Monday, March 31, 2003

Deployment of a Cavalry Contingent Is Speeded Up
Officially, the unexpectedly vicious guerrilla attacks on American forces in Iraq have not led to any changes in deployment plans for the troops. Tell that to the soldiers of the Second Armored Cavalry, who have been ordered to rush into the fight.

A cavalry contingent was told to fly directly to the Persian Gulf region, rather than sail on slow freighters, as had been planned.

The new orders, which arrived only last Monday, sent 500 members of the light cavalry regiment into what one officer called "a state of controlled chaos" in preparation for their early departure on Sunday.

Iraqi guerrillas have attacked advancing American and British troops and supply lines across southern Iraq as coalition ground forces have sped toward Baghdad, and guarding convoys and scouting enemy territory is one specialty of an Army regiment like the Second Cavalry.

Armored Humvee scout vehicles, which can carry .50-caliber machine guns and TOW antitank missiles, lined the runway at this former Air Force base, ready to be loaded onto cargo planes.

Kiowa reconnaissance helicopters had their rotors tied back for loading aboard the huge C-5 and C-17 cargo planes that are to fly them to Kuwait. Black cowboy hats sat on the pilot seats inside several Kiowa cockpits, a reminder of the days before these cavalry units traded in their horses for helicopters.

When the order came on Monday to accelerate the departure of 500 troops, and to travel with their vehicles by military airlift instead of by sea, Colonel Wolff said: "Let's get it on. Let's get going." The regimental commander was scheduled to be aboard the third plane to depart on Sunday.

[From his headquarters in Qatar on Sunday, Gen. Tommy R. Franks, commander of all allied forces for the war in Iraq, suggested that no new deployment orders had been issued as a result of the battlefield surprises of the war's first week and a half. "It would be instructive to see how many of those have been issued with respect to this theater over the past 11 days," General Franks told reporters. "I don't know of any."]

For several days, General Franks and other senior officers have been challenged by critics who suggested that they had not anticipated the stiff resistance of Iraqi fighters, and that their war plans had not allocated enough troops to the ground war, which occurred sooner than some had expected. The officers have replied that all is going according to an overall plan — but that the plan itself was flexible.

In any event, the troops of the Second Armored Cavalry, who received their initial deployment order several weeks ago, are now needed sooner than anticipated. Colonel Wolff said the first 500 members of the unit could be on the ground and ready for battle in little more than a week.

"When the Americans came and said they took Zubayr, they left the next day," he said. "The fedayeen came in then, and we had to flee."

Fleeing Civilians Caught in the Middle
They crossed the bridge wearing tattered shoes if any at all. Their arms were filled with bags packed for exodus and children too young to walk. The city behind them, Basra, presented an apocalyptic landscape, jet black smoke from burning oil fires spilling over the flat desert horizon.

They were afraid.

Afraid of Saddam Hussein's troops inside the city who they said were executing people freely; afraid of the forces outside the city whose intentions they did not yet know; and afraid of what would come as their supplies of food and water continued to dwindle.

"We have nothing," said Saeed, a young man from the nearby town of Zubayr. He was trying to salvage scrap from a car that was little more that a charred skeleton. "No water, no food, no electricity, nothing."

This morning, Iraqi soldiers positioned in a factory complex about 500 yards beyond this bridge let loose a barrage of machine-gun and mortar fire toward the civilians walking out of Basra, sending them diving for cover in ditches, ponds and the bombed-out remains of vehicles, witnesses said.

One British soldier was killed in fighting nearer to the city, and several others were wounded, according to the British Defense Ministry in London.

Eleven days into the American-led war here, the narrow, once fertile crescent of territory that gives Iraq its only outlet to the sea remains a land of insecurity and ambivalence, devoid of the euphoria that American and British soldiers hoped to encounter in southern Iraq.

Basra, a city of 1.5 million people encircled now by British troops, remains a place of uncertainty. What exactly is happening there is unclear, but the reports from those fleeing are troubling.

While older people carry dirty water from fetid puddles and wait for help to come, the predominant emotions here on the city's outskirts seem to be apprehension, confusion or outright mistrust. Barefoot children run through the dust of passing military vehicles with outstretched hands shouting the only English word they know: "Give!"

Basra lies close to Zubayr, a town captured by allied forces early in the war but still not fully secured. Saeed, the man from there, was still too scared to give his full name. He said fedayeen loyal to Mr. Hussein were killing those they saw talking to allied troops.

Saeed said he did not like the life he was handed in Iraq but was equally distrustful of the allied forces.

"When the Americans came and said they took Zubayr, they left the next day," he said. "The fedayeen came in then, and we had to flee."
Pace of Coalition's War Plan Is Slowed, Not Paused
For an American military on the offensive, there may be no more distasteful term than "operational pause." The military prides itself on seizing the initiative and applying relentless pressure to defeat its foe.

