Trenchant Lemmings
Pointed missives thrown blindly into the void, there to pass unnoticed and unloved.
Septic Tanks in the Suburbs

Hmmm, it appears I was a little testy on the fourth. I wonder why.

The weekend long story - not blogging from home any more, the PC is dead, dead, dead - was the tank incursion the Seppos made into "the center of Baghdad". Looking at the map of the route in the Herald this morning, I assume this must be a technical military usage of the word "center". As the last Australian journo in Baghdad (Arnett's a Kiwi) mentions in another report, this is like saying Parramatta is the Sydney CBD. Here's a similar article (on the lies from both sides) by Fisky in The Independent.

Today, of course, the Telegraph is full of atrocity stories. Circa 1914 the Tele's front page would have undoubtedly been adorned with "babies on bayonets" cartoons. They're such troupers. The mind boggles as to what their stories would have been if Murdoch had decided he was against the war: "Saddam rescues drowning kitten", perhaps.

Excellent article from the Age on not knowing what to root for. Most of the anti-war crowd I know are much less precious about this. They want - or say they want, this place is up to the rafters in bellicose gallows humour - to see the Americans get their arses kicked. I don't - that'll just make things worse for the Iraqis. That's not the only reason: why wish death or injury on some working-class schmoe or some panicky farmboy from Iowa who are only there because they were told to be? Okay, point a camera at some of these jarheads and stupidity flows out of them like a recently unblocked drain. But hoping for significant US casualties because it will give Washington a salutary lesson is the kind of cold-blooded sociopathic armchair wargaming that we see from the types who have been favourably comparing this invasion to chemotherapy. As we despise it in them, so we should despise it everywhere.

Speaking of the "Save Iraq With Bombs" crowd, here's the elder Cockburn brother talking about the humanitarian fiasco in Umm Qasr, among other things.

Correction [14.4.03]: This post referred to Paul McGeough of the Herald as the last Australian journo in Baghdad. Actually, he was the last Australian journalist reporting from Baghdad, as Peter Wilson and photographer John Feder, both from News Ltd, were in the Iraqi capital, but under house arrest. My admittedly twitchy memory recalls that Tony Jones spoke to Peter Wilson on the Thursday (10/4) edition of Lateline about lawlessness in the city, but they don't seem to have posted a transcript. Full list of Aussie Second Gulf War correspondents here.

(Note also that Alexander Cockburn is not a member of the "Save Iraq With Bombs" crowd, as that badly written last sentence implies, but a critic of them. Perhaps I need ESL classes. )

Note to correction [30.4.03]: Peter Wilson e-mailed me about the above correction to point out that he and Mr Feder had been reporting from Baghdad throughout the war but, as he says, "[o]ur material was deliberately kept off the net because we had been ordered by the Iraqis not to file." I would hope that nothing above gives the impression Paul McGeough was the only Australian journalist in Baghdad for the whole of the war - after all, apart from Mr Wilson and Mr Feder, Ian McPhedran of the Daily Telegraph was also there until being expelled by the Iraqi authorities - but I've added this note just to make things clear.

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