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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Tuskeegee Experiment II; now we kidnap your pickaninnies

let them experiment on your kids or lost them

Guinea Pig Kids
Vulnerable children in some of New York's poorest districts are being forced to take part in HIV drug trials.

During a nine month investigation, the BBC has uncovered the disturbing truth about the way authorities in New York City are conducting the fight against Aids.

HIV positive children - some only a few months old - are enrolled in toxic experiments without the consent of guardians or relatives.

In some cases where parents have refused to give children their medication, they have been placed in care.

The city's Administration of Children's Services (ACS) does not even require a court order to place HIV kids with foster parents or in children's homes, where they can continue to give them experimental drugs.

Tuesday, 30th November, 2004
1930 GMT on BBC Two (UK)

Reporter Jamie Doran talks to parents and guardians who fear for the lives of their loved ones, and to a child who spent years on a drugs programme that made him and his friends ill.

Young lives

In 2002, the Incarnation Children's Center - a children's home in Harlem - was at the hub of controversy over secretive drugs trials.

Jamie speaks to a boy who spent most of his life at Incaranation. Medical records, obtained by the This World team, prove the boy had been enrolled in these trials.

"I did not want to take my medication," said the boy, "but if you want to get out of there, you have to do what they say."

He also conveys a horrifying account of what happened to the children at Incarnation who refused to obey the rules. "My friend Daniel didn't like to take his medicine and he got a tube in his stomach," he said.


Dr David Rasnick from the University of Berkeley who has studied the effects of HIV drugs on patients - particularly children - says these drugs are "lethal".

"The young are not completely developed yet," he says. "The immune system isn't completely mature until a person's in their teens."

So why are these children targetted? Is it simply because they cannot defend themselves?

At the beginning of this investigation, the ACS said that no child was selected for trials without a long process of decision making, but declined to comment further.

For months, the BBC tried to get information from the people responsible for the trials, but none would comment.

The companies that supply drugs for the trials are among the world's largest, including Britain's own Glaxo SmithKline (GSK).

GSK responded to BBC programme makers, saying that all trials follow stringent stardards and are compliant with local laws and regulations.

Under federal rules, consent for children to take part in drug trials has to be given by their parents.

But what if that child is in the care of New York City authorities, which volunteered it for trials in the first place?

Guinea Pig Kids was broadcast on Tuesday, 30th November, 2004, at 1930 GMT on BBC Two (UK).

posted by Steve @ 10:56:00 PM

10:56:00 PM

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Sexual abstinance for priest: an idea who's time has come

Where a number of Catholic Clergy needs to be

AIDS a sign of moral "immunodefficiency" - Vatican
30 Nov 2004 16:09:48 GMT

VATICAN CITY, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The Vatican on Tuesday blamed the spread of AIDS on an "immunodeficiency" of moral values among other factors and called for education, abstinence and greater access to drugs to fight the disease.

On the eve of World AIDS Day, the head of the Vatican's pontifical health council quoted Pope John Paul as calling AIDS a "pathology of the spirit" that must be combated with "correct sexual practice" and "education of sacred values".

"I highlight his thoughts regarding the immunodeficiency of moral and spiritual values," Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan added in a speech prepared for World AIDS Day on Wednesday.

A United Nations report released last week showed the number of adults and children living with HIV reached 39.4 million in 2004, up from 35 million in 2001.

I saw this on Atrios and was left speechless.

Isn't this the same church where thousands of little boys were raped on a regular basis?

My idea of "correct sexual practice" doesn't have anything to do with buggering little boys and intimidiating their parents.

Maybe they should lecture their priests on abstinance, especially when it comes to teen boys in their care.

posted by Steve @ 1:56:00 PM

1:56:00 PM

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Smiley leaving NPR

Fuck NPR, I'm outta here

Tavis Smiley leaving NPR in December

Tavis Smiley has opted not to renew his contract with National Public Radio to host his daily one-hour talk show
Hollywood Reporter
Updated: 11:37 a.m. ET Nov. 30, 2004

LOS ANGELES - After nearly three years on the air, Tavis Smiley has opted not to renew his contract with National Public Radio to host his daily one-hour talk show.

Smiley said Monday that his last day on the air will be Dec. 16. In announcing his decision, Smiley criticized NPR for what he characterized as its failure to “meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio but simply don’t know it exists or what it offers ... In the most multicultural, multi-ethnic and multiracial America ever, I believe that NPR can and must do better in the future.”

Melanie pointed this out, which kind of went under the radar for a lot of people

I know a lot of people get discomforted when I call NPR the network for college professors and the graduate students they fuck. But it's true. NPR is an elitist organization which is regularly put to shame by the BBC and even PBS.

While I am hardly a fan of PBS, at least it runs a range of diverse programming. NPR is designed to appeal to middle class whites and few others. I would love nothing better than to see Ira Glass and his smug little show beset by a pack of raging wolfhounds. If you take the good of NPR, Terry Gross, vs the repellent of NPR, the Beltway Bandits who run their news programming, there isn't much there. NPR is insular and clubby.

The best thing which ever happened to PBS was Joan Ganz Cooney, the creator of Children's Television Workshop, the people who bring you Sesame Street. Not just because it set the gold standard of children's programming, but because it created a diverse television workplace. A place where not only children and adults interacted realistically, no more Father Knows Best, but was a multiracial, multicultural world. But Sesame Street's effect wasn't only those little cards I got in Kindergarten with the alphabet. It set the tone for the entire range of programming on the network. Everything from jazz documentaries to an American Family came from a sense that NPR had to represent a range of views. NPR was founded by a clique and has stayed a clique.

It is hardly surprising that Smiley would grow tired of NPR. He is a singular voice there. Minorties do best on NPR when they don't act like minorities and even then, they tend to move on. Ray Suarez became an anchor on the News Hour.

And let's consider the News Hour for a moment. Their second anchor is a black woman, the others are a hispanic man and a woman, and Red Smith'
s Son Terry. Their commentators are equally balanced. Despite it's stogy nature and reliance on Washington sources, it is the most diverse anchor team on TV. NPR is still largely white. Cable is a blizzard of whiteness.

In short, Jim Lehrer hired a diverse cast of reporters and anchors for his show, while NPR's news cast is the preserve of a clique of white women. Few minorities have ever broken through at NPR. And their program largely panders to their white contributor base. Minorities usually show up on NPR as either victims, success stories or Africans. They love Africans, the poorer the better. But a balanced view of American minorities?

People give NPR a pass because of their "liberal" politics. But when you get past it, Smiley's frustration is evidently clear. NPR doesn't care about minorities, except as news subjects. Instead of a range of programming and new hiring, it's just more lip service.

I can see Smiley moving to bigger leagues sooner rather than later.

posted by Steve @ 1:35:00 PM

1:35:00 PM

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Colonial Warfare pt 10

Kenyans fighting the Japanese in Burma

While the partition of India is the stuff of epic novels and Masterpiece Theater, the bloody end to British rule in Kenya is often overlooked. The whole nature of the British in Kenya reads like a lurid sex novel, complete with murder. The theft of Kikuyu and Masai lands are of lesser interest to people, since white actresses can't be seen semi-nude in the story of destroying the pastoral life of a people.

The Mau Mau rebellion set the stage for rebellions across black Africa, as long simmering resentment towards British rule finally exploded. Like in other colonies, the British-trained ex-soldiers led the way. However, unlike the Congolese or Indonesians, Kenyans, like their Algerian counterparts, had a good grounding in modern warfare. As members of the 11th East Africa Division, they fought the Japanese in Burma as part of the 14th Army.

The 11th East African Division incorporated battalions of the King’s African Rifles and other forces from Kenya, Uganda, Nyasaland (now Malawi), Somaliland (Somalia) and Tanganyika (Tanzania). These Africans – considered by some of their own British officers to have been undervalued and underused as front-line troops by the British commanders – proved extremely hardy and tenacious in several battles, both as combatant soldiers and as medical staff, carriers and other auxiliary participants.
The Askaris or soldiers of 11 East African Division, which included the Kenyans and the Ugandans of the King's African Rifles, proved notable jungle fighters, especially in the notoriously disease-ridden Kabaw Valley (‘Death Valley’) near the Indian border towards the end of 1944.
In December 1944 the 14th Army launched its third and decisive Arakan offensive. The 11th East African Division advance to the River Chindwin, capturing the town of Kalewa.

This solid war record, and the educational efforts used to get the three African divisions (81st and 82nd West African and 11th East African) up to standard would have the effect of creating people who no longer wanted to be ruled by the British. They had fought side by side with the British, beaten the Japanese like the British and wanted to run their own country like the British.

By 1952, disgust with British rule in Kenya would explode in rebellion.

Why did the Kenyans hate the settlers? Well, they lived in a weird fantasyland in which Kenya and Kenyans were mere backdrops.

Altitude sickness
by Javier Gómez-García

The place where this happened was Soysambu Ranch, the property of Baron Delamere at the shore of Lake Elmenteita, in present-day Kenya. The region was the most flourishing development pole in British East Africa, home of some of the most prominent families of colonial aristocracy. But behind the shining there is always a shade. In this case, the dark side was known as the Happy Valley, a name that symbolised a place, the White Highlands; a time, the period between the two world wars; and a community, the European settlers under the Union Jack. And mainly, a lifestyle: the ex-pats lived a never-ending and unrestrained celebration where no human instinct was without satisfaction. "Continual flow champagne", described Waugh, only an occasional visitor surprised by the decadent delirium. In those days an expression became popular, "are you married or do you live in Kenya?". Couples swinging was, after hunting and horse races, the main socialisation ritual.

