The Naked Truth

Stopping the world’s spin.

Iraq War: Winners and Losers

In 2008, there are still more American troops in Iraq than during the invasion, with no exit yet in sight. Britain’s Ministry of Defence has just admitted that it has been unable to withdraw as many British troops as it planned – there are 4,000 still based just outside Basra, instead of the projected 2,500. So far 3,987 American soldiers and 197 British troops have died in Iraq.

Soldier and Statue of Saddam

The Winners

Dick Cheney

The only Washington hawk still in a position of power after the occupation went so disastrously wrong. Part of a lame-duck administration, but can look forward to a comfortable retirement: his former company, Halliburton, has done nicely out of the whole Iraq business.

Iran

Could the ayatollahs ever have imagined that the Great Satan would overthrow its great enemy, Saddam, put its Shia co-religionists in power in Iraq and make its soldiers hostage to Tehran’s good will? They have George Bush where they want him, and Israel is nervous.

Sir John Scarlett

Author of the notorious WMD dossier along with Alastair Campbell, he was criticised for allowing MI6 to be used for political ends. But a grateful Tony Blair granted his ambition of heading the service, and the traditional knighthood followed.

Al-Qaeda

Saddam had no truck with Osama bin Laden’s men, but that did not stop the White House convincing the US public they were in cahoots. It was the invasion that gave al-Qa’ida a foothold in Iraq and eased the pressure on it in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Kurds

The only Iraqis still wholeheartedly behind the occupation, and why not? America ousted the man who attacked them with poison gas, and guarantees the safety of the closest thing the Kurds have ever had to an independent nation.

Tim Spicer

Got into hot water with his previous military company, Sandline, in Sierra Leone and New Guinea. Bounced back spectacularly with Aegis Defence Services, which won a huge contract in Iraq, to the dismay of his American competitors.

The Losers

George Bush

Thanks to his invasion of Iraq, historians are seriously debating whether he is the worst President in US history. Even if Cheney and Rumsfeld were more to blame, he will bear ultimate responsibility for the damage to America’s standing in the world.

The neocons

Never have arrogance and incompetence combined to such disastrous effect. The ideologues might have been “mugged by reality” and humiliated, but Iraq will suffer the consequences for decades to come.

Tony Blair

Might still be Prime Minister if Iraq had not stained his record. But given the millions he’s now making, some might think that he belongs in the Winners column.

The Palestinians

Preoccupied by Iraq, the US has had little time or inclination to press Israel to talk peace, apart from the half-hearted initiative launched in Mr Bush’s last year in office.

The US media

How did a press that prides itself on its rigour and accuracy get carried along by war hysteria? ‘The New York Times’ and WMD propaganda, anyone?

Afghanistan

The world supported the US when it overthrew the Taliban and ousted its al-Qa’ida “guests”. But America switched its attention to Iraq. The result: al-Qa’ida and the Taliban have regained strength.

British security

The July 7, 2005 bombers used Britain’s role in Iraq as their excuse, and the authorities have their hands full trying to prevent disaffected young Muslims seeking to emulate them.

source: independent.co.uk

March 18, 2008 Posted by | iraq | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US: Muslim states, UN fuel anti-Semitism

There has been an upsurge in anti-Semitism over the past decade, much of it a new form whose “distinguishing feature” is criticism of Israel, according to a State Department report released over the weekend.

The 94-page report on 2007 criticizes many Muslim and Arab countries for encouraging anti-Semitism, and an entire chapter is devoted to anti-Semitism at the United Nations.

“Motives for criticizing Israel in the UN may stem from legitimate concerns over policy or from illegitimate prejudices,” the report reads. “However, regardless of the intent, disproportionate criticism of Israel as barbaric and unprincipled, and corresponding discriminatory measures adopted in the UN against Israel, have the effect of causing audiences to associate negative attributes with Jews in general, thus fueling anti-Semitism.”

The report lists forms of anti-Semitic crimes including terrorist attacks against Jews, desecration of synagogues and destruction of cemeteries. In addition, it cites anti-Semitic rhetoric, conspiracy theories, and other propaganda.

While the report notes that traditional forms of anti-Semitism continue to be found across the globe, “anti-Semitism has proven to be an adaptive phenomenon.”