So it was not surprising that Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the chief of the United States Central Command, insisted today that the United States military was pressing ahead with its campaign to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Reports from commanders in the field that they have been ordered to pause for a few days, General Franks insisted, are "simply not the case."

The situation, in fact, does not appear to be that simple. The unanticipated resistance from guerrilla forces in the south and the limited size of the American force in the region has slowed the tempo of the war plan.

Faced with threats in the rear, the need to guard supply lines, the imperative to consolidate logistics and the prospect of urban warfare in Baghdad, the allied forces are finding themselves confronting a multitude of tasks. The American military no longer has the luxury of concentrating on the Baghdad fight. Most military experts agree that the allies would be in a stronger position to advance on Baghdad had the Bush administration sent more troops.

In one sign today that troop transport to the area was being accelerated, a contingent of the Second Armored Calvary was told to fly directly to the gulf region.

It is not the case, though, that combat operations have ground to a halt. In fact, American land forces have begun a new phase of their campaign by resuming their attacks on the Republican Guard. These are limited attacks, but still a continuation of the offensive and a prelude for the decisive Baghdad battle to come.…
Why the Supreme Court Needs to Visit Cass High School
Doris Taylor Walls, a counselor at Detroit's Cass Technical High School, has a stuffed giraffe on her desk, a gift from a student. The girl's mother was a crack addict and her father left town, but she worked part time, earned honors grades and went on to college. Ms. Walls has helped students from crime-ridden housing projects and ones who wake at sunrise for a three-bus commute, but she has finally come up against a problem she can't do anything about. "I hate to even think about it," she sighs.

Cass Tech is a revered Detroit institution, the school Diana Ross attended when she lived in the nearby Brewster Projects and the alma mater of Detroit's current mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick. It is also the biggest feeder of African-American students to the University of Michigan, sending 50 to 80 a year.

Cass Tech's students may have the most to lose tomorrow, when the Supreme Court hears two cases that could end affirmative action in admissions at the University of Michigan. It is too bad that the justices will not be visiting Cass Tech before they rule. They could see not only some of the students whose futures lie in the balance, but the hollowness of the plaintiffs' central argument — that race no longer matters.…
Who Will Rescue Iraqi Civilians?
The images projected relentlessly around the world are becoming numbingly familiar — the smoke and flames over Baghdad, the terrified faces of prisoners of war, the broken and sometimes lifeless bodies of the American, British and Iraqi military, and the mounting civilian casualties, including children.

What remains invisible to most of the world is the dreadful day-to-day reality behind those searing televised images — the daily lives of the Iraqi noncombatants. While a full-scale humanitarian crisis has not yet developed, conditions on the ground are extremely dangerous and reports are emerging of children in southern Iraq falling ill because of a lack of potable water, sanitation facilities and medical supplies.

With the initial phase of the war taking longer than expected, frustrated humanitarian workers have for the most part been unable to enter the country. They are anxious to provide aid to a population that was already in a perilous state before the first missile of the war was ever launched.

As the relief organization Save the Children has noted, about 45 percent of Iraq's population is under the age of 15, and those youngsters "are particularly vulnerable to death, starvation, disease, displacement and trauma as a consequence of war."

"Thirty percent of the children were malnourished before the war," said Charles MacCormack, president of Save the Children, "and obviously their situation is not improving."

As they wait for the opportunity to assess the conditions inside Iraq, several humanitarian aid organizations, including Save the Children, are expressing concern over the Bush administration's increasing tendency to blur the distinctions between the activities of humanitarian aid organizations and those of the military.

Even as it is waging war against Iraq, the U.S. government has tried to put a kinder, gentler face on the military, with the president and top Pentagon officials insisting that civilian casualties will be held to a minimum and that the military will be directly involved in the effort to relieve the suffering of the Iraqi people.

This is a confusing message to say the least. And the confusion is compounded by what appears to be insufficient planning by the U.S. to meet the humanitarian challenge in Iraq. Leaders of humanitarian organizations in the U.S. have been complaining for some time that the government has kept them out of the loop as far as its plans for relief and reconstruction in Iraq are concerned. At the same time the government has made it clear that it wants substantial control over the operations of these independent groups once they are in the field.

This sounds very much like the no-need-to-consult, we-know-it-all policy that has become such a hallmark of this administration. The problem is that excessive control of humanitarian efforts by the government of a combatant is very dangerous. And it's especially dangerous in an area as volatile as the Middle East.

Such humanitarian efforts have traditionally been coordinated by the United Nations and largely carried out by nongovernmental organizations that have decades of experience and go to great lengths to express their neutrality.

