Just thought I'd throw this video out, It's 40 minutes long and narrated by Jon Snow (Channel 4 News), with contributions by Robert Fisk (The Independent), for those of you that haven't seen it before..
It provides a very interesting insight into a reality that we know exists but haven't seen. I'm not sure that the information it gives will be suprising to many of you, but I have no doubt at all that you will find it interesting, as you probably have some inkling of exactly how censored the footage you have seen is.
PS: having now watched this end to end, I think this will be TREMENDOUSLY interesting for Americans, at least to be able to say "well, I've watched it end-to-end and I'm still comfortable that the benefits have outweighed the costs", if nothing else.
I am an American, I have watched it, and I don't know the point you are trying to have shown.
I agree, I wish a lot of this was shown on the news. I think the world needs to be shown just how much Iraqi killing Iraqi is happening, or better yet, how much Muslim killing Muslim is happening. These people kill 100 times more of their own people then they do westerners.
The main reason Iraqi's hate the coalition involvement, is because it gets in the way of all their different power struggles, their soon to be civil war. These people have no problem killing one another trying to get their positions of power.
I say put Sadam back in power. He was the only one that could control these people. Who cared if he routinely killed and tortured hundreds thousands of his own people. At least there was control.
We do know that in Saddams past performance as a ruthless dictator he killed hundreds of thousands of men, women and children.
That you sit here today and question whether he would have continued along this same path, or somehow changed over night is somewhat naive.
You might want to take a look at this and think about things:
Saddam's Shop of Horrors Torture and execution were staples of the Red Security intelligence headquarters in northern Iraq. Now the building is a monument to Kurdish resilience. By Kevin Sites, Tue Nov 29, 5:43 PM ETEmail Story IM Story SULAYMANIYAH, Iraq - It is a most startling image: a life-sized figure of a Kurdish rebel hanging by his wrists from a metal hook, his arms bound behind his back -- a position intended to use the prisoner's weight to dislocate his shoulders.
He is dressed in the traditional Kurdish "sharwal" baggy pants and his shirt is partly untucked. Two electric alligator clips are attached to his earlobes from where wires run to a green hand-cranked electrical generator on a metal desk. His face is frozen in a moment of agony. The room is paneled in wood to muffle his screams.
It is only a museum display. But before 1991, what happened in this room was all too real for the Kurds who dared to oppose the regime of Saddam Hussein.
This compound of cinderblock buildings in the northern Iraq city of Sulaymaniyah was once one of the most feared places in the region. Known as Red Security, it was the northern headquarters for Saddam's military intelligence.
"There were many kinds of torture," says Nabaz Mamhoud, a translator at the museum. "Some of them were executed or slaughtered by Saddam Hussein; some of them were imprisoned for the rest of their lives. The other people were kept in jails while security forces of Saddam Hussein tortured them in the most severe way."
The Kurds have always bristled under governance by the Iraqis, responsible for the first guerilla attacks against the Iraqi army dating back 44 years in 1961.
But Saddam Hussein reached his boiling point when Kurdish militia known as peshmerga -- which means "those who face death" -- fought with Iranians during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.
Hussein's forces used chemical weapons against Kurds in the city of Halabja near the Iranian border. Survivors say when shells started landing in the town they thought the Iraqis were just using high explosives, so many took shelter in their basements.
It was a deadly mistake. The chemical poisons -- a mixture of mustard gas and nerve agents -- were heavier than air and seeped into lower ground. When it all was over an estimated 5,000 Kurds, many of them women and children, were dead.
The Halabja attack was the single deadliest incident in Saddam's 1988 Anfal campaign, named after a verse in the Koran that urges believers to attack the infidels. The Anfal had three phases, each lasting from several weeks to a month, each focusing on a different Kurdish region.
Kurds say it was simply genocide; people were rounded up into concentration camps or simply marched into the desert and shot. The Anfal saw the disappearance of 182,000 Kurds, most presumed to be dead. Hardly a person in the entire Iraqi Kurdish population did not lose a family member in that violent rampage.
Red Security, museum officials say, was part of the Anfal campaign. Anyone suspected of having any connections to the peshmerga militia or the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) political party was brought here for questioning, usually under duress.
Large color photographs line the walls of Red Security today, depicting images of incredible cruelty: Iraqi soldiers smiling over the body of a dead Kurd; the aftermath of executions; children in concentration camps behind barbed wired emplacements.
The museum has also tried to keep the cells inside Red Security almost the same way they found them, sometimes including life-sized figures inside representing the torture and punishments meted out here.