The new forms often incorporate elements of traditional anti-Semitism, but “the distinguishing feature of the new anti-Semitism is criticism of Zionism or Israeli policy that – whether intentionally or unintentionally – has the effect of promoting prejudice against all Jews by demonizing Israel and Israelis and attributing Israel’s perceived faults to its Jewish character.”

While this new anti-Semitism is “common throughout the Middle East and in Muslim communities in Europe,” it is not confined to these populations, the report finds.

The document’s introduction singles out Iran and Syria for their demonization of Jews, and adds, “Venezuela’s government-sponsored mass media have become vehicles for anti-Semitic discourse, as have government news media in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.”

It names Britain, France and Germany as European countries where “anti-Semitic violence remains a significant concern,” but also lists other Western nations as experiencing recent increases, including Argentina, Australia and Canada.

The report, a follow-up on one issued in 2005, compiled data from government and NGO sources around the world.

This year’s report was dedicated to the late Rep. Tom Lantos of California, the US House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman who passed away last month. A Holocaust survivor, he co-sponsored the legislation creating the Office of the Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism, which issued the report.

“Today’s report provides evidence of a disturbing resurgence in anti-Semitism around the globe,” the new House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, Rep. Howard Berman, also of California, said in a statement issued Thursday.

“All too often, legitimate criticism of the State of Israel can veer into naked anti-Semitism characterized by vile hate speech,” Berman said. “And all too often, it goes unchallenged. When hate speech arises, we should call it what it is – and do what can be done to stop it.”

The report was welcomed by the Anti-Defamation League, whose national director, Abraham Foxman, said, “The report not only focuses attention on the problem, but sets important benchmarks and criteria for foreign governments as well as for US monitoring and diplomacy.”

“We hope that this call to action by the United States government will encourage countries to do more to monitor and combat anti-Semitism,” he said.

source: The Jerusalem Post

March 15, 2008 Posted by | Human Rights | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Little Oil Money

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), just might be the place to go. In fact, foreigners known as expats now out number the locals known as Emiratis.

Take a look at what it offers:

Palm Islands, the world’s largest artificial islands shaped like a giant palm tree. They add 520 km of beaches to Dubai City.

palm islands

Burj Al Arab, the world’s only 7 star hotel.

Dubailand will consist of 3 billion sq. ft. of theme parks, eco-tourism projects, shopping malls, restaurants and residential units that are being developed by UAE, Gulf Cooperation Council and international investors. It will include: Universal City Dubai, a 22,000,000 sq. ft. development, featuring Universal Studios Dubai as its centerpiece; Paramount Studios Theme Park; Tiger Woods Dubai, an exclusive golf community that will include the first ever Tiger Woods designed golf course; Dubai Snowdome will be 85 metres tall and 220 metres in diameter and will feature a ski dome, residential towers, hotels, a shopping mall, restaurants, coffee shops and retail outlets; and Mall of Arabia, the world’s largest shopping mall.

The Sixth Crossing, the world’s longest and tallest bridge, will be 1 mile long at 673 feet high.

And who can forget Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building with 160 floors as of March 1, 2008.

March 14, 2008 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oil, Islam and Women

A professor at UCLA has really outdone himself. Political science professor Michael Ross has released a study concluding that women in the Middle East are not oppressed because of their Islamic religion. Nope. They are oppressed because of oil. According to Ross, the oil boom puts more men than women in the workplace and decrease women’s political representation. Because of this, oil-producing states have stronger patriarchal norms, laws and governments.

In other words, “gender inequality” has nothing to do with the peaceful, serene religion of Islam. The religion that blocks young school girls from leaving burning buildings because they aren’t wearing their headscarves is not to blame. The religion that justifies the beating of your wife is innocent. The religion that forces young girls into marriages isn’t the problem. Nope. Islam has absolutely nothing to do with it. It must be the evil wealth that is gained by being an oil producing country. In fact, this guy goes as far to say that “changes in global energy markets could ultimately influence the status of women in dozens of oil producing countries.” Reading between the lines: stop producing oil, otherwise women will continue to be marginalized.

Do you know why these fools spend their lives teaching in universities? Because they couldn’t survive in the private sector .. that’s why.

source: Boortz.com

March 14, 2008 Posted by | Middle East | , , , , , | Leave a comment