War on Iraq: Looks like the US and UK are winning the propaganda war - we're making the Iraqi soldiers look bad by killing our own troops more efficiently than they are:

--Two helicopters have crashed into each other, killing both crews, seven people in total (news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2879105.stm)

--Another helicopter has crashed in Kuwait, killing twelve (news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2871077.stm)

--An American soldier grenaded his own men, killing one and injuring twelve (news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2877087.stm)

--A Patriot missile (you know, those super smart ones) shot down an RAF jet, killing two (news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2878565.stm)

--And Coalition troops fired on an ITN news crew - one confirmed dead, two missing (news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2878777.stm)

--Meanwhile, PM Tony Blair says "war going to plan"... (news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2879105.stm)

I don't want anyone to die, I really don't. I don't think it's funny, or clever, or high jinks, that these accidents (some not accidental) happened. But Christ, this "war" is getting surreal. Sky News spent 2 hours the other day showing the same footage of Iraqis firing into the river Tigris, and couldn't make up their mind if Iraq had claimed some Coalition pilots had ejected into the river, or if it had actually happened, or if it definitely hadn't happened. Fox News said yesterday that a "huge" chemical weapons factory had been found, according to "unidentified Pentagon sources". Then it was a factory of some kind, that they were trying to determine what it was used for, with their sources saying it's important not to jump to conclusions...

There has also been widespread condemnation for Iraq showing captured soldiers on television: Blair said "Parading people in that way is contrary to the Geneva Convention", US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also said this was breaking the Geneva Conventions concerning prisoners of war, and George W. Bush said "Duhhhhh, I can pick my own ass! Look!" No, he actually said, and I quote, "I expect them to be treated, the POWs I expect to be treated humanely. And -- just like we're treating the prisoners that we have captured humanely." (www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030323-1.html)

That'd be the same Geneva Convention that can't help those in Guantanamo Bay, would it? The ones who have been held for over a year without charge, access to their families, or lawyers? Last October, three elderly Afghan farmers, who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, were sent home - sorry, we thought you were terrorists, we kept you locked away with a bag over your head and two 15 minute exercise breaks per week, for a year, but hey, you can't be too careful, right? Sign this form. Don't read it, just sign it. You want to get out of here, right? (news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/2648547.stm - the "sign this form" bit is purely speculation and rabble rousing on my part, but I'd be surprised if I was very far off the mark)

To clarify: I have nothing against US or UK troops. They signed up to defend their countries, but they are not asked, before they're sent anywhere, if they think it's okay - they have to do their job, whether they like it or not. They did not start this war, and they will gain nothing from it, apart from maybe a nice military funeral after their hamburgered remains are flown home in a plastic bag. I just want them all to come home, safely. That's not going to happen. They're already being killed, a lot of them by their own side - friendly fire. Friendly fucking fire. Calling it by a nice name doesn't make those 23 people any less dead. Bush and Blair, sitting in their leather chairs in their comfy offices, wearing expensive suits, don't get to see the bodies, smell the blood, the shit, the death. They get PowerPoint charts, figures, projections, they get to watch it on the TV news like we do, the sanitised, low-salt, sugar free version. I'm not really going anywhere with this, I'm just angrily spouting off. But while I have your attention (if I do), go to www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,894708,00.html and read about the interesting way the media was bullied into toeing the official line in the last Gulf War, and the way it looks like they're being stage managed all over again.

Don't get your news from the TV. It's bullshit.

I'd just like to thank the tireless people at the White House website (www.whitehouse.gov) who transcribe all of Bush's garbled ramblings, word for word, without fixing his more amusing sentence make word usements.