawing from the teeming, thirsty strip of land where it settled nearly 9,000 Jews in the middle of more than a million Arabs. Gaza has always been the ultimate example of the bankruptcy of Israel's settlement policy, and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon should be congratulated for finally doing what he and his predecessors should have done years ago."
I think the Times notes what this story is really about. And I say that because the pullout has gotten way too much media coverage in my opinion. Not because its not an important story, but because the coverage is mostly about the human aspect of the pullout -- "settlers" clinging to their homes. Okay, that's nice for one or two stories, but the rest is overkill. Shouldn't the story be about Israel finally leaving territory it has occupied illegally for 38 years? Even if you don't think the occupation is illegal, shouldn't the story then still be about the decision to pullout and implications for the future of Palestine instead of so many items about soliders pulling people out of their homes? All I'm saying is the historical import of this episode is mostly being ignored in favor of the human spectacle angle and that is a shame but sadly once again not surprising.

#
posted 9:19 PM

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Remember when John Kerry called Dubya out because he was scared to go before the 9/11 comission? Bush was so frightened that he only wanted to appear for an hour before the comission investigating the event that he loves to use to define his presidency. Kerry zinged "If the president of the United States can find time to go to a rodeo, he can find the time to do more than one hour in front of a commission that is investigating what happened to America's intelligence."

I'm not one of those that buys the "working vacation" thing going on in Crawford right now. If this were a president that burned the midnight oil, then I'd say he deserves a two-hour bike ride while American servicemembers are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So in the spirit of John Kerry, if this president has time to take a bike ride with Lance Armstrong, he's got time to meet with Cindy Sheehan.

#
posted 7:38 PM

Robert Scheer also weighs in on the White House's confused Iran policy. Though he's headed in the right direction, he gets some things wrong.

The latest exhibition of this approach was President Bush's thinly veiled threat this weekend to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities or even invade the country as a last resort, sparked by Tehran's troubled negotiations with the West over its nuclear program.

It is telling that Bush made the comments on Israeli television, which makes them exponentially more provocative. Israel is, of course, not only Iran's archenemy but is also believed to be the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in the immediate region.

It is as if Bush is not content to rattle his saber at Tehran's hard-liners; he also wants to ensure that he infuriates and publicly embarrasses even moderate Iranians.
Excellent point. This smacks of Dick Cheney.

Neither the security of the Iranians nor of the world is enhanced by any nuclear program that includes weapon capabilities.
Wrong. Iran's security is enhanced by nuclear weapons. If Iran were discoved to have a couple of off-the-shelf nuclear weapons bought from Pakistan, you would never hear such belligerence as "all options are on the table" from Dubya. Nuclear weapons are a powerful deterrent whether you like that or not.

If Tehran refuses to be transparent and open to inspections, the U.N. Security Council can take up the issue of imposing sanctions.
This is the media parroting White House threats. The "problem" is Iran has been transparent. The only thing that could be referred to the Security Council are a few past trangressions. The media keep implying that if Iran refuses the current offers of the EU-3, they can be referred to the Security Council. That's really misleading. It's like your landlord saying that if you're late on your rent again, he's taking you to court.

To hear Ken Pollack explain this in terms the media cleary has trouble with, listen to this NPR story.

#
posted 9:15 AM

Fareed Zakaria on the poverty of Bush's Iran policy.

#
posted 9:08 AM

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Washington Post is way late in its editorial today on the crisis in Niger.

If Niger's largely unpolitical emergency cannot trigger prompt sympathy, it's time to rethink the way relief is organized. The world depends on an ad hoc, pass-the-hat system; there's no standing ability to respond quickly when the first signs of disaster appear. This raises the cost of action. In the Sudanese province of Darfur last year, donors didn't provide enough relief before the onset of the rainy season, so part of their belated assistance had to be airlifted into the region at enormous expense. Similarly in Niger, the United Nations estimates that saving a life would have cost a dollar of aid back in November but may cost $80 or more now.
There's no mention in the editorial about the role of the most widely read newspapers in the world ignoring the crisis and the effect that had on getting to governments to act. What a surprise!