Today, the fifth Baron of Delamere still lives at Soysambu. He affectionately defines his stepmother, the late Diana Delamere, as a nymphomaniac, which in his opinion was due to the fact that she "didn't ovulate well". Now, hold your breath. Diana, née Caldwell, married the fourth Lord Delamere, who passed away bequeathing a good stretch of his land to her, same as had done her previous husband, Gilbert de Preville Colvile, a friend of Lord Delamere who flattered Diana with a mansion bordering Lake Naivasha called Djinn Palace, a.k.a. Gin Palace, original dwelling of "Molly" Mary Ramsay-Hill, married for the second time to Josslyn Victor Hay, twenty second count of Erroll and an inveterate gigolo formerly married to Idina, who wedded five times. Molly had died of alcohol and heroin abuse when Lord Erroll had an affair with Diana, who after Delamere's demise got married to Sir John Henry Delves Broughton, alias Jock, a friend of Erroll. One night, Erroll was found shot dead. Everyone's eyes where then set on Jock, who in fact scarcely fitted into the role of the outraged husband. The night before the crime, Jock had willingly invited his wife and her new sweetheart to supper and had risen a glass of champagne to the lovebirds' happiness. He himself spent the rest of the evening in the company of a female guest, married to be precise, though Jock was by then so drunk that he hardly could introduce her to the local hospitality rules. The executor hand could belong to any of Erroll's numerous lovers, those whose clothes he liked to wear. Or to any of their respective husbands. The story has it that many of them opened a bottle in silence with the breaking news, perhaps defeated by the identity crisis caused on the long run by swinging, perhaps weary of the tremendous physical erosion produced by orgies, perhaps with a deteriorated health by force of using local fauna for purposes other than game hunting. Sure that it could either be crazy Alice, a rich and morphine-addict heir from Chicago, first married to Count Frederic de Janze and later to Waugh's acquaintance Raymond de Trafford, with whom she fell in love after shooting him. After all, it was only her who perplexed all mourners by starring a nasty erotic show with Erroll's dead body for all to see.

Jock was formally accused but finally acquitted, after which he rented the Djinn Palace for Diana in an attempt to recover her which proved useless. Poor Jock committed suicide with a barbiturate overdose. All of them used to meet at Muthaiga Club in Nairobi, "the place of its kind that has seen more fornication", in the words of Nicholas Best, author of Happy Valley, the story of the English in Kenya.

Oh yeah, they stole the land as well.

Land claims put Kenya in difficult spot
Government fears Pandora's box as indigenous Masai assert ancestral right to white-held ranches

By Laurie Goering
Tribune foreign correspondent
Published October 25, 2004

NANYUKI, Kenya -- For decades, while his cattle have torn scarce nourishment from parched Masai communal grazing lands, Joseph Kuraru has looked through a wire fence at the green pastures of adjoining Lolldaiga Hills Ranch.

Nearly 100 years ago, his forefathers ceded the sprawling 45,000-acre ranch--and much of the high plateau west of Mt. Kenya--to British settlers. Now Kenya's famed pastoralists say 99-year leases on the land, granted by the British colonial government, are up.

In August, Kuraru and his neighbors cut Lolldaiga's fences and herded thousands of their gaunt cattle onto its rocky, green hills. Despite clashes with Kenya's police and ranch owners, they say they have no intention of moving them off again.

"In the next 100 years, we have no problem if we have this land," said Kuraru, 50, leaning on his long spear as his animals grazed around him.

Reclaiming the ranches "is the only solution" to overcrowding and poverty on Masai reserves, he said.

Across Africa, governments are struggling to resolve land ownership disputes that have lingered since the days of colonial seizures. Over the past two years, Zimbabwe's government has confiscated nearly all of the country's white-owned farmland, reapportioning it primarily to government officials. South Africa is slowly buying whites' farmland for resettlement of blacks, or paying compensation to former black owners. Namibia is considering forced buyouts of white-owned ranches

Whites still live in Kenya, still own land. This was the cause of the 1952 rebellion and it remains unsolved today.

1954: British crackdown on Kenya rebels
Security forces have rounded up more than 10,000 men in the biggest anti-Mau Mau operation since a state of emergency was declared in Kenya 18 months ago.

The British authorities have ordered the clampdown on the Mau Mau, a guerilla movement opposed to white settlers in the East African colony, following a breakdown in law and order.

Those suspects found to be Mau Mau supporters will be sent to detention camps for further questioning.

More than 4,000 British and African troops, Nairobi's entire police force and African loyalists are involved in the operation. They have orders to shoot to kill if there is any armed resistance.

Operation Anvil began at dawn this morning with raids on homes throughout the city. Mau Mau supporters are mostly members of the Kikuyu tribe but any suspects are being handed over for further screening.

Rumours about the impending clampdown have persisted for some time and so it was feared many of the rebels may have already escaped to the countryside. But spotter planes have reported no mass exodus from the city.

Since then the government has launched a major offensive against the Mau Mau, sending RAF planes to bomb areas where the gangs are concentrated.

Last year black activist Jomo Kenyatta was jailed for seven years for his part in the organisation of the Mau Mau movement.

The rebellion soon exploded across the country.

Film footage and commentary paints a vivid picture of Kenya before the uprising, with smug Europeans living a life of idle luxury based on African land and labour. But in the post-Second World War world, resentment against colonial rule increased. One by one, African countries demanded self-rule. John Maina Kahihu from the Mau Mau's political wing said, "In 1942 we had fought for the British. But when we came home from the war they gave us nothing."

The settlers felt themselves immune to the changing times. Willoughby Smith, a district officer in the Colonial Service from 1948 to 1955, testifies to this. "The settler knew a lot about how to use African labour. But he could not see what the use of that labour and the production of money was beginning to bring about. He could not see the political change."

The fiercest opposition to the colonial authorities came from the Kikuyu tribe who, 50 years earlier, had been evicted from their traditional areas to make way for the European farmers. By the end of the Second World War, 3,000 European settlers owned 43,000 square kilometres of the most fertile land, only 6 percent of which they cultivated.

The African population of 5.25 million occupied, without ownership rights, less than 135,000 square kilometres of the poorest land. On the "native reserves" much of the land was unsuitable for agriculture. The poor peasants had been forced to abandon their traditional methods of extensive agriculture and did not have access to the new technology that would make intensive agriculture viable. The population could not feed itself and the peasants were desperate.

The commentary explains, "Rumours began to circulate about the formation of a secret society amongst the Kikuyu, Kenya's largest tribe, one-fifth of the population. It was called the Land Freedom Army (LFA). It was forcing Kikuyu to swear an oath to take back the land the white man had stolen.... Any African who refused the oath or was loyal to the colonialists was likely to be brutally murdered. The secret society acquired a new name, though no one knew where from. It was called 'Mau Mau'."

The designation “Mau Mau” was never used by the Kikuyu and does not exist in their language. It was, most probably, invented by the British as part of an attempt to demonise the Kikuyu people. Professor Lonsdale, an historian, explains how the movement was portrayed by the settlers and the government as "the welling up of the old unreconstructed Africa, which had not yet received sufficient colonial enlightenment and discipline, which proved that colonialism still had a job to do."

The core of the LFA was the Kikuyu Central Association (KCA), which was formed in 1924. Its original programme was a combination of radical demands such as the return of expropriated lands and the elimination of the passbook scheme, (similar to the internal passport system in South Africa), with a striving to return to the traditional pre-colonial past. In the late 1930s the KCA led a wave of mass peasant struggles against the forced sale of their livestock to the government.

Much of this political background was not explained in the programme, so it appeared that the Mau Mau arose spontaneously in 1952.

In the 1950s the KCA began conscripting support from the Kikuyu masses, believing it was possible to consolidate their support through the administration of "the oath".

Jacob Njangi, an LFA fighter, explains, "We used to drink the oath. We swore we would not let white men rule us forever. We would fight them even down to our last man, so that man could live in freedom."
Reports of brutality by the British forces began to appear in the press. The Daily Worker carried a report under the headline: "Officer who quit says, 'It's Hitlerism'". The officer concerned was 19-year-old Second Lieutenant David Larder, who after killing an African, chopped off his hand. Afterwards he wrote home in anguish asking, "What has happened to me?"

Other reports told of officers who paid their men five shillings a head "for every 'Mau Mau' they killed". One soldier testified in court that his officer had said he could shoot anybody he liked as long as they were black, because he wanted to increase his company's score of kills to 50.

In late 1953 the British opened a new campaign, code named Operation Anvil, to cut off the supply network to the LFA. The first target was Nairobi, which was believed to be the centre of their organisation. On 24 April 1954, the police rounded up all the African inhabitants in the city—around 100,000 people. The 70,000 Kikuyu were separated and screened. Of them, up to 30,000 men were taken to holding camps. The families of the arrested men were pushed into the already overcrowded native reserves.

In rural areas Kikuyu were forced into fortified villages, where they lived under 23-hour curfew. This policy, known as "villagisation", was claimed to be "purely protective and beneficial for the Africans". It gave the colonial authorities total control over the Kikuyu.

Taking the Mau Mau oath was made a capital offence. Between 1953 and 1956 more than 1,000 Africans were hanged for alleged Mau Mau crimes. Public hangings, which had been outlawed in Britain for over a century, were carried out in Kenya during the emergency

Professor Lonsdale explains, "A mobile gallows was transported around the country dispensing 'justice' to 'Mau Mau' suspects.... Dead 'Mau Mau', especially commanders, were displayed at cross-roads, at market places and at administrative centres."

In 1954 one-third of all Kikuyu men were said to be in prison. These detainees had not been convicted of any crime and were held without trial. The British government insisted that every prisoner had to denounce "the oath" and submit to a "cleansing ceremony"

This brutal repression of the Mau Mau Rebellion only bought time. The British Empire had several ongoing wars at the same time, Korea, Malaya, the Canal Zone, Cyprus, Aden, Suez, Radfan. The empire was falling apart, and the Indian Army was no longer on tap to help solve these problems. By 1960, it was clear the sun was crashing on the British Empire.

posted by Steve @ 11:02:00 AM

11:02:00 AM

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Monday, November 29, 2004

Colonial Warfare pt. 9

Indonesia's Seiss-Inquart. Dutch Army commander

The colonial efforts of the Dutch were fairly bloody to retain their lucrative colony of what was called the Dutch East Indies.