Woman and children weren't immune from imprisonment at Red Security. In one dark cell, a statue of a mother and her young daughter look out in fear on their captors.
One cell was kept just for young boys thought to be fighting with the peshmerga. The space is about 14 feet by 20 feet, the cold concrete floor covered only by a few blankets where the boys slept. Remnants remain of their plastic buckets used for meals of rice and sometimes a little meat.
Writing covers much of the walls -- even drawings of Batman. But museum guide Hamid Ibrahim says much of the scribbling was done recently by a class of schoolchildren left alone in the room unsupervised. One passage, however, seems to bear some authenticity, according to Ibrahim.
It reads: "I am 17 years old -- but they changed my identification papers to 18 so they could convict me."
There are no further details.
In another wing of Red Security is a figure of a man hunched over, handcuffed to a low point on the wall and in view of a large holding cell.
"This was the most lenient punishment," says Ibrahim. "The person would be handcuffed here for several hours or several days in a way in which the person could not stand up straight, all in view of the other prisoners, to make an example to them."
In the same wing, but in a back corner devoid of almost any light, are four solitary confinement cells. They're stalls, really -- two feet wide and four feet long -- just high enough to stand in but without enough room to recline. I get inside and close the cell door. The completeness of the isolation is terrifying, a severing of both sensory input and human physical contact. It is easy to understand how a person confined in the place could feel he had been robbed of his soul.
Ibrahim unlocks one final door. The hallway is dark, but immediately sparkles with the reflection of the outside light. It is a passageway of 182,000 mirror fragments -- one for each victim of the Anfal campaign -- tiled against walls that curve along for nearly 50 yards. On the ceiling shine an additional 5,000 tiny lights, one for each of the victims of Halabja.
The outside buildings of Red Security are covered with bullet holes, reminders of the Kurdish uprising in 1991 when peshmerga attacked and liberated the prison. A fallen guard tower remains where it collapsed from the explosions.
And each week, Kurdish TV interviews people who were held in Red Security but survived. Ibrahim says 500 people visit the museum every month.
"But many more come in the spring. It's the time for picnics in Kurdistan, but many come here first to remember," he says"
For the third time, no one is saying that at all. I wouldn't expect Saddam to change a thing. I asked whether he would have killed as many people compared to those who have died in this war. That is the question that was posed, not whatever tangent you are whining about.
Freedom and survival and two independant ideas. Partially what is screwed up about America today is that the idea of freedom as a concept is gone. We fought our revolution over freedom. Had we not stood up to the British there would have been virtually no loss of life. I take it you would have been a torey then? Prof, some things are more important than survival. Freedom, honor, and dignity are on the short list.
Actually, he, like myself, would have been a slave, not a torey. This little analogy falls short of your intended impact when you are trying to convince decendants of people who were still in slavery when America "won" it's independence. The point of what ProfX was saying was obviously lost here.
Slaves didn't get freedom, honor and dignity from the Revolutionary War that was imparted to the white ruling class. However, slaves did learn a great deal about survival and their survival is what kept them around long enough to fuel and maintain the belief that they can finally achieve freedom and regain their honor and dignity.
In addition, comparing the Iraq war to the American Revolution is ridiculous because it is missing one key component. The American Revolution was instigated by the American people. The Iraq War was not instigated by the Iraqi people. The will of the American people is what drove the American Revolution. The will of the Iraqi people is not driving the Iraq war. Without this will, the Iraq war will be lost, period. There will be no great democracy, only the resulting chaos that we see now.
Do you really think there was no planning involved here? I trust this administration about as far as I can throw them, yet to think that there was no planning is just silly. These mistakes are tactical and strategic and all wars have them.
Apples and oranges here. You are getting caught up in the numbers here. I am referring to a very intangible thing in liberty.
Freedom fry songs? I don't even know where to begin there. But that is fine. The idea of freedom as something of a fake decoration is pretty much par for the course in the U.S. There was a time believe it or not when freedom actually did mean something on its own without money and prosperity to support it.
It is one thing to be against the War. I can respect that. I can certainly respect the idea that it is being led by corrupt assholes and idiots. But the idea of freedom being relegated to a jingoistic joke makes me sick.
I'm glad to see you're a skeptic in regards to the Bush gang, but I urge you to read The Assassins Gate, and maybe Cobra II as well. It's not that no planning was done for Iraq, it's that what planning there was was willfully ignored in favor of best-case scenarios and ideological constructs. It's a pretty shocking story when you read up on it.