#
posted 10:22 AM

Friday, August 05, 2005

Finally!

Today three major news outlets all front the Niger famine story. Coincidence. I think so. Perhaps because CNN has featured Christiane Amanpour Anderson Cooper from Niger all week. Today the NYT, LAT, and NPR all ran "front page" stories (in the case of NPR it was "Morning Edition") on Niger. Why so late to the story? In summarizing the NYT story (in a couple of sentences) for Slate's "Today's Papers", Eric Umansky cherry picks a misleading quote

Though a recent drought has made things worse, the country has perennial problems—primitive farming, poor health care, etc. Perhaps that helps explain the international community's response to the famine, which by May consisted of "7,000 tons of food and one $323,000 donation, from Luxembourg."
So one might surmise that because of this news outlets could be excused for ignoring the story. Of course when have the media in any years past reported on this problem such that they can take the high road of "we warn about this every year"? The NYT article goes on to report that the perennial bad conditions in Niger are besidet the point (Umansky doesn't mention this). This year is much worse. "That it is a perennial problem...in no way minimizes the urgency of Niger's current disaster - erratic rainfall and severe food shortages in the agricultural and herding belts where many of Niger's 11 million to 12 million people live. Together, they are pushing the death rate for small children even higher than Niger's customary one-in-four level, and killing off the livestock upon which the nation's nomads depend."

It's great that the mainstream U.S. media has finally caught on. But let's not try to minimize the situation by suggesting it's regularity or rationalize being late to the story. After all, if it's only business as usual then why put the story on the front page?

#
posted 10:10 PM

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Donald Rumsfeld is the latest high-ranking official/pundit/hand-waver to put forth the "there's no link between the bombings in London and the war in Iraq, because I say so" argument. Rumsfeld was speaking before the Los Angeles World Affairs Council and hoped no one there would notice the illogic of his "argument."

"Some people seem confused about the motivations and intentions of terrorists and about our coalition's defense of the still-young democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq," he said. "They seem to cling to the discredited theory that the recent attacks in London and elsewhere ... are really in retaliation for the war in Iraq or for the so-called occupation of Afghanistan. That is nonsense.

"The United States and its allies did not provoke the terrorists," Rumsfeld emphasized. "The terrorists attacked America. There was no war in Iraq or Afghanistan when America was attacked on Sept. 11th, and there was no war in Iraq or Afghanistan when terrorists attacked Americans in the Beirut barracks in 1983, in the Khobar Towers (in Saudi Arabia) in 1996, or the African embassies in 1998, or when they attacked the USS Cole in the year 2000."
This is stupid and insulting. It again require one to subscribe to the notion that terrorism has nothing to do with any state's foreign policy. And this other line of argument which conservatives are trying now is to point out that the Iraq war happened after 9/11. Huh? This line of reasoning requires us to believe that all terrrorists are the same, come from the same place, have the same grievances, and are generally monolithic. Therefore, "the terrorists" we are fighting who attacked us on 9/11 are the same terrorist that commit every terrorist act from then on. It's really insulting that "smart" people (Rumsfeld, not Bush) stand up and try (and generally succeed) in pushing this argument.

It's even more remarkable because people who are actually experts on these sorts of things say just the opposite.
IRAQ has become “a dominant issue” for Islamic extremists in Britain, MI5 has admitted.

In a fresh analysis of the threat facing Britain from international terrorist groups, the acknowledgement underlines the view of the security and intelligence services that Iraq has provided an extra motivating force for terrorists.

Contributing to the agency’s official website after the July 7 bombings, under the heading “Threat to the UK from international terrorism”, a team of MI5 analysts concludes: “Though they have a range of aspirations and ‘causes’, Iraq is a dominant issue for a range of extremist groups and individuals in the UK and Europe.”
But you know MI5 -- a bunch of lefty, terrorist sympathizers.

#
posted 10:00 PM

Monday, August 01, 2005

CNN discovers there's a famine in Niger

Eight months in the making -- don't wait for CNN to explain why they are so late. But to show how serious they are about it now, they sent Wolf Blitzter Anderson Cooper.

#
posted 10:25 PM

Oh my god! India has nuclear weapons!