Indonesia: Painful Memories Haunt the Dutch

by our Internet desk, December 22, 1999

Indonesia celebrates 50 years of independence from The Netherlands on December 27th. For the Dutch, it will be an occasion for painful memories and soul-searching. At the official ceremony in 1949, Queen Juliana referred to a ‘transfer of sovereignty'. So it was, but only after the Dutch had tried and ultimately failed to re-impose their colonial power on the country after World War II. In the process, some special units of the Dutch military were guilty of what official records call ‘excesses' In the view of some who were there, these ‘excesses' were nothing less than war crimes.
State of Denial

While Van Nord is brave enough to face up to the truth, 50 years on, the Dutch as a nation are still in what some commentators call a ‘state of denial' about what really took place. To this day, official accounts of the period, as well as school textbooks, do not mention war crimes or atrocities. Instead, all such cases are referred to as ‘excesses' committed by the Dutch troops. And no Dutch veteran of the colonial war has ever been tried for war crimes.

Van Nord, like many veterans, is bitter about the role the government played in the colonial conflict:

"The Dutch went back to their own Dutch Indies, and we tried to keep what was ours. But in trying to keep it, we went wrong. But the government may have been wrong too. They should have realised the time of colonial power was past. Now we know that at that time, government officers knew what was going on. And nobody in the government ever stopped us."

Dutch public misled

Development expert Nico Schulte-Nordholt says that the Dutch government deliberately misled the public in order to gain support:

"There was a manipulation of the situation by portraying Sukharno, the leader of the independence movement, as a collaborator with Japanese fascism. It was easy to get Dutch public opinion behind sending troops to restore law and order against the ‘fascists' in Indonesia."

Schulte-Nordholt says that the state of denial persists largely because many of those involved are still alive:

"You still have the influence of the veterans, and they feel mistreated. And as long as that is not solved, they have a cause. They have very strong connections with the cabinet, with the Royal Family (Prince Bernhard is one of their most influential supporters) and I was told a few years ago by a former minister ‘just let us wait until these old veterans die'. It is for the Dutch in their own best interests to acknowledge their own past".

Have the Dutch come to grips with their crimes in Indonesia?

Criticism of Dutch colonial policy dates back at least to the appearance of Edward Dakker, the Dutch master known as Multatuli's Max Havelaar. At the time of its publication, in 1860, this `J'accuse' was considered a biting attack against the exploitation and abuse of the poor majority of Javanese by their European and local masters. Today, the novel is generally regarded as a classic work of nineteenth-century Dutch literature, its criticisms been neutralised and made safe due to the passing of time.

The period 1945-49 in Dutch colonial history, however, is still highly sensitive. Indeed, this chapter is conspicuous among colonial studies by its absence. Unlike Vietnam, which Hollywood has transformed into an icon of contemporary culture, post-Second World War Indonesia constitutes something of a collective blind-spot in the Dutch psyche. The case of one of the Netherlands' leading historians, the late Jan Romein, is enlightening. His wife, Annie Romein-Verschoor, had grown up in colonial Dutch East Indies. They were both self-confessed Communists. progressive idealists and committed to Indonesian independence. Yet when Jan Romein published his major study of decolonisation, De Eeuw van Azie (The Asian Century) in 1956, Indonesia earned only a superficial mention. Of the 300 pages, twenty-five were on Indonesia, while the bibliography of 267 titles contained only ten relating to it.

In 1980 a leading Indonesian historian, Taufik Abdullah, referring to the loud Dutch silence, remarked that international historiography was the monopoly of the conquerors. After all, far more works have appeared analysing German and Japanese brutality during the Second World War than the Dutch police actions -- actions which took place while Nazi leaders were standing trial for crimes against humanity in Nuremburg. If the Dutch historians were not prepared to do it, announced a historian from Singapore, Yong Mung Cheong, then he would attempt his own analysis of the complex events of 1946-49.

......incidents in recent years have further highlighted how painful this whole issue really is. Ponke Princen was a young Dutch man drafted into the army in 1946 and sent to Indonesia. There he deserted and switched sides, fighting for Indonesian independence. For Indonesians he became a hero but to the Dutch he was a traitor. As the decades slipped by many progressive Dutch citizens began to see Ponke Princen as a principled individual who had been sickened by the immoral acts he was ordered to carry out. But when he applied in Jakarta for a visa to revisit his former homeland for the first time in nearly fifty years, all the old cries of `traitor' were heard again. Despite having the support of the Dutch Minister for Foreign Affairs Princen was initially refused entry into the Netherlands.

In 1992 Gra Boomsma published the novel The Last Typhoon. It was the first fictionalised account of the police actions to have appeared in Dutch. In a newspaper interview the young writer made the mistake of saying that Dutch soldiers, while certainly not the same as the SS, could be compared to the SS in some ways. Both he and the interviewer attracted the wrath of the colonial veterans and were charged in court with slander. In June 1994 they were acquitted.

January 1995 saw the appearance of a book of photographs of the Indonesian campaign taken by the late Dutch photographer, Hugo Wilmar. These included shots that had been banned by the military censors at the time. A leading national weekly carried excerpts from the book and the Dutch Photo Institute in Rotterdam held a five-week exhibition. These pictures are in some ways reminiscent of images that we are familiar with from Vietnam; wounded and dead lie on the jungle floor, guerrilla suspects are being interrogated and manhandled by Western troops. For a country that has enfolded a significant part of its past in silence, these are disturbing reminders.

This was followed in July 1995 by the publication of Verboden voor honden en inlanders (No Dogs or Natives), a collection of interviews in which Indonesians who had experienced Dutch colonial rule were given the opportunity to tell their stories. The following month, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands arrived in Jakarta for a ten-day official visit. At home, her visit had been preceded by a bitter debate over whether she should apologise to the Indonesian people for 350 years of colonial rule. Her main speech stopped short of an outright apology. Instead she spoke of feeling `very sad' at the deaths that had been caused by colonialism.

The Dutch make American denials about Abu Gharib seem quaint:

Out of the bag

It was a story that was all too familiar to the veterans of the Police Actions, but its effect on mainstream society in the Netherlands was explosive. Finally the long blackout on truth was ended. While some veterans condemned Hueting's testimony and even threatened his life for speaking out, for many others the dam had been broken. Stories of guilt and shame began to leak into the public forum. However, while many soldiers agreed that the Police Actions had been a brutal war of colonialization, and apologized for their role in it, there were others who denied any wrongdoing. They angrily defended their actions, saying they were following orders and fighting for their country.

Even as recently as the 80s when historian Lou de Jong wrote about this period in Dutch history using the words "misdaaden" and "misdrijven" -- war crimes and wrong doings - there was such a public outcry that he was forced to replace them with the officially sanctioned term "excessen" (excesses). According to military historian Dr Petra Groen, the term "war crime" is too connected to the acts of the Nazis and therefore too emotionally loaded to use in the context of the Dutch in Indonesia. "After the interview of Joop Hueting, there was a parliamentary inquiry into Dutch war crimes in Indonesia, and they concluded -- and that's the official army point of view till now --that there were war crimes committed by ordinary soldiers, but they were incidents, there was no structural excessive violence."

No apology

Since then, Indonesia has continued to be the blind spot of a nation that has a reputation for being blunt and straight speaking. The Netherlands has never issued an official apology to Indonesia for the violence. However on an individual level, there has been an effort at atonement. Gus Blok has gone back to Indonesia to visit the place where he was stationed and made a public apology to the assembled villagers. He breaks down as he talks of their applause after his speech. Maarten Schaafsma gathered the signatures of other veterans and officially offered them to the Indonesian Embassy. However according to Joop Hueting, the government itself should have been more forthcoming about its past war guilt. Many believe -- and this is a belief shared by Mr Hueting - that an ideal opportunity would have been the official visit of Queen Beatrix to Indonesia on the 50th anniversary of the country's independence. The visit was the topic of a heated public debate for months beforehand and finally it was decided that the Queen wouldn't attend the ceremonies on the day itself, but would make an appearance a few days after the event. That gesture and her carefully worded speech made it quite clear that no official apology would be forthcoming.

Joop Hueting is still almost apoplectic when he recalls the event nine years ago. "I wrote [to the newspapers] that we should give a big present to show our sorrow and regret to the Indonesian people -- give 'The Nightwatch', give a Rembrandt or a Van Gogh." In fact the Queen presented the Indonesian people with a Friesian cow. "A cow," splutters Mr Hueting. "Very rude. That's part of the Dutch soul, this rudeness."

As the shameful pictures from Abu Ghraib emerge, the stories of these old veterans are even more poignant. And one can't help wondering about the young men and women who have been involved in these acts in Iraq, whether they were backed by higher authorities or not. Will they also, decades from now, sit in their armchairs and try to tell a story that still weighs heavy on their hearts? Will their final image also be that of a group of old people, alone with their shame and their grief?

The sense of denial and cover up is so strong, most Dutch historians won't touch it. Remember, My Lai, Abu Gharib, Gitmo, all hashed out in the press. Even the action of US troops in WWII are now being discussed honestly. We finally admitted that we shot German prisoners out of hand. Yet, the Dutch won't even talk about what were clearly war crimes in Indonesia. And that's not in a vacuum, it was after 250 years of brutality. Americans clearly have their faults, including the inability to hold Bush responsible for his actions.

But what is so disturbing about the Dutch silence about atrocities in Indonesia is that it so contravenes their professed values of liberal tolerance.

People were shocked to see the rise of Pym Fortune and anti-immigrant sentiment in Holland. Well, it's roots were in Indonesia and not only in the way they refused to give up power, but the absolute brutality of their war. People who had resisted the Nazis turned into brutal killers without a pause. Disdain for Muslims is not a surface value in Holland, but at the root of their prosperity. After all, without conquering Indonesia, there would be no Royal Dutch Shell or Philips. Indonesians riches made Holland wealthy.

So what did the Dutch do?

