Tag Archives: Iraq

Iraq War Ends

Iraq is now an “independent, free and sovereign” country according the the US Government which, for eight years, eight months, and twenty five days, has occupied the nation with a massive military presence.

The war officially ended this morning at 5:15 AM eastern time (1:15PM in Iraq) at a quiet ceremony.

All the troops are coming home before Christmas1.

4,487 US troops were killed and about 30,000 wounded. As usual, the number of others killed and wounded is in dispute and seems more a matter of politics than reality, despite the fact that they are actual people. More than 100,000 Iraqis were killed according to the Washington Post.

The total cost of the war was approximately $800,000,000,000. That’s less than $3,000 per person in the US, which isn’t bad, stretched out over several years, for a major war.

The Iraqis are very appreciative of the efforts. In Falluja, the site of one of the most significant battles in the early days of the war, thousands of Sunni Iraqi’s took to the streets and burned flags of Israel and the US.

Sectarian violence is expected to flare up soon after US troops have left.

1Except the ones that aren’t.

If you link to something, do you own it?

Peter Van Buren Wikileaks Foreign Service State Department
Peter Van Buren, veteran US State Department foreign service officer: Linked to WikiLeaks, or merely linked to WikiLeaks?

When I first started working at the University of Minnesota over ten years ago, just when the WWW as we know it today was starting up, I found that Teh U had an interesting set of rules that were so crazy that it made me volunteer to be on the committees that made IT related rules so I could end the insanity. The insanity continued, of course. I remember asking the appropriate unit, at the time I was creating my first U-related web site, about the rule that said “If you link to an outside site you are responsible for whatever happens on that site.” Does this mean, I inquired, that if I am walking by a bank and glance at it while it is being robbed, that I’m a felon?

It too over six months for the appropriate unit to respond to my memo (which had about 20 questions on it). The answer was inadequate. But I digress.

Peter Van Buren, author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People has a blog, and on his blog he linked to a WikiLeaks disclosed item. Therefore, apparently, he is a bad person and must be fired.

As summarized by Wired:

Van Buren said he was under investigation for allegedly disclosing classified information — even though he had merely linked to documents that were already widely available on the internet. The cable was just one in a cache of more than 250,000 State Department cables that WikiLeaks allegedly obtained from former Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning last year and has been posting piecemeal online with media partners in the U.S. and Europe since last November.

“In other words, a link to a document posted by who-knows-who on a public website available at this moment to anyone in the world was the legal equivalent of me stealing a Top Secret report, hiding it under my coat, and passing it to a Chinese spy in a dark alley,” Van Buren wrote this week.

I have no opinion of Van Buren or his work, but you can follow the links above to open more than one can of worms. Or can of something. Enjoy.