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Missing War News 

A link to the rest of the world

Big surprise: reporting on the war in Iraq varies from country to country -- and sometimes within the same country. In our age, when slick PR methods are used to prop up governments and regimes that are otherwise backward, it pays to doublecheck what you're being told whether you're in Iraq, Egypt, the US, or Australia. Luckily, we're also in an ultra-connected age, and it's become fairly easy to find out what the rest of the world is saying; many Americans, suspicious with good reason of any news from US government mouthpiecess, have been web surfing (or in the case of TV coverage, satellite dish surfing) for other views of the conflict. For many citizens, the problem is time. You may want to get the lowdown on the odd maneuverings and goings-on around Bagdhad, but hey you've got that late meeting, or you're getting together at a bar with friends, or Friends is on, or whatever. Here's some help. Below is an assortment of newspaper and magazine reports from a variety of countries about the war on Iraq. We've chosen stories that offer a different view from the sanitized look at the war the American media has, by and large, been spooning out. We're providing a summary of each article, an excerpt, plus a link to the respective websites where you can get a complete versio of each story.

Source: The Guardian, United Kingdom, by Brian Whitaker.

Summary: A Pentagon lawyer who sought to have US citizens imprisoned indefinitely without charge as part of the war on terrorism, along with a former CIA director with strong ties to Israel, are among those who will supervise civil administration in Iraq once Saddam Hussein is removed.

Excerpt: Michael Mobbs, 54, who will take charge of 11 of the 23 Iraqi ministries, is one of several controversial appointments to the Pentagon-controlled government-in-waiting being assembled in a cluster of seaside villas in Kuwait.

Other top-level appointees include James Woolsey, a former CIA director with Israeli connections, who has long pursued a theory that Saddam Hussein, rather than Islamic militants, was behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York.

Link: Story/0,2763,929378,00.html

Source: The Times, United Kingdom, by Mark Franchetti.

Summary: A long and harrowingly realistic account of a firefight in the city of Nasiriya, this is probably the single greatest piece of war reporting to come out of the war so far.

Excerpt: Pokorney made it over the second bridge and a few hundred yards down a highway through dusty flatlands before his vehicle was ambushed. Pokorney and his men had no chance. Fully loaded with ammunition, their truck exploded in the middle of the road, its remains burning for hours. Pokorney was hit in the chest by an RPG.

Another man who died was Fitzgerald Jordan, a staff sergeant from Texas. I felt numb when I heard this. I had met Jordan 10 days before we moved into Nasiriya. He was a character, always chewing tobacco and coming up to pat you on the back. He got me to fetch newspapers for him from Kuwait City. Later, we shared a bumpy ride across the desert in the back of a Humvee.

A decorated Gulf war veteran, he used to complain about having to come back to Iraq. "We should have gone all the way to Baghdad 12 years ago when we were here and had a real chance of removing Saddam."

Now Pokorney, Jordan and their comrades lay among unspeakable carnage. . .


Source: Canadian Press.

Summary: The Red Cross in Iraq is horrified by the number of dead civilians.

Excerpt: International Red Cross worker Roland Huguenin explained, "In Hilla, everybody had very serious wounds and many, many of them small kids and women. We had small toddlers of two or three years of age who had lost their legs, their arms. We have called this a horror."

At least 400 people were taken to the Hilla hospital over a period of two days, he said -- far beyond its capacity. "Doctors worked around the clock to do as much as they could. They just had to manage, that was all."

The city is no longer accessible, he added.

Link: News/story/CTVNews/1049413227648_10/?hub=SpecialEvent3

Source: Korea Herald, South Korea, by David Ignatius.

Summary: Concerns from Arab nations are pouring in to the US government regarding American plans for administering postwar Iraq.

Excerpt: Even as U.S.-led troops tighten the noose around Baghdad, a bitter diplomatic battle is taking shape. . . The Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud Faisal, outlined his concerns in an interview at his home here Wednesday night. "We think the worst thing that could happen after a war in Iraq is a military occupation," Prince Saud said. . .

