Thursday, August 28, 2003

The idiocy of Ted Rall 

Rall, the twit who thinks Afghanistan was a war for oil, the GOP killed Paul Wellstone, and that crass cartoons attacking widows of WTC victims are funny, speaks (my comments in bold).

Tue Aug 26, 8:04 PM ET

By Ted Rall

Iraqi Resisters are Patriots

Ted Rall

NEW YORK--Nearly 70 percent of Americans tell Newsweek that "the United States will be bogged down in [Iraq (news - web sites)] for years without achieving its goals." Yet 61 percent tell the same poll that invading Iraq was the right thing to do. The reason for this weird disconnect: people think that we're in Iraq to spread democracy and rebuild the Middle East.

The goal was to remove Saddam, thus putting an end to his support for terrorists, amassing of weapons, and oppression of the Iraqi people. All three objectives have been accomplished. There is no disconnect.

They think we're The Good Guys. But the longer we keep patting ourselves on the back, the more we tell ourselves that the Iraqi resistance is a bunch of evil freedom-haters, the deeper we'll sink into this quagmire.

Oh, the -Q- word again. Visions of Vietnam dancing through his head, no doubt. Let's see what he has.

It's time to get real.

Couldn't agree more. We can start by flushing Ted Rall's entire corpus down the toilet.

In war, the side that most accurately sizes up the situation ultimately prevails. In this war in Iraq, our leaders thought the fall of Baghdad meant the end of the conflict.

Untrue. Nearly everyone agreed rebuilding the country would take years.

"Mission accomplished," as the banner behind George W. Bush read on the aircraft carrier. But Saddam understood the truth: the war began with the occupation. Guerilla warfare offered the only way for Iraq's tiny, poorly armed military to resist the U.S.

Precisely. The Baathists cannot win on the field of battle, thus they engage in guerrilla tactics and terrorism. Well spotted, Rall.

The Baath Party planned to provoke U.S. occupation forces into mistreating the population.

Notice what's missing here? That's right: not a -word- about how the Baath party mistreated the population of Iraq for decades.

It worked.

Random bombings and sniper hits have made the American occupiers jittery and paranoid. They've withdrawn into fortified cantonments where they've cut off contact with civilians.

Bald-faced lie. US & British soldiers are interacting with civilians all the time.


In Iraq, we are the bad guys.

Finally, Rall shows his true colors.

What about the "terrorists" who bombed the U.N. headquarters

No scare quotes necessary: the attack on the UN headquarters was -by definition- a terrorist attack, killing 2 dozen civilians from the international community and wounding 150 more. To wit:

"The term 'terrorism' means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience... The US Government has employed this definition of terrorism for statistical and analytical purposes since 1983."

- Patterns of Global Terrorism, US State Department, 21 May 2002

and Jordanian embassy in Baghdad, who sabotage oil and water pipelines, who use rifles and rocket-propelled grenades and remote-controlled mines to kill our soldiers? Aren't these "killers" evil, "killing people who just want to help," as another AP writer puts it?

In short: no.

Read that again. Yes, Rall is -actually saying- that those who perpetrated the heinous terrorist massacre at the UN are not evil. It gets worse.

The ad hoc Iraqi resistance is comprised of indigenous fighters ranging from secular ex-Republican Guards to radical Islamist Shiites,

Yes, Baathists and Islamists: two tyranny-loving minorities; a match made in heaven.

as well as foreign Arab volunteers waging the same brand of come-one-come-all jihad that the mujahedeen fought against Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan (news - web sites). While one can dismiss foreign jihadis as naïve adventurers,

Call me old-fashioned, but I reserve the term 'naïve adventurers' for people like university students backpacking through Europe, not theocratic fanatics bent on Islamic world domination and conquest.

honest Americans should call native Iraqi resistance fighters by a more fitting name: Iraqi patriots.

Odd, then, that these 'patriots' seem to have the support of so little of the population. To wit:

"Every poll taken in Iraq shows the same thing: that the Iraqis welcome the American liberation and appreciate their rebuilding efforts. In a YouGov poll last month, 50 percent said the war was "right" (23 percent had no opinion). Only thirteen percent wanted U.S. and British forces to leave Iraq "straightaway"; 31 percent hoped the troops would stay for "a few years."

- Stephen Pollard, 'We can still succeed in reconstructing Iraq', The Independent (UK), August 25, 2003.

The same poll says that only 5 percent want the return of Saddam, and only 6 percent want rule by mullahs, adding up to a whopping 11% approval rating for the guerrillas

I collect propaganda posters.


One of my favorites, from World War II, depicts a strapping young SS officer holding a smiling local kid in his arms. "Trust the German soldier," the caption exhorts citizens of occupied France. But when liberation came in 1945, Frenchmen who had obeyed that poster were shot as collaborators. The men and women who resisted--the "terrorists" who shot German soldiers, cut phone lines and bombed trains--received medals and pensions. Invaders always say that they come as liberators, but it's almost never true. Whether you live in Paris or Baghdad or New York, you're expected to know that, and to act accordingly.

Yes, Rall is -actually comparing- coalition forces with the Nazis. It is, however, fortunate that he brings up this monstrous and fatuous comparison, as I will now demonstrate.