The long sea voyage to Indonesia was arduous in the spartan conditions aboard. On arrival, Wim's platoon was stationed in Western Java in the Bogor area. Here, as a Dutch soldier he was expected to protect his country's interests by force. He was given the rank of corporal. Wim saw the 'police action' in Indonesia as morally wrong and refused to shoot people. He made his strong views known to his commanding officers and discussed them with a Catholic army chaplain attached to his platoon. The priest simply advised Wim to disregard his own conflicts of conscience In this matter, because he was required to obey the Dutch military authorities. However, Wim could not reconcile killing Indonesians with his Christian principles. He refused to be in a position of some authority and asked to be relieved of his corporal's responsibilities. Accordingly, the commanding officer demoted him to serve as an ordinary soldier.

The three years In the Dutch army in Indonesia were the most unhappy part of Wim's life. The memories connected with experiences of that period were deeply repressed and disturbed him many years later when he was an older man. He witnessed much human misery, saw friends killed and innocent Indonesians slaughtered. Mutilated bodies were a common sight. He suffered mental anguish when some of his colleagues broke down under continual strain; some reacted by indiscriminate killing to avenge their friends' deaths. One particular episode remained vividly etched in Wim's mind. He recalled how he was powerless, too shocked, to prevent a massacre of Innocent Indonesians returning from a weekly market, by a young Dutch soldier, who went berserk. That soldier, deprived of all reason, gunned down entire families, Indiscriminately killing children, women and men walking homewards. Wim stood beside him petrified in utter disbelief and in deep shock, unable to respond to this horrific slaughter.

The living conditions of the Dutch soldiers in Indonesia were extremely primitive in many instances. In Surabaya the soldiers were accommodated in storage sheds on the wharf. There were no showers or sanitation, and in the tropical climate malaria and amoebic dysentery were very prevalent among the Dutch troops. Their natural resistance to tropical diseases was lowered by exhaustion and inadequate hygiene. They were required to undertake guard duties for up to 24 hours at a stretch, with a break of eight hours in between. They were also subjected to prolonged exercises In full military uniform during Intense heat. Wim was severely affected by both malaria and amoebic dysentery. In spite of physical and mental exhaustion, he was required to do guard duties. He presented himself for treatment, but received none until finally he was unable to leave his camp stretcher. Only at that point was he admitted into the sick bay by a male nurse, who realised how ill he was. There Wim was examined by a newly-arrived, conscientious young Dutch doctor, who sent him to the military hospital at Surabaya immediately. Running a very high temperature, Wim remained critically ill, while a consortium of doctors at his bedside deliberated on the possible course of treatment for him. They discovered that amoebic dysentery had destroyed his intestinal lining and that his blood count was extremely low. His body was ravaged by the combined effects of malaria and persistent dysentery. He was informed that he was near death.

In Holland, Wim's brother Ab, a teacher, heard his brother's name mentioned in a radio announcement. Wim was included on the critically ill list of Dutch military personnel in Indonesia. The van der Linden family at home, friends and Ab's pupils began to pray for Wim's recovery. I believe that this strong faith combined with effective treatment in the Surabaya hospital brought astonishing results. Wim was successfully cured of malaria. The emetine injections prescribed for amoebic dysentery gradually brought the disease under control. After several weeks of intensive medication, his health continued to improve until he regained sufficient strength to be discharged from hospital as a convalescing outpatient. When his illness subsided, he was sent to Bandung. There, as he recovered his health, he was given light duties. After a few months Wim was admitted into the Dutch military hospital in Western Java for a second course of emetine injections. In April 1950, still a convalescent, he returned to The Netherlands with other troops from Jakarta in Indonesia. During Wim's time in the army, Indonesia gained independence, on the 27th of December 1949.

On Wim's arrival in Holland he was medically examined and pronounced fit and well enough to be discharged from the Dutch army. The very next day he became severely jaundiced. This necessitated his admission into the military hospital in The Hague, where he remained for three months' treatment, followed by another three months in Arnhem. The amoebae organisms had settled In Wim's liver, affecting its normal functions. As his liver was badly damaged, Wim's recovery was very slow. Following his final discharge from hospital towards the end of 1950, he remained on a very strict diet, high in protein content and low in fat. Regular medical check-ups continued for some time.

Now at 25 years of age, Wim had had no opportunity to work professionally as an engineer. Returned servicemen in Holland had no special privileges of rehabilitation as they did in post-war New Zealand. In fact, Dutch returned servicemen were at a disadvantage, while their compatriots who had missed army recruitment abroad, were well established in their professions in Holland, earning good salaries.

This wall of denial has only increased over time. The soldiers, now elderly, don't want any reminder of youthful crimes and no one wants to link the crimes to the present. Anti-Muslim racism was the foundation of the Dutch empire, not a side effect. They purposely kept the Indonesians as peons and refused to offer them liberation even when it would have served their own interests.

When an exhibit of photos of German Army atrocities was exhibited in Munich, people were pissed. The Dutch haven't even gotten that far. There is a general silence about the murders committed by the Dutch Army in the name of the Dutch kingdom. And after all this was done, they were shoved to the back of the line in terms of employement. Colonialists got the first pick of jobs, because they were no longer welcome in Indonesia.

The quickest way to forget war is to forget the veterans. And considering the kinds of crimes permitted by their commanders, it served everyone's purposes to skip over the 1945-50 period. The veterans who didn't immigrate, didn't need reminders, and the ones who did were forgotten. And the Indonesians, the Ambonese and Moluccians, who fled to Holland, were the ones who sided with the Dutch. The Indonesians were trying to forget their painful past. So no one wanted to ask, no one wanted to find out what happened and no one did.

But the ghosts of colonial misrule and murder linger over Indonesia, even today.

posted by Steve @ 11:30:00 PM

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Colonial Warfare pt. 8

Sukarno. Fired by the Americans in 1965

Indonesian War of Independence

Unlike Burma and the Philippines, Indonesia was not granted formal independence by the Japanese in 1943. No Indonesian representative was sent to the Greater East Asia Conference in Tokyo in November 1943. But as the war became more desperate, Japan announced in September 1944 that not only Java but the entire archipelago would become independent. This announcement was a tremendous vindication of the seemingly collaborative policies of Sukarno and Hatta. In March 1945, the Investigating Committee for Preparatory Work for Indonesian Independence (BPUPKI) was organized, and delegates came not only from Java but also from Sumatra and the eastern archipelago to decide the constitution of the new state. The committee wanted the new nation's territory to include not only the Netherlands Indies but also Portuguese Timor and British North Borneo and the Malay Peninsula. Thus the basis for a postwar Greater Indonesia (Indonesia Raya) policy, pursued by Sukarno in the 1950s and 1960s, was established..........

On June 1, 1945, Sukarno gave a speech outlining the Pancasila; the five guiding principles of the Indonesian nation. Much as he had used the concept of Marhaenism to create a common denominator for the masses in the 1930s, so he used the Pancasila concept to provide a basis for a unified, independent state. The five principles are belief in God, humanitarianism, national unity, democracy, and social justice.

On August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered. The Indonesian leadership, pressured by radical youth groups (the pemuda), were obliged to move quickly. With the cooperation of individual Japanese navy and army officers (others feared reprisals from the Allies or were not sympathetic to the Indonesian cause), Sukarno and Hatta formally declared the nation's independence on August 17 at the former's residence in Jakarta, raised the red and white national flag, and sang the new nation's national anthem, Indonesia Raya (Greater Indonesia). The following day a new constitution was promulgated.

The Indonesian republic's prospects were highly uncertain. The Dutch, determined to reoccupy their colony, castigated Sukarno and Hatta as collaborators with the Japanese and the Republic of Indonesia as a creation of Japanese fascism. But the Netherlands, devastated by the Nazi occupation, lacked the resources to reassert its authority. The archipelago came under the jurisdiction of Admiral Earl Louis Mountbatten, the supreme Allied commander in Southeast Asia. Because of Indonesia's distance from the main theaters of war, Allied troops, mostly from the British Commonwealth of Nations, did not land on Java until late September. Japanese troops stationed in the islands were told to maintain law and order. Their role in the early stages of the republican revolution was ambiguous: on the one hand, sometimes they cooperated with the Allies and attempted to curb republican activities; on the other hand, some Japanese commanders, usually under duress, turned over arms to the republicans, and the armed forces established under Japanese auspices became an important part of postwar anti-Dutch resistance.


On October 28, 1945, major violence erupted in Surabaya in East Java, as occupying British troops clashed with pemuda and other armed groups. Following a major military disaster for the British in which their commander, A.W.S. Mallaby, and hundreds of troops were killed, the British launched a tough counterattack. The Battle of Surabaya (November 10-24) cost thousands of lives and was the bloodiest single engagement of the struggle for independence. It forced the Allies to come to terms with the republic.

In November 1945, through the efforts of Syahrir, the new republic was given a parliamentary form of government. Syahrir, who had refused to cooperate with the wartime Japanese regime and had campaigned hard against retaining occupation-era institutions, such as Peta, was appointed the first prime minister and headed three short-lived cabinets until he was ousted by his deputy, Amir Syarifuddin, in June 1947.

The Dutch, realizing their weak position during the year following the Japanese surrender, were initially disposed to negotiate with the republic for some form of commonwealth relationship between the archipelago and the Netherlands. The negotiations resulted in the British-brokered Linggajati Agreement, initialled on November 12, 1946. The agreement provided for Dutch recognition of republican rule on Java and Sumatra, and the Netherlands-Indonesian Union under the Dutch crown (consisting of the Netherlands, the republic, and the eastern archipelago). The archipelago was to have a loose federal arrangement, the Republic of the United States of Indonesia (RUSI), comprising the republic (on Java and Sumatra), southern Kalimantan, and the "Great East" consisting of Sulawesi, Maluku, the Lesser Sunda Islands, and West New Guinea. The KNIP did not ratify the agreement until March 1947, and neither the republic nor the Dutch were happy with it. The agreement was signed on May 25, 1947.

