Another summer project complete.

Jul 11, 2008 | | 0 comments |

It's higher off the deck than I wanted but I don't have a lot of options because of the clearance around the kitchen porch. It does give nice shade up until about 18:00 when the sun is too low and too far to the west.

Bush's nu-cu-lar war ambitions.

Jul 10, 2008 | | 0 comments |

Not content with the middle-eastern mess he's created, it looks like Bush is going to get his nuclear war with Iran before he gets to the end of his term although he's likely relying on Israel to pull the trigger. The US has been quietly suggesting to Israel that they provoke Iran into attacking them. The Israeli Air Force exercise over Iran a few days ago resulted in Iran test-firing missiles yesterday and today. The Bush regime have said they'll "defend our allies" if they're attacked by Iran. It's assumed that Israel have their own nukes, either self-made or provided by the US so if attacked by Iran, Israel will undoubtedly retaliate with those. Bush will then see that as justification to go in all guns blazing.

But Bush and the Iranians are locked in a diplomatic game of "Who's crazier?". With six months left in office, no political capital at home or abroad, the lowest approval rating since Nixon, a country he's brought to it's knees with recession, and a uniformed military ready to rebel at the first talk of a new war, the Bush regime can't really do much other than threaten military strikes in hopes of bluffing Tehran into a compromise on its nuclear program.

The problem is that given the Bush regime's "preventive war" doctrine which has opened the way for the launching of wars without significant notice or obvious provocation, and the penchant of its officials to ignore reality, all of this sabre-rattling should frighten everyone. There's a very good chance he'll stop threatening and simply lob long-range nukes even if the American public are against it, by using one of those "special presidential powers" that he's so keen on. After all, ICBM's don't need the uniformed military to do anything other than turn a key.

I really don't understand the whole Israel thing. Is it because there is so much Jewish / Israeli money in the US? Shouldn't we just leave them all to fight it out amongst themselves? Why do we have any interest?

Things I didn't know I didn't know : The CIA's destruction of Laos.

Jul 8, 2008 | | 0 comments |

I learned something tonight watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations travel show.

During the Vietnam war, Laos was caught in the middle between the US and Vietnam. The CIA, without any support or knowledge of the American people, created a secret war in Laos by recruiting the hill tribe people in the east to fight the Communist North Vietnamese troops in Laos. When it was all over, the U.S had turned a tiny Laos into a second moon face of the earth.

The U.S. bombing of Laos was unprecedented. The U.S. Air Force carried out 580,000 missions against the country. That breaks down to about one planeload of bombs dropped every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, for nine years. According to the experts, the U.S. dropped over 2 million tonnes of bombs in Laos, more than all of the bombs dropped by all warring countries during World War II. U.S. pilots were "encouraged" to dump unused bombs on return flights from Vietnam bombing runs.

Today, both land and people all walks of life are still suffering from the legacy of heavy U.S. bombing during the 1960s and '70s.

The children and farmers are most likely to be blown up by the unexploded ordinances (UXO) that scattered all over the north, northeast and southern parts of Laos. Some experts claim that it will take decades if not centuries, a lot of money and resources to clear all unexploded bombs.

In addition to 2 million tonnes of 'regular' bombs, the United States dropped 260 million cluster bomblets on Laos too. Up to 30% did not explode leaving 78 million scattered across the country today -- 15 of Laos' 18 provinces are contaminated with UXO. In the northern Xiengkhouang province, grazing water buffalo have eaten dud submunitions and exploded.
Savannakhet, a province of 721,500 in southern Laos, was hit hardest from the American B-52s. Until today, no one really knew exactly how many Lao peoples were killed during the indiscriminate bombing raids.

The United States spent $9 million a day (in today's dollars) bombing Laos for 10 years.
In 2003 it contributed $1 million to the detection and removal of UXO.