Under George W. Bush, truth and justice are no longer the American way. The U.S. occupation of Iraq is misguided, evil and doomed to failure. The sooner we accept this difficult truth, the sooner we decide to stop being the bad guys, the sooner we'll withdraw our troops. The bloodshed may continue after we leave--and we'll be partly to blame for that. But until we pull out, the carnage is all ours.

Sami Tuma's brother was shot to death when he drove past a U.S. military checkpoint. (The psychotic U.S. military policy in Iraq, despite countless killings of innocent civilians and at least five reporters to date, is not to warn victims before opening fire.) "It is simple," says Tuma. "If someone kills your son, wife or brother without any reason but only that they happen to be walking or driving in the street, what you will do? You retaliate."

It's what I'd do. It's probably what you'd do too.

Ted Rall saw fit to bring up a Nazi comparison earlier, and it's only fair to apply a more accurate one here. As Hugh Hewitt has written, "despite what the quagmire chorus would have you believe, this isn't the first time America has tried to rebuild a war-torn, formerly fascist state". Precisely so.

During the Allied occupation of Germany (in which horrific war crimes were inflicted upon the German civilian populace by the Red army, not to mention fewer and more minor crimes by Western troops in comparison) a Nazi guerrilla movement called the Werwolf arose to fight the the occupying forces. To wit,

"A case in point is the Nazi Werewolf guerrilla movement founded by Heinrich Himmler in 1944, which fought the occupying forces of Britain, America and Russia until at least 1947.

The Werewolves were originally organised by the SS and the Hitler Youth as a diversionary operation on the fringes of the Third Reich, which were occupied by the Western Allies and the Soviets in the autumn of 1944. Some 5,000 -- 6,000 recruits were raised by the winter of 1944-45, but numbers rose considerably in the following spring when the Nazi Party and the Propaganda Ministry launched a popular call to arms, beseeching everybody in the occupied areas -- even women and children -- to launch themselves upon the enemy. In typical Nazi fashion, this expansion was not co-ordinated by the relevant bodies, which were instead involved in a bureaucratic war among themselves over control of the project. The result was that the movement functioned on two largely unrelated levels: the first as a real force of specially trained SS, Hitler Youth and Nazi Party guerrillas; the second as an outlet for casual violence by fanatics.

The Werewolves specialised in ambushes and sniping, and took the lives of many Allied and Soviet soldiers and officers -- perhaps even that of the first Soviet commandant of Berlin, General N.E. Berzarin, who was rumoured to have been waylaid in Charlottenburg during an incident in June 1945. Buildings housing Allied and Soviet staffs were favourite targets for Werewolf bombings; an explosion in the Bremen police headquarters, also in June 1945, killed five Americans and thirty-nine Germans. Techniques for harassing the occupiers were given widespread publicity through Werewolf leaflets and radio propaganda, and long after May 1945 the sabotage methods promoted by the Werewolves were still being used against the occupying powers

Although the Werewolves originally limited themselves to guerrilla warfare with the invading armies, they soon began to undertake scorched-earth measures and vigilante actions against German `collaborators' or `defeatists'. They damaged Germany's economic infrastructure, already battered by Allied bombing and ground fighting, and tried to prevent anything of value from falling into enemy hands".

- Perry Biddiscombe, 'Minutemen of the Third Reich: history of the Nazi Werewolf guerilla movement', History Today, October 2000.


"What did the Werwolf do? They sniped. They mined roads. They poured sand into the gas tanks of jeeps. (Sugar was in short supply, no doubt.) They were especially feared for the "decapitation wires" they strung across roads. They poisoned food stocks and liquor. (The Russians had the biggest problem with this.) They committed arson, though perhaps less than they are credited with: every unexplained fire or explosion associated with a military installation tended to be blamed on the Werwolf. These activities slackened off within a few months of the capitulation on May 7, though incidents were reported as late as 1947.


Goebbels especially grasped the possibility that guerrilla war could be a political process as well as a military strategy. It was largely through his influence that the Werwolf assumed something of the aspect of a terrorist organization. Where it could, it tried to prevent individuals and communities from surrendering, and it assassinated civil officials who cooperated with the Allies. Few Germans welcomed these activities, but something else that Goebbels grasped was that terror might serve where popularity was absent. By his estimate, only 10% to 15% of the German population were potential supporters for a truly revolutionary movement. His goal was to use the Werwolf to activate that potential. With the help of the radical elite, the occupiers could be provoked into savage reprisals that would win over the mass of the people to Neo-Nazism, a term that came into use in April 1945".

- John J. Reilly, review of by Perry Biddiscombe, 'Werwolf! The History of the National Socialist Guerrilla Movement, 1944-1946', Online at http://pages.prodigy.net/aesir/wer.htm

Recall Rall's words above about fighting foreign occupiers in Iraq: "It's what I'd do. It's probably what you'd do too".

Using Rall's logic we can deduce that if Rall were a German citizen post-1945, he too would join the Werwolf neo-Nazi movement. Is further comment necessary?

Ted Rall is the author of the graphic travelogue "To Afghanistan and Back," an award-winning recounting of his experiences covering the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. It is now available in a revised and updated paperback edition containing new material. Ordering information is available at amazon.com.

I'll pass.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Khomeini Loves America 

"America" says Ayatollah Seyed Hussein Khomeini, "is the symbol of freedom."

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