On July 21, 1947, the Dutch, claiming violations of the Linggajati Agreement, launched what was euphemistically called a "police action" against the republic. Dutch troops drove the republicans out of Sumatra and East and West Java, confining them to the Yogyakarta region of Central Java. The international reaction to the police action, however, was negative. The United Nations (UN) Security Council established a Good Offices Committee to sponsor further negotiations. This action led to the Renville Agreement (named for the United States Navy ship on which the negotiations were held), which was ratified by both sides on January 17, 1948. It recognized temporary Dutch control of areas taken by the police action but provided for referendums in occupied areas on their political future.

The Renville Agreement marked the low point of republican fortunes. The Dutch, moreover, were not the only threat. In western Java in 1948, an Islamic mystic named Kartosuwirjo, with the support of kyai and others, established a breakaway regime called the Indonesian Islamic State (Negara Islam Indonesia), better known as Darul Islam (from the Arabic, dar-al-Islam, house or country of Islam), a political movement committed to the establishment of a Muslim theocracy. Kartosuwirjo and his followers stirred the cauldron of local unrest in West Java until he was captured and executed in 1962.


Immediately following the Madiun Affair, the Dutch launched a second "police action" that captured Yogyakarta on December 19, 1948. Sukarno, Hatta, who was there serving both as vice president and prime minister, and other republican leaders were arrested and exiled to northern Sumatra or the island of Bangka. An emergency republican government was established in western Sumatra. But The Hague's hard-fisted policies aroused a strong international reaction not only among newly independent Asian countries, such as India, but also among members of the UN Security Council, including the United States. In January 1949, the Security Council passed a resolution demanding the reinstatement of the republican government. The Dutch were also pressured to accept a full transfer of authority in the archipelago to Indonesians by July 1, 1950. The Round Table Conference was held in The Hague from August 23 to November 2, 1949 to determine the means by which the transfer could be accomplished. Parties to the negotiations were the republic, the Dutch, and the federal states that the Dutch had set up following their police actions.

The result of the conference was an agreement that the Netherlands would recognize the RUSI as an independent state, that all Dutch military forces would be withdrawn, and that elections would be held for a Constituent Assembly. Two particularly difficult questions slowed down the negotiations: the status of West New Guinea, which remained under Dutch control, and the size of debts owed by Indonesia to the Netherlands, an amount of 4.3 billion guilders being agreed upon. Sovereignty was formally transferred on December 27, 1949.

The RUSI, an unwieldy federal creation, was made up of sixteen entities: the Republic of Indonesia, consisting of territories in Java and Sumatra with a total population of 31 million, and the fifteen states established by the Dutch, one of which, Riau, had a population of only 100,000. The RUSI constitution gave these territories outside the republic representation in the RUSI legislature that was far in excess of their populations. In this manner, the Dutch hoped to curb the influence of the densely populated republican territories and maintain a postindependence relationship that would be amenable to Dutch interests......

The consolidation process had been accelerated in January 1950 by an abortive coup d'état in West Java led by Raymond Paul Pierre "The Turk" Westerling, a Dutch commando and counterinsurgency expert who, as a commander in the Royal Netherlands Indies Army (KNIL), had used terroristic, guerrilla-style pacification methods against local populations during the National Revolution. Jakarta extended its control over the West Java state of Pasundan in February. Other states, under strong pressure from Jakarta, relinquished their federal status during the following months. But in April 1950, the Republic of South Maluku (RMS) was proclaimed at Ambon. With its large Christian population and long history of collaboration with Dutch rule (Ambonese soldiers had formed an indispensable part of the colonial military), the region was one of the few with substantial pro-Dutch sentiment. The Republic of South Maluku was suppressed by November 1950, and the following year some 12,000 Ambonese soldiers accompanied by their families went to the Netherlands, where they established a Republic of South Maluku government-in-exile.

The Dutch were as obstinate as the Belgians, but had more resources. The Dutch framed the independence struggle as a fight against collaborators. The Indonesians worked with the Japanese because the Dutch were going to keep their colony. Unlike the Americans, who clearly told the Filipinos they would be free on July 4, 1946. Which meant that Filipino nationalists would fight the racist and cruel Japanese, knowing that the Americans had a leave by date. Sukarno and the Indonesians worked with the Japanese because they felt they had no choice. The Dutch then turned this against the Indonesians who wanted to get 350 years of colonialism off their back.

The parallels between the Dutch in Indonesia and the the US in Iraq are a lot closer than the Dutch would like to consider. They basically launched their return on false pretexts and then fought a brutal, losing war for four full years. The same people who had survived Nazi brutality went on murderous rampages against the Indonesia people.

As we will see, there has NEVER been any accountability for this, despite the problems Indonesia still has. Resentment over the Chinese business class, one created by the Dutch, struggles on Timor, in Aceh, and in the Moluccas all stem from Dutch misrule and cruelty. The lack of democratic institutions and the primacy of the military also come from the refusal of the Dutch to educate anyone decently. Ninety-three percent illiteracy in 1940 was clearly a plan for continued subjugation.

Even the Japanese, who were both racist and cruel, were seen as an improvement over the Dutch, a fact not really discussed in Holland. The Dutch made a deliberate decision to make a weak post-colonial state. We see the effects of those decisions today.

Now, we'll discuss post-colonial warfare another time, and that is where the CIA plays a large and murderous role. But much of Indonesia's problems stems from the way the Dutch were forced to hand over power.

Despite a liberal philisophy at home, the Dutch East Indies saw none of that. They got the back of the Dutch hand and poverty, as the Dutch stole their land and resources and divided their people into competing against each other. And it was Truman who forced their hand, by threatening to end Marshall Plan aid to Holland. The Dutch basically had to be slapped across the head to end their pointless, losing war in Indonesia, and they still tried to game the results.

posted by Steve @ 7:51:00 PM

7:51:00 PM

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Coming soon, national ID cards in the UK

Coming to the UK? National ID card

Blunkett: ID cards about removing fear

Simon Jeffery, Mark Oliver and agencies
Monday November 29, 2004

David Blunkett, the home secretary, today denied he was shifting Britain towards an "authoritarian state" as he unveiled plans for identity cards and a national identity database.

From 2008, all passport applicants will be issued with cards, and a decision will be made in 2011 or 2012 as to whether holding identity cards will be compulsory.

An identity database using biometric data such as iris scans and fingerprints will back up the cards and provide further information including photograph, signature, date of birth, address and nationality.

Mr Blunkett - who is at the centre of allegations that he fast-tracked a visa application to help a former lover - said his aim in introducing the scheme was to help to "remove fearfulness from people's lives".

"The national identity card scheme will give people confidence, convenience and security in an increasingly vital aspect of modern life - proving and protecting their identity," he told the Commons.

Ministers argue the project will combat terrorism, illegal working, illegal immigration and the abuse of public services such as the NHS.

The bill contained little new information on the cost of the massive project, previously estimated at up to £3.1bn, but it revealed that card readers required at thousands of benefits offices, GPs' surgeries and government departments will cost up to £750 each.

It also unveiled a series of new offences: a fine of up to £1,000 for failing to disclose a change of address or other important personal details for use in the database and up to 10 years in jail for fraudulent use of the card or tampering with the database.


He said the cost of the scheme over 10 years would be a "comparatively small" price to pay if the cards protected Britons against identity fraud, which he said cost the UK £1.3bn a year.

The price of a passport is expected to rise from £42 to £85 when identity cards are introduced.

You want something to worry about, this is it. National ID cards are the first step to an authoritarian state. Especially with a national database behind it.

And of course, they will be forged and stolen.

posted by Steve @ 7:47:00 PM

7:47:00 PM

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Colonial Warfare pt. 7

dutch colonial troops

How did Indonesia become a colony?

By the time of the Renaissance, the islands of Java and Sumatra had already enjoyed a 1,000-year heritage of advanced civilization spanning two major empires. During the 7th-14th centuries, the Buddhist kingdom of Srivijaya flourished on Sumatra. At its peak, the Srivijaya Empire reached as far as West Java and the Malay Peninsula. Also by the 14th century, the Hindu Kingdom of Majapahit had risen in eastern Java. Gadjah Mada, the empire's chief minister from 1331 to 1364, succeeded in gaining allegiance from most of what is now modern Indonesia and much of the Malay archipelago as well. Legacies from Gadjah Mada's time include a codification of law and an epic poem. Islam arrived in Indonesia sometime during the 12th century and, through assimilation, supplanted Hinduism by the end of the 16th century in Java and Sumatra. Bali, however, remains overwhelmingly Hindu. In the eastern archipelago, both Christian and Islamic proselytizing took place in the 16th and 17th centuries, and, currently, there are large communities of both religions on these islands.

Beginning in 1602, the Dutch slowly established themselves as rulers of present-day Indonesia, exploiting the weakness of the small kingdoms that had replaced that of Majapahit. The only exception was East Timor, which remained under Portugal until 1975. During 300 years of Dutch rule, the Dutch developed the Netherlands East Indies into one of the world's richest colonial possessions.

Why were the Dutch in Indonesia?

Although palm oil, sugar, cinchona (the source of quinine, used in treating malaria), cocoa, tea, coffee, and tobacco were major revenue earners, they were eclipsed during the early twentieth century by rubber and, especially, petroleum. Sumatra and the eastern archipelago surpassed Java as a source of tropical exports, although sugarcane remained important in East Java.

Rubber plantations were established on a large scale in the early twentieth century, particularly around Medan, Palembang, and Jambi on Sumatra, with British, American, French, and other foreign investment playing a major role. A high-yield variety of rubber tree, discovered in Brazil and proven very profitable in Malaya, was utilized. It was during this period that the emergence of small-holder rubber cultivation, which was to play a major role in the Indonesian economy, took place.