There's a thread running over at Daily Kos that I just have to comment on. It concerns the recent deal the White House made to supply India with civilian nuclear technology. (This is a big deal because sanctions prohibit this because India has detonated a nuclear explosion and is not a nuclear weapons state within the Nonproliferation Treaty.) The uproar center on this Reuters article.

A recent U.S.-India nuclear agreement was so hastily concluded the Bush administration is only now beginning to figure out how to implement it in the face of tough questions from the U.S. Congress and nonproliferation experts.

The agreement, announced July 18 after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met President Bush at the White House, upends decades-old nonproliferation rules and will require changes in U.S. law and international policy.

...

With the new deal, the United States in effect accepts India as a nuclear-weapon state.
I'm not sure what this last line means or what all the uproar is about. If you want to get excited, that time was right after September 11, 2001 when the U.S. rolled back sanctions on both India and Pakistan imposed after their nuclear tests in 1998. (It's fashionable to forget that India's first "peaceful" nuclear explosion was in 1974). That was the point where the U.S. accepted India as a nuclear weapons state.

A lot of the comments at Daily Kos seem to equate civilian nuclear technology with nuclear weapons -- i.e. with sharing the secrets of miniturizing warheads. Like this one: "This way india can test our new weapon designs, or detonate old weapons to test if they still work, without the embarassment of reneging on another treaty." I didn't realize that the U.S. gave away nuclear weapons designs, to anyone. Please. And there wouldn't be any huge deal if they did. India is an ally. Its nuclear program exists as a deterrent to Pakistan. They have already mastered the nuclear fuel cycle. There's not much the U.S. can do to help along its nuclear program except make it more cost-effective. Sure it's a bit unsavory and hypocritical and undermines the nonproliferation regime. But those glorious days ended after 9/11. That's when the outrage should have come out. I'm not saying I'm in favor of this deal. But the realpolitik essence of it is the norm now. Why are these people so suprised by it? (Remember Israel??? And get your facts straight on nuclear technology.)

#
posted 9:01 PM

The Washington Post editorial page today sort of weighs in on a pending deal in Colombia that would

"grant limited immunity to thousands of right-wing fighters known as "paramilitaries." In exchange for turning in weapons and disclosing information about their organization and financial assets, the militants would be eligible to receive quick trials and prison terms limited to a maximum of eight years. Those involved in drug trafficking, as many of the paramilitary groups have been, would be exempted from extradition to the United States."
I think this disturbs the editorial page. I say, I think because what follows the above quote is a form of the now ubiquitous he said, she said journalism. And the editorial doesn't seem to understand or at least doesn't explain the complexity of Colombia's civil conflict.

has the Bush administration's support but has drawn objections in Congress, both from Democrats and Republicans.

Part of the resistance comes from representatives disturbed by the idea that the paramilitaries would be held less than fully accountable for crimes that include massacres and acts of terrorism in addition to cocaine trafficking.

...

If the demobilization plan fails, Colombia will have no choice but to return to fighting -- and paramilitary leaders who continue to traffic drugs will once again face extradition to the United States. In the meantime, the United States ought to do what it can to give this crucial initiative by a democratic ally every chance to succeed.
Pretty tepid support. Where has the Post been on this issue? We love to have discussions in the abstract about American foreign policy and grand strategy? Is American an empire? Let's have a semantic discussion and beat that dead horse.

Here's an idea let's discuss policy. Why doesn't the Washington Post run editorials suggesting what to do in Colombia? This isn't a new problem. The insurgency in Colombia has been simmering for decades. Left wing insurgents make inroads, then right wing paramilitaries crack down. Let's not forget the Colombian government's historical ties to some of those pararmilitaries. I didn't read any of that in the editorial. Let's have a discussion about policy. Let's stop waiting until a situation reaches a tipping point and then reporting on what different sides think about the less than perfect solution. Darfur? Niger? (Hint: Iran is next. Get to work).

#
posted 7:13 PM

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Seriously, do you read this stuff? Hi-larious. My non-serious post for the month.

