War: June 2003 Archives

... or about helping the Iraqis in any meaningful way.

I was struck by the photo when I saw it, not knowing any background.

Mon Jun 23, 5:09 PM ET
U.S. military policeman Sgt. 1st Class Brian Pacholski, left, comforts his hometown friend, U.S. military policeman Sgt. David J. Borell, right, both from Toledo, Ohio, at the entrance of the U.S. military base in Balad, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of Baghdad, Friday, June 13, 2003. Borell broke down after seeing three Iraqi children who were injured while playing with explosive materials. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

Now the story of that photo is out. Borell broke down after an army doctor refused to treat the children.

On a scorching afternoon, while on duty at an Army airfield, Sgt. David J. Borell was approached by an Iraqi who pleaded for help for his three children, burned when they set fire to a bag containing explosive powder left over from war in Iraq.

Borell immediately called for assistance. But the two Army doctors who arrived about an hour later refused to help the children because their injuries were not life-threatening and had not been inflicted by U.S. troops.

Now the two girls and a boy are covered with scabs and the boy cannot use his right leg. And Borell is shattered.

"I have never seen in almost 14 years of Army experience anything that callous," said Borell, who recounted the June 13 incident to The Associated Press.

A U.S. military spokesman said the children's condition did not fall into a category that requires Army physicians to treat them — and that there was no inappropriate response on the part of the doctors.

I wasn't aware that doctors renounced the Hippocratic Oath when they entered the military.

[via Anees]

No commentary from me needed, I think:

'Apocalypse Now' Music Fires Up U.S. Troops for Raid

U.S. troops psyched up on a bizarre musical reprise from Vietnam war film "Apocalypse Now" before crashing into Iraqi homes to hunt gunmen on Saturday, as Shi'ite Muslims rallied against the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

With the strains of Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" still ringing in their ears and the clatter of helicopters overhead, soldiers rammed vehicles into metal gates and hundreds of troops raided houses in the western city of Ramadi after sunrise as part of a drive to quell a spate of attacks on U.S. forces.


There was nothing secretive about Saturday's robust sweep through Ramadi, 100 km (60 miles) west of Baghdad, by soldiers of the First Battalion of the 124th Infantry Regiment who psyched themselves up at a base on a musical moment redolent of Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 film about the Vietnam war.

The Baghdad Blogger, Salam Pax, who also happens to be gay, now has a fortnightly column in the Guardian. There is an article by freelance journalist Peter Maass in Slate about him discovering his interpreter was the world-famous blogger.

Peter Maass wrote a very powerful article in April for the NY Times Magazine about being with the Third Battalion as it entered Baghdad -- killing all in its path, civilian and otherwise.

From The Guardian, via Ruminate This.

The US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz - who has already undermined Tony Blair's position over weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by describing them as a "bureaucratic" excuse for war - has now gone further by claiming the real motive was that Iraq is "swimming" in oil.

The latest comments were made by Mr Wolfowitz in an address to delegates at an Asian security summit in Singapore at the weekend, and reported today by German newspapers Der Tagesspiegel and Die Welt.

Asked why a nuclear power such as North Korea was being treated differently from Iraq, where hardly any weapons of mass destruction had been found, the deputy defence minister said: "Let's look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil."


UPDATED: The Guardian has issued a correction on this:

A report which was posted on our website on June 4 under the heading "Wolfowitz: Iraq war was about oil" misconstrued remarks made by the US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, making it appear that he had said that oil was the main reason for going to war in Iraq. He did not say that. He said, according to the Department of Defence website, "The ... difference between North Korea and Iraq is that we had virtually no economic options with Iraq because the country floats on a sea of oil. In the case of North Korea, the country is teetering on the edge of economic collapse and that I believe is a major point of leverage whereas the military picture with North Korea is very different from that with Iraq." The sense was clearly that the US had no economic options by means of which to achieve its objectives, not that the economic value of the oil motivated the war. The report appeared only on the website and has now been removed.

Thanks to Matt Stoller for pointing this out.


I think Hillary Clinton is a secret double agent for the Republicans. It's the only explanation that makes sense. I've written before about how she's no friend of homos, and the NY Times has written about how much she's being attacked from the left. In that article, we learn the charming fact that she's afraid to meet with the family of Barry Winchell, a gay soldier who was beaten to death with a baseball bat as he slept in his cot. The Senate Armed Services Committee, of which Hillary is a member, has decided to hold a closed door session on the promotion of Major General Robert T. Clark to Lieutenant General. MG Clark is former Commanding General of Fort Campbell, where Winchell was murdered in 1999 by fellow soldiers. Targeted because he was believed to be gay, PFC Winchell endured constant anti-gay harassment in the months leading up to his murder.

Now, as the media could be talking about the mass deception involving weapons of mass destruction that Iraq doesn't seem to have had, instead we are treated to a repraisal of the blowjob scandal that nearly led to Bill Clinton's impeachment, thanks to the release of her new memoir. While doing very little of use to New York or anyone else, Hillary has managed to find time to write a memoir. Its release gives the press another chance to remind us that lying about sex is an impeachable offense, but the treason of lying about weapons to start a war to distract us from the corporate scandals of Enron and Worldcom is just business as usual.


Updated: I left out the fact that the GOP uses the threat of Hillary becoming President in its fundraising letters.

I haven't posted much lately, so here are a few items of note:

  • After 18 years, the U.S. has decided to start contributing to, and getting active with, UNESCO, the UN's cultural arm. They've decided it might be a useful tool as part of the "War on Terrorism." When the Republicans say they're getting interested in culture, it's time to get worried.

  • The Guardian has an interview with Susan Sarandon. My friend the lovely and talented Anees sent me the URL. We recently watched Bull Durham, since I hadn't seen it in over a decade, and James had never seen it. One of my favorite lines in the movie is spoken by her character:
    The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self-awareness.

  • Cabinet Magazine has a graph illustrating the destruction of the idea of public domain by our copyright system and the abuse of it by corporations.

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