War College

67 things you might want to know before the bombs drop

These countries cheer Rumsfeld's march into the desert, as well as fork over millions of dollars to buy U.S.-made fighter jets and munitions. Hurrah! Theological field of thought concerned with the end of the world or of humankind. Mostly applied to Christian End Times theories. Many fundamentalist Christians view Iraq as the "whore of Babylon" (Revelations 17: 1-6) and think its defeat (Isaiah 13: 19-22) is a necessary precursor to the Second Coming of Christ. See you in hell. See also ABRAHAM.Remember? See also CRIME RATE (RISING), ECONOMY (COLLAPSING), EMPLOYMENT (FALLING), HEALTH CARE (YEAH, RIGHT) INFRASTRUCTURE (DECAYING) and POLITICS OF DISTRACTION (YES, SIR!). The Pentagon's favorite euphemism for killing innocent civilians first used during press briefings leading up to and during the first Persian Gulf War. Before Desert Storm brought weeks of intense U.S. aerial bombardment to Iraq, General Norman Schwarzkopf and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell asserted that U.S. "smart" weaponry would minimize harm to innocent Iraqi civilians. But after the war, the Pentagon acknowledged that, of the 142,000 tons of bombs dropped on Iraq and Kuwait, only 8 percent were "smart." A United Nations fact-finding mission reported the air war caused "near apocalyptic" conditions in the Iraqi countryside and said that it had reduced "a rather highly urbanized and mechanized society . . . to a pre-industrial age." The U.S. Census Bureau calculated that Desert Storm killed 145,000 Iraqis, only 40,000 of whom were soldiers and 100,000 of whom were civilians that perished in the chaos that occurred within a year of the war. Years later, the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization added to the tally of "collateral damage" more than 500,000 dead Iraqi children, most of whom died in an epidemic of preventable diseases. See also CASUALTIES. Quaint liberal town north of Orange County where City Council member Sandy Baldonado spearheaded passage of what some call a "symbolic" resolution (Mayor Paul Held calls it an "empty gesture") against the federal Patriot Act. The resolution—similar ones have been adopted—was originally supposed to urge city employees to resist participating in federal law-enforcement action premised on the terms of the Patriot Act. The final resolution, more broadly worded, expresses "concern" over some provisions of the act. Council members left intact several additional measures concerning local education and information-gathering practices and have basically said no thanks to Bush's usurpation of civil liberties. See also PATRIOT ACT II. A prominent person who loudly advocates war but who skipped the chance to put himself in harm's way when he was eligible to serve in combat. The current administration and its most vocal supporters pushing for another war against Iraq is an impressive aviary of chickenhawks.

The New Hampshire Gazettemaintains an online chickenhawk database (, which may help give some much-needed perspective the next time you hear the bellicose rhetoric of Dick Cheney (five deferments during Vietnam, says he "had other priorities"), House majority leader Tom Delay (says he wanted to join up for Vietnam but "minorities" had filled all the available positions so he had to stay home), or Rush Limbaugh (couldn't go mano a mano with the Vietcong due to an outbreak of anal cysts). Even more chickenhawk information can be found at, a site set up to examine the mysterious unexcused absence from the National Guard of our current commander in chief from May 1972 to October 1973, during his term of service. See also BUSH, GEORGE W.A big-time administration chickenhawk, Cheney wasn't always so desirous of dumping Hussein. Even as late as 1996, Cheney was still justifying his view to PBS's Frontline that U.S. forces were right to leave Hussein in power: "Now, you can say, well, you should have gone to Baghdad and gotten Saddam, [but] I don't think so. I think if we had done that, we would have been bogged down there for a very long period of time with the real possibility we might not have succeeded." See also CHICKENHAWK. The World Health Organization estimates "as many as 500,000 [Iraqis] could require treatment to a greater or lesser degree as a result of direct or indirect injuries." Of that number, 400,000 are projected as indirect casualties because "the outbreak of diseases in epidemic if not pandemic proportions is very likely." According to UNICEF, "It is estimated that nutritional status of some 3.03 million persons countrywide will be dire, and they will require therapeutic feeding. This consists of 2.03 million severely and moderately malnourished children under five and 1 million pregnant and lactating women." Thirty percent of Iraqi children under the age of five "would be at risk of death from malnutrition." According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, "It is estimated that there will eventually be some 900,000 Iraqi refugees requiring assistance, of which 100,000 will be in need of immediate assistance." The document reports that despite requests to the United States, the U.K. and other western governments for emergency aid in case of war, "no funds have been made available to any agencies to date." "Likely Humanitarian Scenarios" is available at See also COLLATERAL DAMAGE.