Tin had long been a major mineral product of the archipelago, especially on the islands of Bangka and Billiton, off the southeast coast of Sumatra. But petroleum was, and remained, Indonesia's most important mineral resource. Oil, extracted from Sumatra after 1884, was first used to light lamps. In 1890, the Royal Dutch Company for Exploration of Petroleum Sources in the Netherlands Indies (Koninklijke Nederlandsche Maatschappij tot Exploitatie van Petroleum-bronnen in Nederlandsche-Indië) was established, and in 1907 it merged with Shell Transport and Trading Company, a British concern, to become Royal Dutch Shell, which controlled around 85 percent of oil production in the islands before World War II. Oil was pumped from wells in Sumatra, Java, and eastern Kalimantan.

Rapid economic development during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries profoundly changed the lives of both European residents and indigenous peoples. By 1930 Batavia had a population of more than 500,000 people. Surabaya had nearly 300,000 people and other large cities--Semarang, Bandung, Yogyakarta, and Surakarta-- had populations between 100,000 and 300,000.

Always conscious of its ethnic and cultural diversity, Indonesian society grew more so as the number of Dutch and other Western residents--especially white women--increased and chose to live European-style lives in special urban areas with wide streets or on plantations. There also were increasing numbers of Indonesians who lived in these Western-style urban areas. Nevertheless, the European trekkers, as they were known in Dutch, were often not much different from their British counterparts described by George Orwell in Burmese Days, longing for the home country and looking on the native world around them with suspicion and hostility. An early twentieth century work described Batavia's European quarter as "well planned, it is kept scrupulously clean, and while the natives in their bright colored clothes, quietly making their way hither and thither, give the required picturesque touch to the life in the streets, the absence of the crowded native dwelling houses prevents the occurrence of those objectionable features which so often destroy the charm of the towns in the Orient."

How did the liberal and tolerant Dutch treat their Indonesian subjects?

In 1918, an advisory council or Volksraad (Peoples Council) was established. It was partially elected, partially appointed. Half of the seats went to Indonesians, of which several were appointed by the government. Although the government did appoint members of several nationalist parties, the recipients were often discredited by being appointed.40a

Instead of lessening agitation, the Volksraad actually stiffened nationalist sentiments because any effort to achieve genuine progress through it was frustrated. Either the European and Indo-European elements, who together formed a majority voted against bills advocating improvements, or the colonial administration ignored the advice given.

Regardless of the Volksraad, the colonial Government remained oppressive. There was a separation between "Herrenvolk" and natives, based on confusing race theories, while at the same time the government did recognise Eurasians as being legally equal to Europeans.4l But as the economy was concentrated in the hands of a few and the government closely tied-in, the result was a type of of "corporate state" based on a capitalist system of exploitation. The Governor-General ruled through "Governor-in-Council" acts. There was no real internal policy making and the principle of trias politica was never recognised.42 Instead, the Colonial Government employed another trinity: the General Prosecutor, the Perintah Alus (Secret Police), and Boven-Digul, a political concentration camp in the swamps of New Guinea. Fascism was popular among the Dutch in Indonesia and in the thirties the Nationaal Socialistische Beweging (National Socialist Movement), the Dutch branch of the Nazi organisation, had many supporters in the colony.

Education catered to the élite only. Indonesians could attend High School if they could speak Dutch and if they could afford the high fees.The result was that only the sons and daughters of wealthy Indonesians received any education beyond elementary school. The Dutch schools ignored, or down-played, the importance of the Indonesian culture. As 1ate as 1940, ninety-three percent of the population was illiterate and in that same year 240 Indonesians, out of a population of seventy million, graduated from High School. Only 630 Indonesians were enrolled in universities.43

Indonesia under Dutch rule was a police state. Terror was kept in check because ultimately there was always the Parliament in Holland, which although it failed to carry out its democratic responsibilities toward the Indonesian, people, at least did not tolerate a terror regime. It failed, however, dismally in democratising the Colonial Government. Until World War II, there were no local ministers, only directors of departments, appointed or dismissed by the Governor-General at will. The Governor-General was appointed by the Colonial Minister in the mother country, and the Colonial Minister was most of the time a member of the conservative alliance in the Dutch Parliament.44

The relationships between the Europeans and the Indonesians worsened after World War I. Before, Dutchmen and other Europeans came to Indonesia for relatively long periods of time. Many Europeans in Indonesia before World War I, were born and educated in Indonesia. They understood the local population to a certain degree and often spoke the local tongue. As the ties with the mother country weakened, these people began to identity more and more with the Indonesian society. As a result they were interested in such.things as an Indonesian rather than a Dutch citizenship.

Between 1920 and 1930, however, there was a great influx of Dutchmen who did not settle for long periods but who only came to the colony to serve their term, make money, get their pensions, and return home. These ''trekkers" as they were called, were not interested in colonial politics, but simply demanded from the government that it keep Indonesia safe for them and their jobs and suppress all political activity that might endanger European enterprises.45 They understood little of the aspirations of the local population. As entrepreneurs they wanted the Colonial Government to expand the infrastructure and raise taxes to pay for it, and nationalist or other agitation was not to interfere with that. They claimed that the infrastructure benefited the local population as well and that the Indonesian radicals were therefore working against the interests of their own people.46 The "trekkers" were blatantly racist and followed a strict colour-line, which in turn stiffened Indonesian opposition.47

This paradise in the sun would be upended by the Japanese, who had their own plans for the oil and the region.

The Japanese occupied the archipelago in order, like their Portuguese and Dutch predecessors, to secure its rich natural resources. Japan's invasion of North China, which had begun in July 1937, by the end of the decade had become bogged down in the face of stubborn Chinese resistance. To feed Japan's war machine, large amounts of petroleum, scrap iron, and other raw materials had to be imported from foreign sources. Most oil--about 55 percent--came from the United States, but Indonesia supplied a critical 25 percent.


Although their motives were largely acquisitive, the Japanese justified their occupation in terms of Japan's role as, in the words of a 1942 slogan, "The leader of Asia, the protector of Asia, the light of Asia." Tokyo's Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, encompassing both Northeast and Southeast Asia, with Japan as the focal point, was to be a nonexploitative economic and cultural community of Asians. Given Indonesian resentment of Dutch rule, this approach was appealing and harmonized remarkably well with local legends that a two-century-long non-Javanese rule would be followed by era of peace and prosperity.


The occupation was not gentle. Japanese troops often acted harshly against local populations. The Japanese military police were especially feared. Food and other vital necessities were confiscated by the occupiers, causing widespread misery and starvation by the end of the war. The worst abuse, however, was the forced mobilization of some 4 million--although some estimates are as high as 10 million--romusha (manual laborers), most of whom were put to work on economic development and defense construction projects in Java. About 270,000 romusha were sent to the Outer Islands and Japanese-held territories in Southeast Asia, where they joined other Asians in performing wartime construction projects. At the end of the war, only 52,000 were repatriated to Java.

The Japanese occupation was a watershed in Indonesian history. It shattered the myth of Dutch superiority, as Batavia gave up its empire without a fight. There was little resistance as Japanese forces fanned out through the islands to occupy former centers of Dutch power. The relatively tolerant policies of the Sixteenth Army on Java also confirmed the island's leading role in Indonesian national life after 1945: Java was far more developed politically and militarily than the other islands. In addition, there were profound cultural implications from the Japanese invasion of Java. In administration, business, and cultural life, the Dutch language was discarded in favor of Malay and Japanese. Committees were organized to standardize Bahasa Indonesia and make it a truly national language. Modern Indonesian literature, which got its start with language unification efforts in 1928 and underwent considerable development before the war, received further impetus under Japanese auspices. Revolutionary (or traditional) Indonesian themes were employed in drama, films, and art, and hated symbols of Dutch imperial control were swept away. For example, the Japanese allowed a huge rally in Batavia (renamed Jakarta) to celebrate by tearing down a statue of Jan Pieterszoon Coen, the seventeenthcentury governor general. Although the occupiers propagated the message of Japanese leadership of Asia, they did not attempt, as they did in their Korean colony, to coercively promote Japanese culture on a large scale. According to historian Anthony Reid, the occupiers believed that Indonesians, as fellow Asians, were essentially like themselves but had been corrupted by three centuries of Western colonialism. What was needed was a dose of Japanese-style seishin (spirit; semangat in Indonesian). Many members of the elite responded positively to an inculcation of samurai values.

The most significant legacy of the occupation, however, was the opportunities it gave for Javanese and other Indonesians to participate in politics, administration, and the military. Soon after the Dutch surrender, European officials, businessmen, military personnel, and others, totaling around 170,000, were interned (the harsh conditions of their confinement caused a high death rate, at least in camps for male military prisoners, which embittered Dutch-Japanese relations even in the early 1990s). While Japanese military officers occupied the highest posts, the personnel vacuum on the lower levels was filled with Indonesians. Like the Dutch, however, the Japanese relied on local indigenous elites, such as the priyayi on Java and the Acehnese uleebalang, to administer the countryside. Because of the harshly exploitative Japanese policies in the closing years of the war, after the Japanese surrender collaborators in some areas were killed in a wave of local resentment.

Sukarno and Hatta agreed in 1942 to cooperate with the Japanese, as this seemed to be the best opportunity to secure independence. The occupiers were particularly impressed by Sukarno's mass following, and he became increasingly valuable to them as the need to mobilize the population for the war effort grew between 1943 and 1945. His reputation, however, was tarnished by his role in recruiting romusha.

Japanese attempts to coopt Muslims met with limited success. Muslim leaders opposed the practice of bowing toward the emperor (a divine ruler in Japanese official mythology) in Tokyo as a form of idolatry and refused to declare Japan's war against the Allies a "holy war" because both sides were nonbelievers. In October 1943, however, the Japanese organized the Consultative Council of Indonesian Muslims (Masyumi), designed to create a united front of orthodox and modernist believers. Nahdatul Ulama was given a prominent role in Masyumi, as were a large number of kyai (religious leaders), whom the Dutch had largely ignored, who were brought to Jakarta for training and indoctrination.

