You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

October 09, 2006

Memory Hole Now Back At 100% Efficiency!

Hedgehog at Rhinocrisy reminds us who DOES and DOES NOT deserve to be mentioned when they get buried alive.

Google News search for Saddam 'buried alive' kurds: 191

Google News search for 'United States' 'buried alive' iraqi soldiers 'gulf war': 0

Posted at October 9, 2006 01:27 PM | TrackBack

I googled "how many iraqi soldiers did we bury alive" and found "Church Folks for a Better America" near the top of the list with the following:

"16. Q: What is the estimated number of civilian casualties in the [first] Gulf War?

A: 35,000

17. Q: How many casualties did the Iraqi military inflict on the western forces during the [first] Gulf War ?

A: 0

18. Q: How many retreating Iraqi soldiers were buried alive by U. S. tanks with ploughs mounted on the front?

A: 6,000

19. Q: How many tons of depleted uranium were left in Iraq and Kuwait after the Gulf War?

A: 40 tons

20. Q: What according to the UN was the increase in cancer rates in Iraq between 1991 and 1994?

A: 700%"

I had always thought that the buryees were trying to surrender.

Some years back, prior to the current Iraqi misadventure, I had written that

Cardinal James Francis Stafford, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, has recently been quoted in the National Catholic Reporter for February 14, 2003. He writes that

"From the past several years, two contrasting memories of young people constantly surface in my thoughts. Both involve the use of power. The first memory is the moral uneasiness expressed by a U.S Army office after the 1991 Desert Storm War. What haunted him most was the massive guilt over his order to his men to bury Iraqi soldiers during the American sweep across their front lines. Since they were surrendering in such large and unexpected numbers, the Iraqis seemed to constitute a threat to the security of the allied forces. Obeying his order, the young American soldiers used their bulldozers to bury alive
hundreds, possibly thousands (the numbers vary), of Iraqis in the desert sand. This horrific memory recalls the words of the Holy Father:'War is always a defeat for man. One cannot be doing the work of peace while radically violating the human rights of others."

Indeed. It is difficult to imagine a more radical violation of human rights than being buried alive while trying to surrender.

I am a bit put off by his eminence's language. If "moral uneasiness" is the basis for "massive guilt" then, it seems to me, we are in deep trouble. (Really, I should have said shit, for this is mass murder we're talking about).

Rather, the young officer should have been aware that his order, and the execution of said order by the young soldiers, is and was a crime
of war, totally contrary to the Geneva Convention and to the Nuernberg Principles. The canard that the mass surrender could have constituted a threat has long ago been disproved. We have travelled long and have learned little.

Sadly, his eminence makes no mention of the courageous American pilots who refused to follow orders to fire on the Iraqis fleeing along the infamous "highway of death", also known as the "turkey shoot". These were the real heroes, men who would not stain the flag with palpable atrocities.

All this by way of prelude to a recent request that I join in an effort to have Saddam Hussein indicted for crimes against humanity in an effort to stave off the war. (The second Iraqi invasion).

Posted by: Jesus B. Ochoa at October 9, 2006 04:07 PM

U.S. Defends Burying Iraqi Troops Alive
Pentagon Cites "Gap" in International Law
Reprinted from the San Francisco Chronicle
The Pentagon said that a "gap" in the laws governing warfare made it legally permissible during the gulf war for U.S. tanks to bury thousands of Iraqi troops in their trenches and for U.S. warplanes to bomb the enemy retreating along the so-called Highway of Death.
An elaborate legal justification was contained in an appendix to the report on the war sent to Congress by Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. The section also accused Iraq of "widespread and premeditated" war crimes and environmental terrorism.
But it absolved U.S. forces on war crime issues raised "by some in the post-conflict environment."

According to the new report, the incidents raised questions about the Geneva Convention's prohibition of "denial of quarter" -- refusing to accept an enemy's offer to surrender. It said:
"There is a gap in the law of war in defining precisely when surrender takes effect or how it may be accomplished. An attempt at surrender in the midst of a hard-fought battle is neither easily communicated nor received. The issue is one of reasonableness."

* * *


You really gotta look out for the gaps; they will get you every time, so much for war time etiquette and those Geneva conventions. Proper killing time is between eight in the morning till noon when it is time for a lunch break and resumes at one in the afternoon till five when it is time to go home for supper.

Notice how Dick Cheney came up with an elaborate legal justification just in time for tea and toast.

Thank you Pope Cheney for absolving us, pass the holy water please.

Posted by: rob payne at October 9, 2006 06:42 PM

You really gotta look out for the gaps; they will get you every time,

Anyone ever read Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere? Mind the Gap being the horriblly fluid shadowy monster that comes out from between the train the platform to snag the residents of London Below. rob payne just gave me a frightening vision of a textual lacunae aggregating and pooling out of inadaquate legal codes and cruelly wordsmithed briefs, a grim and toxic fog that crawls up bureaucrats nostrils, down through their lungs, latching its grip around their hearts before reaching out through their fingers to execute all kinds of grim and tasteless orders.

Posted by: Saheli at October 10, 2006 01:25 PM

i don't mind gaps. after all, we're talking about professionals who are getting this discretionary authority. gettin' paid is america's right and true last line of defense.

son, did you bury those people in their trenches?
hell yeah... your honor.
and did you GET PAID for your work?
case dismissed.

Posted by: hibiscus at October 10, 2006 04:31 PM


"horriblly fluid shadowy monster"

That is the best descrtiption of Cheney I ever read and it just goes to show no matter how well a law is written that nothing is Cheney proof.

Posted by: rob payne at October 10, 2006 05:40 PM

In all fairness, Abrams tanks burying armed Iraqi forces in their trenches during Gulf I is old, old news, and you're not likely to hit on it searching Google News. However, if you use the same search in Google web, you get 518 hits. I personally wouldn't search news articles for anything that happened more than a month or two ago.

Posted by: Ken at October 10, 2006 10:05 PM

It may be old news yet it is difficult to get past that the news is still inundating us with their propaganda. And in the same vein what Saddam did is old, old news as well.

And who are they kidding anyway? There is the 33 to 35 percent or whatever number of Bush diehards who probably think the sun orbits the Earth as well and this PR for Bush is getting more pathetic by the day.

I think most are well aware of what Saddam did and the timing of these 'startling' revelations seems to be timed nicely with the elections just around the corner.

Posted by: rob payne at October 11, 2006 03:47 AM

Um, old news like the day we started trashing the teachings of Nurenberg? Old news can be read as modern history, the teachings of which we ignore and ignore to our peril and that of our children. Consider the recent gift given boy George by consenting "adults" through the casting aside of habeas corpus and the legitimizing of torture. That
too will be "old news" in a month or two.

Posted by: Jesus B. Ochoa at October 11, 2006 10:52 AM

Jesus B. Ochoa,

Speaking of History Bush gives us his intersting version of it.

“I’m asked questions around the country, ‘Just go ahead and use the military,’ ” Mr. Bush said at a morning news conference in the Rose Garden, his first extended question-and-answer session with reporters in the days since North Korea announced it had detonated a nuclear device. “And my answer is that I believe the commander in chief must try all diplomatic measures before we commit our military.”

“I’ll ask myself a follow-up,” Mr. Bush said. “ ‘If that’s the case, why did you use military action in Iraq?’ And the reason why is because we tried the diplomacy.”

Posted by: rob payne at October 11, 2006 11:37 PM