When he was a young man of draft age in 1970, facing induction and possible deployment to Vietnam, the patriotic and hawkish Bush joined not the U.S. Army or Air Force, but the Texas Air National Guard. During his four-year enlistment, the son of then-Congressman George H.W. Bush served just 68 days on active duty, flying obsolete F-102 interceptors in defense of the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, records show it is likely the future commander in chief was absent without leave (AWOL) during his last two years of service. From May 1, 1972, to April 30, 1973, Bush was actually in Alabama, working on a U.S. Senate campaign. In theory, Bush was part of the 9921st Air Reserve Squadron of the Alabama Air National Guard—a paper command that had no aircraft or pilots and met just one weeknight per month—but the future president's request to get transferred to that all-but-nonexistent unit never went through. Military personnel records obtained by numerous newspapers and researchers during the 2000 presidential election make clear Bush likely never returned to active duty until his 1974 discharge. See also CHICKENHAWK. America's blood supply, already at such a seriously low level that some parts of the country have less than a one-day supply, may be stretched to dangerous levels if a war in Iraq proves to be bloody. A Red Cross official explains that many American service personnel are ineligible to donate blood because they may have been exposed to Mad Cow disease while stationed in Western Europe. With a reduced pool of military donors, the Red Cross may have to ask civilians for more blood, blood they haven't been providing over the past few months. Densely populated capital of Iraq. Of the country's 24 million people, 4.8 million live here. The city's principal economic activity is oil refining, but just about all of the country's industries are based here. Baghdad has several museums, numerous archaeological sites and three universities, the largest of which is the University of Baghdad, founded in 1958. The city itself was founded on the west bank of the Tigris River in 762 by the Abbasid caliph Mansur. Under the caliph Harun al-Rashid, Baghdad became one of the greatest cities of Islam, home to many scholars, artists and poets. In 1638, Baghdad became part of the Ottoman Empire, and after being "liberated" by British forces, it became the capital of the newly constituted kingdom of Iraq in 1920. In 1958, a coup in Baghdad ousted King Faisal and led to the birth of the Iraqi republic. During the bloody Iran-Iraq war, Baghdad became a dreary place constantly under threat of attack. But the city's darkest days occurred after Iraq invaded Kuwait, when U.S. warplanes reduced much of Baghdad to rubble. The U.S. is about half the size of Russia, slightly larger than China and about two and a half times the size of Western Europe. Iraq is slightly more than twice the size of Idaho. During much of the Iran-Iraq war, U.S. Department of Commerce officials granted export licenses to numerous U.S. companies to sell anthrax, bubonic plague and various insecticides to Baghdad. These licenses, including one allowing Dow Chemical to sell Iraq $1.5 million worth of pesticides, came despite warnings that the agents were intended for Iraq's active chemical-warfare program. The exports continued even after news that Saddam Hussein was bombing Kurdish villages in northern Iraq with nerve gas. Lyrics to the song were composed by progressive poet Katherine Lee Bates, a lesbian who had a decades-long, live-in relationship with economist Katharine Coman. Both women were professors at Wellesley College, and both were active in reform movements involving workers rights, the inner-city poor and women's right to vote. The book that presented the new lyrics to Great Britain's "God Save the Queen" was called America the Beautiful and Other Poems, and those "other poems" included several that excoriated the United States for its imperialistic policies in the Philippines. Most words beginning with "al"—such as "algebra"—date back to medieval Arabic and are now a big un-American no-no. Just as anti-German hysteria swept the U.S. in 1917 (when Americans renamed hamburger and sauerkraut), it's possible we'll soon see the final prohibition of alcohol—the word, not the hooch. First mass-distilled by Arabs in potent proofs called alembics, alcohol may disappear with "alfalfa," "Aladdin" (who has already been replaced by an Asian actor at Disney's California Adventure), "albacore" tuna, "alchemy," Al Sharpton and, sadly, Al Green. Father of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. According to the Bible, Abraham came from Ur, which is located in present-day Iraq. Hey, Godboy, Abraham was Iraqi. See also ESCHATOLOGY.

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