As the fortunes of war turned, the occupiers began organizing Indonesians into military and paramilitary units whose numbers were added by the Japanese to romusha statistics. These included the heiho (auxiliaries), paramilitary units recruited by the Japanese in mid-1943, and the Defenders of the Fatherland (Peta) in 1943. Peta was a military force designed to assist the Japanese forces by forestalling the initial Allied invasion. By the end of the war, it had 37,000 men in Java and 20,000 in Sumatra (where it was commonly known by the Japanese name Giyugun). In December 1944, a Muslim armed force, the Army of God, or Barisan Hizbullah, was attached to Masyumi

posted by Steve @ 4:18:00 PM

4:18:00 PM

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Colonial Warfare pt. 6

A Saab J29 used in the Congo

The UN and Congo

The United Nations Operation in the Congo (Opération des Nations Unies au Congo, or ONUC), which took place in the Republic of the Congo from July 1960 until June 1964, marked a milestone in the history of United Nations peacekeeping in terms of the responsibilities it had to assume, the size of its area of operation and the manpower involved. It included, in addition to a peacekeeping force which comprised at its peak strength nearly 20,000 officers and men, an important Civilian Operations component. Originally mandated to provide the Congolese Government with the military and technical assistance it required following the collapse of many essential services and the military intervention by Belgian troops, ONUC became embroiled by the force of circumstances in a chaotic internal situation of extreme complexity and had to assume certain responsibilities which went beyond normal peacekeeping duties.

1. Establishment of ONUC

The Republic of the Congo, a former Belgian colony, became independent on 30 June 1960. In the days that followed, disorder broke out, and Belgium sent its troops to the Congo, without the agreement of the Congolese Government, for the declared purpose of restoring law and order and protecting Belgian nationals.

On 12 July 1960, the Congolese Government asked for United Nations military assistance to protect the national territory of the Congo against external aggression. Two days later, the Security Council called upon Belgium to withdraw its troops from the Congo and authorized military assistance as might be necessary until, through the efforts of the Government with the technical assistance of the United Nations, the national security forces might be able, in the Government's opinion, to meet their tasks fully. [The Council resolution was adopted by 8 votes in favour (including the Soviet Union and the United States) to none against, with three abstentions.]

In less than 48 hours, contingents of a United Nations Force, provided by a number of countries including Asian and African States began to arrive in the Congo. At the same time, United Nations civilian experts were rushed to the Congo to help ensure the continued operations of essential public services.

2. Operations

Over the next four years, the task of the United Nations Operations in the Congo was to help the Congolese Government restore and maintain the political independence and territorial integrity of the Congo; to help it maintain law and order throughout the country; and to put into effect a wide and long-range programme of training and technical assistance.

To meet the vast and complex task before it, the United Nations had to assemble a very large team. At its peak strength, the United Nations Force totalled nearly 20,000 officers and men. The instructions of the Security Council to this Force were strengthened early in 1961 after the assassination in Katanga province of former Prime Minster Patrice Lumumba. The Force was to protect the Congo from outside interference, particularly by evacuating foreign mercenaries, and advisers from Katanga and preventing clashes and civil strife, by force if necessary as a last resort.

Following the reconvening of Parliament in August 1961 under United Nations auspices, the main problem was the attempted secession, led and financed by foreign elements, of the province of Katanga. In September and December 1961, and again in December 1962, the secessionist gendarmes under the command of foreign mercenaries clashed with the United Nations Force. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld lost his life on 17 September 1961 in the crash of his airplane on the way to Ndola (in what is now Zambia) where talks were to be held for the cessation of hostilities.

3. Termination of ONUC

In February 1963, after Katanga had been reintegrated into the national territory of the Congo, a phasing out of the Force was begun, aimed at its termination by the end of that year. At the request of the Congolese Government, however, the General Assembly authorized the stay of a reduced number of troops for a further six months. The Force was completely withdrawn by 30 June 1964.

Although the military phase of the United Nations Operation in the Congo had ended, civilian aid continued in the largest single programme of assistance undertaken until that time by the world Organization and its agencies, with some 2,000 experts at work in the nation at the peak of the programme in 1963-1964.

The UN was forced to deploy a sizable army to contain the situation which the Belgians didn't only abandoned, but created. They were the ones who had built up these tribal antagonism and refused to provide an infrastructure for a state. They were thinking along the lines of some kind of self-development in 1980, which was a denial of reality which amazing.

The Katanganese were being "aided" by the South Africans, racist Senators in the US and European businesses. Everyone wanted the resources and damn the dead locals. Of course, the rage that those locals felt about a century of Belgian colonialism was vastly underestimated. The Belgians liked a disunited Congo, and pretty much fled the country in a pique in 1960. It took no time for the country to turn into a charnel house.

Why has Belgium never been held accountable for what basically has set the stage for 40 years of war and murder? Why do Belgians feel free to criticize the US over social policy? This is literally a black hole in Belgian history. And the Belgians are hardly alone. We're going to take a look at the Dutch, next (Iraq is at the end of the story, sorry). Because their equally selfish administration created a series of problems there.

Europeans have managed to ignore their colonial past and grow peeved when their former subjects want to live in the home country. Even when you raise the subject, they grow outraged that you bring up the subject. European amnesia about colonialism is so complete that Niall Fergusson can write a book on colonialism equal to Holocaust denial and no one calls it such. Max Boot can talk about "small" wars with no context.

The cost of colonialism is seen every day in AIDS, in wars, in pollution. Yet, few Europeans can or will come to terms with their own bloody histories. It is far easier to point to the Russians or US and decry present evil than to admit the horrors of their pasts.


The legacy of Hitler.

Hitler was the greatest gift to European moral conscience that has ever existed. Even Stalin's murders and forced deportations pale in comparison to the mass murders which Hitler did. Hitler prevents any real examination of the crimes of Europe in the Third World. After all, the Holocaust is the nadir of human conduct. Even the Gulag wasn't designed to make money off of murdered corpses. Hitler shamed us all and showed exactly how far humans could go.

However, Hitler's evil was so great that even Stalin got a pass. His murders were either hidden or justified by people who should have known better. Both in the US and Europe. The idea that colonialism was a big, fat step on the road to Auschwitz goes unnoticed by Europeans. If they are inclined, they may look back to the Armenian Massacre of 1915, but the ongoing death camp of the Congo Free State and the concentration camps of Namibia remain lost to history. Everything Hitler did to the Poles and Jews in 1942, Gen. Lothar von Trotta did to the Hottenttot and Herero in 1904. No, he didn't turn them into ash, but he sure did build concentration camps and starve them to death. Collective punishment? You bet. Auschwitz was the last step in a chain of human cruelty, not the first. And it didn't start with the Nuremburg Laws. It started with people no one noticed or knew or much cared about, savages. It only dawned on Europeans the evils of colonies when Hitler turned their countries into colonies of Germany. All of the techniques used by the Nazis, forced labor, theft of resources, stealing land, well, it began in Africa and Asia. Hitler just did them to Europeans. Who reacted like the colonized, they fought him tooth and nail. Hitler played divide and conquer as well. Pitting ethinicities against each other, recruiting locals to do their dirty work, taking side in local politics.

In a bit of irony, it was the colonies which provided the Europeans a base to oppose Hitler's imperial plans. Algeria, Egypt, Palestine, Bermuda, Canada, all were integral to the war against Hitler. Jamaicans and Australians flew side by side in Lancasters over Germany. Canadians landed on Juno Beach and Canadian officers led Indians in Burma. Algerians and Senegalese liberated Paris. Filipinos led the liberation of their country.

But Europeans have never, to this day, truly faced the bloody legacy of empire building. This doesn't mean Americans have either. But when you hear Europeans exclaim wonder and anazement at US attitude towards Iraq, how many know what Belgians thought about the Congolese or British thought about Kenyans or Malaysians? They were equally as complicit and silent, only a few lonely voices rejecting the horrors of colonialism. Why should Americans be any better or different?

posted by Steve @ 3:47:00 PM

3:47:00 PM

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Chosin II?

the evacuation after the escape from Chosin Resevoir

November 25, 2004
Last Exit Before Gas
by William S. Lind

Between now and January, the Bush administration will have to decide whether or not to take the last dignified exit from Iraq. That is, to announce before the Iraqi elections that we will be leaving soon after them. If Bush and his neocon handlers miss this opportunity, our only choice will be to remain in Iraq until we are driven out in a humiliating defeat. Like the kid who knows he has to eat his spinach, we will be better off pretending to choose the inevitable.

We may, of course, officially deny any role in a strike on Iran, leaving Mr. Sharon to take full credit. But Iran, which expects such an attack and has prepared for it, already has said it will hold the U.S. as accountable as Israel.

Knowing nothing about war, the neocons probably expect any Iranian response to be symmetrical: an air and missile counterstrike. But Iran cannot do much that way, and surely knows it. Why shoot a few ineffective missiles at Israel when you have two juicy targets right next door, in the form of American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq?

An Iranian riposte in Afghanistan probably would come slowly, in the form of a guerilla war in that country's Shi'ite regions. That might also be Iran's response in Iraq, where it already has Revolutionary Guard troops in Shi'ite areas. But there is another possibility. Under the cover of bad weather, which winter often provides, Iran could strike suddenly into Iraq with several armored divisions. Our forces are scattered throughout Iraq, and they cannot mass rapidly because Iraqi guerillas control the roads. With skill that is not beyond what Iran might manage (the Iranian army is better than Saddam's was) and a bit of luck, they could roll us up before American airpower could get the clear weather it needs to be effective. America would not only lose a war in Iraq; it would lose an army.

At that point the analogy I have suggested from the outset would have come to full fruition: Athens' Syracuse expedition. Like the Syracuse expedition, a victory in Iraq would have given America little in the war against its real enemies, Islamic non-state forces. But a defeat that resulted in the loss of an entire army would be a catastrophe.

Unfortunately, the only Syracuse expedition most neocons will know about was a college road trip to some school in upstate New York. Take it from me, guys: the hangover this time could be a whole lot worse.