So far, civilian officials at the Pentagon with neoconservative political leanings are maintaining tight control of the postwar planning process. Critics fear their goal is to use occupied Baghdad as a platform for broader U.S. efforts to transform the Arab world -- a process Prince Saud called a recipe for "a continuous war."


Source: Haaretz, Israel, by Zvi Bar'el.

Summary: The war has increased rifts between the different Arab states.

Excerpt: There are a lot of frayed nerves these days in the Arab states. Leaders aren't talking to other leaders, insulting messages are flying from state to state, official journalists are leveling accusations at other official journalists, young people on the campuses are just waiting for an opportunity to burst through the fences, and every day the war in Iraq gets creative new names: "war of aggression," "war of hatred," the "invasion of Iraq" and so on.

The main axis of tension runs between Egypt, Syria and Kuwait. Egypt is accused of supporting the war, Syria is accusing Kuwait of creating the conditions for the war, and Kuwait is threatening to withdraw its financial aid to Syria and Lebanon. . .

Link: 0&listSrc=Y

Source: Sunday Herald, United Kingdom, by Neil Mackay.

Summary: British and American coalition forces are using depleted uranium (DU) shells in the war against Iraq and deliberately flouting a United Nations resolution which classifies the munitions as illegal weapons of mass destruction.

Excerpt: DU contaminates land, causes ill-health and cancers among the soldiers using the weapons, the armies they target and civilians, leading to birth defects in children. . . Professor Doug Rokke, ex-director of the Pentagon's depleted uranium project -- a former professor of environmental science at Jacksonville University and onetime US army colonel who was tasked by the US department of defence with the post-first Gulf war depleted uranium desert clean-up -- said use of DU was a "war crime'.

Rokke said: "There is a moral point to be made here. This war was about Iraq possessing illegal weapons of mass destruction -- yet we are using weapons of mass destruction ourselves.' He added: "Such double-standards are repellent.


Source: BBC, United Kingdom, by Tom Newton Dunn.

Summary: A group of British commandos slowly realize an Iraqi police station they've captured had been used as a torture chamber.

Excerpt: Their faces stared up at me in black and white, snap shots of individual lives frozen in time. . .Dozens and dozens of Iraqi national identity cards were spread across the chief of police's abandoned large oak desk. . .All of them were men, aged between around 20 and 50 -- people's sons, husbands, brothers, or fathers. In Saddam Hussein's Iraq, it is a crime not to carry these identity cards wherever you go, a crime punishable by imprisonment.

We stopped to think why these dozens of men did not need their ID cards anymore.


Source: Le Monde, France, By Henri Tincq.

Summary: The religious overtones of this war make it even more dangerous than expected, especially in terms of the postwar future.

Excerpt: The vision of the American Cabinet praying in the White House before deciding to go to war may make some smile on this side of the Atlantic. The least pious Muslim might be equally shocked by the exploitation of the name of Allah and a call to "martyrdom" in the mouth of the Iraqi leader, head of the ultra-secular Baathist party, who has demonstrated the low value he ascribes to human life. For the reader of the Koran or the Gospel, nothing is more indefensible than this manner of invoking God in every instance, giving God's endorsement for human decisions, sometimes among those the most criminal, to confuse faith, weapons, and right.

Link: 0,5987,3462--314946-,00.html

Source: Reuters, by Andrew Hay.

Summary: Two British soldiers who questioned the legality of the US-led war in Iraq have been sent home and will probably face disciplinary action.

Excerpt: "They expressed doubts about the legality of the war, about whether they should be called upon to shoot innocent civilians," Gilbert Blades, a Lincolnshire-based military lawyer, told Reuters. "As soon as they expressed these views to other soldiers they were then removed."

The case could prove embarrassing to the government, which ordered the military into action in the face of heavy public opposition and without a clear mandate from the United Nations.

Link: newsdesk/L01605437.htm

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