#
posted 11:20 PM

Economist Blames Aid for Africa Famine

From the AP

In Niger, a desert country twice the size of Texas, most of the 11 million people live on a dollar a day. Forty percent of children are underfed, and one out of four dies before turning 5. And that's when things are normal...

To the aid workers charged with saving the dying, the immediate challenge is to raise relief money and get supplies to the stricken areas. They leave it to the economists and politicians to come up with a lasting remedy.

One such economist is James Shikwati. He blames foreign aid.

"When aid money keeps coming, all our policy-makers do is strategize on how to get more," said the Kenya-based director of the Inter Region Economic Network, an African think tank.

"They forget about getting their own people working to solve these very basic problems. In Africa, we look to outsiders to solve our problems, making the victim not take responsibility to change."

#
posted 1:18 PM

Friday, July 29, 2005

China Rising

You may have heard or read about the DoD's latest annual report to Congress on China's military power. There was a good story on NPR last week about it. I've only recently become interested in the "rise of China" debates. But the more I read, the more I'm convinced it's much ado about nothing. China wants to be seen as a great power. It recognizes that the road to take is through economic strength as well as military strength. This shouldn't threaten the U.S. China needs foreign direct investment and values its trade relations with the U.S. As for military strength, China is modernizing its forces. But this seems related mainly to Taiwan and the perception that it needs a modern, high-tech military capable of waging war like the U.S. is able to. That doesn't mean against the U.S. Anyway, the report is suprisingly, highly readable and talks not only about force size but about strategic motivations. It's only about 45 pages. Take a look.

#
posted 2:20 PM

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

In other news that has also flown under the radar, Iraqbodycount has issued a report on civilian casualties in Iraq.

Findings include:

Who was killed?

24,865 civilians were reported killed in the first two years.
Women and children accounted for almost 20% of all civilian deaths.
Baghdad alone recorded almost half of all deaths.

When did they die?

30% of civilian deaths occurred during the invasion phase before 1 May 2003.
Post-invasion, the number of civilians killed was almost twice as high in year two (11,351) as in year one (6,215).

Who did the killing?

US-led forces killed 37% of civilian victims.
Anti-occupation forces/insurgents killed 9% of civilian victims.
Post-invasion criminal violence accounted for 36% of all deaths.
Killings by anti-occupation forces, crime and unknown agents have shown a steady rise over the entire period.

What was the most lethal weaponry?

Over half (53%) of all civilian deaths involved explosive devices.
Air strikes caused most (64%) of the explosives deaths.
Children were disproportionately affected by all explosive devices but most severely by air strikes and unexploded ordnance (including cluster bomblets).

How many were injured?

At least 42,500 civilians were reported wounded.
The invasion phase caused 41% of all reported injuries.
Explosive weaponry caused a higher ratio of injuries to deaths than small arms.
The highest wounded-to-death ratio incidents occurred during the invasion phase.
Read the entire report here.

#
posted 4:17 PM

CNN finally featured a short piece on the crisis in Niger during Wolf Blitzer reports today. It saw no irony in reporting that the crisis could have been prevented if the internaitonal community had paid attention months ago. CNN of course not being part of the international community because it's hard to get news down in Atlanta.

#
posted 4:08 PM

Sunday, July 24, 2005

See some photos of an insurgency in its last throes from the WaPo.

#
posted 9:38 PM

Aid funds finally flow for Niger

The UN says some aid is finally flowing to Niger. The BBC article quotes UN officials as saying that "it took graphic images of dying children for this to happen." But that's no thanks to U.S. media. Have you seen any graphic images?

#
posted 9:33 PM

Friday, July 22, 2005

I sent an email to the people at the Center for American progress about the Niger famine and they included a paragraph on it today's Progress Report (scroll down to 'Under the Radar').

#
posted 5:43 PM

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I always champion the work of Samantha Power and her oustanding book A Problem From Hell. Now she will also be working as a foreign policy adviser to Senator Barack Obama. Good news all around.

#
posted 1:49 PM

Still silence on Niger

Condi is only a couple of countries away. Will she say anything about the crisis in Niger?

In related, and much more important news, NBC's Andrea Mitchell got roughed up by Sudanese security for being uppity.

#
posted 12:38 PM