What he's talking about is a repeat of the Chinese intervention of 1950, a scenario I have raised for months. He uses Syracuse, but the spectre he's creating is one of Chosin.

(On the night of November) 28, 6 Chinese divisions attacked the 1st Marines in the area of the Chosin Reservoir. However hard the Marines might fight, they were outnumbered 6-1 or more. The Chinese attacked both at the head of the American lines and 35 miles behind. The Marines thus were forced to fight their way southward and towards the coast. The Marines first fought their way to Hawkawoo-ri, at the south end of the reservoir. Casualties were very heavy, but the battle did not end there. The troops then had to fight their way south. (Marine Gen.) Smith stated: "Gentlemen, we are not retreating, we are merely attacking in another direction." It took the Marines 13 days of heavy fighting to reach the coast. There. they and tens of thousands of North Korean civilians were evacuated to the coast.

I worry less about a destruction of the US Army than a brutal fighting retreat to Kuwait and Turkey. The scale of the disaster would dwarf Chosin because of the loss of billions of modern equipment. The policy defeat would be catastrophic as well. The Europeans clearly would be the dominant power in the Middle East for at least a decade.

posted by Steve @ 11:20:00 AM

11:20:00 AM

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Our colonial warfare series

a product of british colonialism: Mohandas K. Ghandi

a product of belgian colonialism: Mobutu Sese Seko, kleptocrat

As you can see, there's an ongoing mini-seminar on colonial warfare going on here. There's a lot of ground to cover, so it may go on for a while, but let me recap some of the ideas posted so far.

1) Colonial Warfare is a losing proposition

There are a never ending series of wars which comes with colonies, because people dislike being subjected to the rule of strangers

2) Colonial Warfare rarely brings about the benefits attributed to it.

Unless you can enslave people, the benefits of colonies are rarely seen

3) The rulers rely on the disunity of the ruled.

It is in their interest to keep the ruled at each other's throats and to prefer one group to another. Ethnic strife is the colonial ruler's best friend. They start out picking sides and then divide and conquer.

4) Disorder is the friend of colonial rulers

The more strife they can suppress, the more power they will ultimately have.

5) You have to kill a lot of people to rule a colony

The only way to have a colony is to indiscriminately kill everyone who might oppose you.

When we resume with our history of the Belgian Congo, I will explain how Belgian misrule led to a never-ending crisis in the country. The colonial era set the pattern for future rule, usually misrule.

posted by Steve @ 10:56:00 AM

10:56:00 AM

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How to succeed at hackwork

gamblin' man. pundit, high slots player and alleged submissive

Juan Cole makes an interesting point about how conservatives benefit from the network of think tanks and political power

Shock of the Week: Liberals in Liberal Arts

George Will's column this week is unusually unreflective. I don't often agree with Will, but he is usually a bright and well-informed columnist on the Reaganaut Right. He knows enough to castigate Justice Scalia for saying that Darwinian evolution is "only a theory" (a theory is a robust explanation well grounded in the evidence); and he knows that the Iraq war has been a disaster from beginning to end.

So it is surprising to see him parroting the ridiculous and pernicious line about major universities having few political conservatives in them.


Exhibit A is William J. Bennet. Bennett has a Ph.D. in political philosophy from the University of Texas. If he had been a man of the left, he would be teaching that subject at some small liberal arts college for $70,000 a year. Because he was on the Right, he had an entree to the Reagan administration, and rose to become Secretary of Education and then drug czar.

The vast opportunities open to an intellectual on the Right can be seen in Bennett's career. It is often forgotten that he deserted public service as drug czar after only about a year, leaving all of his commitments unfulfilled. He was able to land at Joe Coors's and Richard Mellon Scaife's so-called American Heritage Foundation. Bennett's opportunities were so many and so lucrative that the hard work of public service, and the ethics rules requiring careful reporting of income, seemed increasingly unappealing. The opportunities are so enormous, if one is willing to oppose affirmative action and support increasing inequality of wealth and bash unions, that it is even hard to keep such persons in high-profile, remunerative public service positions on the Right. They are sucked out of them by the corporate vacuum cleaner.

The next time we meet Bennett, he has somehow made so much money that he can drop $6 million in Las Vegas casinos in a single year (he says he won as much as he lost, which, if true, means he probably cheats). This level of gambling makes him a "whale" in casino terms, given all sorts of perquisites. That is a very different life than teaching in a small liberal arts college, having spent one's youth making in the $20,000s and $30,000s a year (that would have been true of Bennett's generation of academics). And the price of admission to all those riches? Say things like that "homosexuals" have an average lifespan of 42 years, or public education should be privatized, and blame poor people for being poor because they are lazy and immoral and gamble too much.

So, Mr. Will, it is the "pull" factor that explains your conundrum. Liberal academics aren't viciously excluding conservative intellectuals who apply to teach hundreds of students a week for $45,000 a year (nowaday's entry-level salary at a good liberal arts college), after they paid $100,000 for a Ph.D. in English literature from a top-rate university and spent 8 or 9 years beyond the BA toiling away as graduate students on tiny stipends. Conservative intellectuals don't have to put up with that kind of thing (that is how they think of the privilege of teaching). They have other opportunities. They can be whales, and can pontificate on morality to the great unwashed.

As for Wills's argument that academia "has marginalized itself, partly by political shrillness and silliness that have something to do with the parochialism produced by what George Orwell called "smelly little orthodoxies." Many campuses are intellectual versions of one-party nations -- except such nations usually have the merit, such as it is, of candor about their ideological monopolies. " -- it is another instance of blaming the victim.

Academia has not marginalized itself. It has been marginalized. Perfectly reasonable beliefs such as that workers should have a right to explore unionizing without fear of being fired have been redefined by Joe Coors and Richard Mellon Scaife as "out of the mainstream." Thinking that it was a bad idea to invade Iraq (as I said repeatedly in 2002 and early in 2003, even as I admitted Saddam's atrocities) was defined as out of the mainstream and unpatriotic. Corporate media bring in a parade of so-called "experts" (often lacking credentials and saying ridiculous things) from "think tanks," in Washington and New York instead of letting academics speak. (There are some exceptions, obviously, but I am talking about over-all numbers). Wouldn't you like to hear about Ayman al-Zawahiri from someone who actually had read him in Arabic? The universities have such experts. The think tanks mostly just have smelly little orthodoxies of the Right.

posted by Steve @ 10:40:00 AM

10:40:00 AM

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One of these little plastic patrol boats going up and down the river

the rung sat special zone....oh, you mean that's Iraq?

Shadow of Vietnam Falls Over Iraq River Raids

Published: November 29, 2004

CHARD DUWAISH, Iraq, Nov. 28 - As marines aboard fast patrol boats roared up the Euphrates on a dawn raid on Sunday, images pressed in of another American war where troops moved up wide rivers on camouflaged boats, with machine-gunners nervously scanning riverbanks for the hidden enemy.

That war is rarely mentioned among the American troops in Iraq, many of whom were not yet born when the last American combat units withdrew from Vietnam more than 30 years ago. A war that America did not win is considered a bad talisman among those men and women, who privately admit to fears that this war could be lost.

But as an orange moon sank below the bulrushes on Sunday morning, thoughts of Vietnam were hard to avoid.

Marines waded ashore through soft silted mud that caused some to sink to their waists, M-16 rifles held skyward as others on solid land held out their rifle barrels as lifelines.

Ashore, sodden and with boots squelching mud, the troops began a five-hour tramp through dense palm groves and across paddies crisscrossed by deep irrigation canals.

There were snatches of dialogue from "Apocalypse Now," and a black joke from one marine about the landscape resembling "a Vietnam theme park."

But behind the joshing lay something more serious: the sense expressed by many of the Americans as they scoured the area that in this war, too, the insurgents might have advantages that could make them a match for highly trained troops, technological gadgetry and multibillion-dollar war budgets.

The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit conducted the river raid as part of a weeklong offensive billed as a sequel to the battle for Falluja, less than 20 miles upriver from the village where the marines landed Sunday.

The 40-foot river craft they used are called Surcs, for Small Unit Riverine Craft, a high-tech update on the Swift boats used in Vietnam. The craft were flown into Iraq aboard giant C-5 transport aircraft and were first deployed with five-man crews during the battle for Falluja this month, patrolling the stretch of the Euphrates that runs along the city's western edge to prevent attempts by insurgents to escape that way after American troops had thrown a cordon around the city.
As in so much else about the American venture in Iraq, cultural differences played their part. At one point, Lieutenant Duarte bridled when some of the Iraqis resisted his repeated urging that they spread out along the line, preferring to cluster together, ineffectively, at one end. A Marine sergeant told him that the Iraqis were officers and did not feel that they should be asked to work side by side with common soldiers.

One of the Iraqi officers, asked if he spoke English, replied snappily, "English no good. Arabic good. Iraq good." The message seemed clear.

Actually, they're updated versions of the PBR's used in Vietnam, not Swift Boats, which were ocean going craft.

Patrol Boat River (PBR)

It just seems like Vietnam, with the patrol boats and sullen allies and all. There isn't anything like the close air support the Black Ponies (VAL-4) and Seawolves(HAL-3) provided

OV-10 Bronco flown by light attack squadron (VAL-4) Black Ponies

UH-1 Huey flown by (HAL-3) Seawolves

Nope, all those low and slow aircraft would be blown from the sky today. So the Marines have to have to rely on artillery and high flying gunships. Which takes away an advantage that the US had in Vietnam, near instantaneous air support from a variety of platforms. And of course, there are no dedicated riverine forces to deal with the river. Only a few boats and some suillen Iraqis who are as likely as not to lead them into an ambush.

What people who support the war don't get is how much worse this than Vietnam. NO reliable allies, an allied military shot through with enemy agents, no support from the locals, no intelligence, and a lack of manuever battalions. In that way, Iraq is nothing like Vietnam.

posted by Steve @ 10:22:00 AM

10:22:00 AM

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