Wednesday, April 07, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: I Have Bad News and I Have Bad News.

We're Going Back to the Drawing Board on the "Hearts and Minds" Thing During intense fighting in Fallujah today, US forces bombed a mosque complex, reportedly killing around 40 people. Fighting in the city has killed 15 marines since Monday, along with, as always, who-knows-how-many Iraqis. Say, weren't these people supposed to greet us as liberators?

Juan Cole Sets Us Straight Juan Cole, expert on Iraqi politics, gives us his take on the "two-front war" now being fought against Sunni militants and Shiite guerrillas: The Shiite uprising is incredibly troubling, not only because so far the Shiites have been calm, but because the Mahdi Army has seized control of some major cities, indicating that it's not just a few hundred "ragtag militiamen." Also troubling for the US is the fact that the unrest seems to have spread to middle-class Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad. As the educated and cultured Cole puts it, "Major fighting in most Shiiite urban areas is unambiguous in its significance. It means that the Bush administration rule of Iraq is FUBAR."

The Army is on the Road to Ruin, Like that Awful Ramones Album Donald Rumsfeld's ambitious "Future Combat Systems" plan, a $92 billion remodeling designed to change essentially everything about the army, "is poised for major delays and a financial train wreck," according to the non-partisan federal General Accounting Office. Don't worry, though: Boeing, which stands to reap billions from the project, says it's still on track.

Kofi Annan: Slow Learner 10 years ago this week, Kofi Annan was instrumental in preventing the United Nations from intervening in the Rwandan genocide, which claimed the lives of between 800,000 and 1 million people in 100 days. Annan, who was head of UN peacekeeping at the time, refused to act on reports from UN soldiers in the field which indicated that the Hutu Power government, with its mass of poorly-armed supporters, could be stopped with a short, judicious use of force. Today, Annan is warning that the wars in the Congo and Sudan could create Rwanda-like situations. Perhaps someone should gently break the news to Kofi that 3 million people, most of them civilians, have already died in the fighting in Central Africa.

Our Wicked Popular President Scroll down to read a sign of the times: President Bush shows up to throw out the first pitch at the St. Louis Cardinals' season opener (side note: Asshole team, asshole president). The Cards' organization was so concerned about the boos the president was going to get that they piped in fake applause through the loudspeakers. Now, if this was a Phillies game, I'd say who cares - but the fact that they're worried about Bush being booed in the heartland seems significant to me.

-Consider Arms