Relief workers from groups like the Red Cross and Save the Children and Doctors Without Borders provide help to those in need, no matter which side of a conflict they're on. "By definition we need to remain neutral and independent," one official told me last week. "If you're seen as siding with one combatant or the other, you can end up getting killed."

While it's appropriate for military personnel to provide relief in certain situations, that effort should be handed off as quickly as possible.…
News: California closer to Net sales tax
California, the nation's most populous state, this week took a step closer to collecting tax on sales of consumer goods over the Internet--a move rejected by its governor in better budgetary times.

A tax committee of California's Senate on Wednesday approved two bills that would clear the way for the state to collect sales tax on goods sold by out-of-state vendors to its residents via the Web, a move that could help it recoup an estimated $1.75 billion in lost annual tax revenue.

When California's homegrown Internet sector was thriving, California Gov. Gray Davis was an opponent of online sales taxes, saying they could hamper the growth of then-booming dot-com companies.

But such concerns have been eclipsed by a recent study finding that California appears to losing more tax revenue to online sales than does any other state.

As the state looks to plug a $35 billion budget gap during the next 15 months, lawmakers and Davis are taking a second look at Internet sales taxes.

The first Internet tax bill would require California to join a group of 35 states and the District of Columbia, working to help states tax remote sellers, including those that operate online and via mail-order.

Members of that group known as the Streamlined Sales Tax Project were key players in a February deal in which eight major online retailers agreed to begin collecting taxes on behalf of about three dozen states. As part of that deal, the vendors were granted amnesty for any prior uncollected taxes.

California did not participate in that settlement and has remained on the sidelines on the issue.

"This isn't about 'taxing the Internet,' it's about equity, because people should be taxed on what they buy, not how they buy it," bill sponsor Sen. Debra Bowen, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Bowen said the current tax system gives every out-of-state businesses an instant 7.25 percent to 8.5 percent price advantage over California-based retailers that collect that sales tax at the point of sale depending on where it is made.
Story: Why you really, really need a firewall (or two) - ZDNet
Case in point: A few years ago, almost nobody talked about firewalls for desktops, though firewalls were being used by most corporations. Now they're the latest must-have item. Personal firewalls probably weren't talked about much before because few thought a single, slow PC would ever be worth a hacker's time.

WELL, TIMES CHANGE. Desktop computers are now faster and more numerous than ever before. So are Internet connections. And while most people used to dial up to their ISP for limited amounts of time, now many are online 24/7--thanks to their broadband Net connection--and some even host their own Web servers.

In addition, more and more computers are networked--often to allow multiple systems to share one fast Net connection.

Combine these trends with a hacker's ability to coordinate thousands of desktop computers in distributed denial-of-service attacks on major Web sites, and I think it's time we start taking PC security seriously.,10738,2913156,00.html

Sunday, March 30, 2003

An American Myth Rides Into the Sunset
The image being invoked by the president and his posse has deep roots in the American soil. But if Mr. Bush's cowpoke credentials seem to be all simple syntax and bodacious belt buckle, his policies actually flout the cowboy charter. Teddy Roosevelt, in "The Cattle Country of the Far West," called cowboys "quiet, rather self-contained men." The president's actions have violated the basic terms of the American Western romance and, thereby, the terms by which we call ourselves Americans. He's declared war on a foundational national myth.

It's worth recalling that the cowboy of the myth wasn't trigger happy and he wasn't a dominator. He carried a gun to protect himself and his cattle — cattle that didn't even belong to him. His mission was their safe passage, and by extension, the safe passage of the civilizing society to follow. And his honor was grounded on his civilized refusal to fire first. "Didn't I tell you he'd not shoot?" says a spectator to a gun fight that didn't happen in "The Virginian," Owen Wister's 1902 novel. "He's a brave man," he adds. "It's not a brave man that's dangerous. It's the cowards that scare me."
Advisors of Influence: Nine Members of the Defense Policy Board Have Ties to Defense Contractors
Of the 30 members of the Defense Policy Board, the government-appointed group that advises the Pentagon, at least nine have ties to companies that have won more than $76 billion in defense contracts in 2001 and 2002. Four members are registered lobbyists, one of whom represents two of the three largest defense contractors.

The board’s chairman, Richard Perle, resigned yesterday, March 27, 2003, amid allegations of conflicts of interest for his representation of companies with business before the Defense Department, although he will remain a member of the board. Eight of Perle’s colleagues on the board have ties to companies with significant contracts from the Pentagon.

Members of the board disclose their business interests annually to the Pentagon, but the disclosures are not available to the public. “The forms are filed with the Standards of Conduct Office which review the filings to make sure they are in compliance with government ethics,” Pentagon spokesman Maj. Ted Wadsworth told the Center for Public Integrity.

The companies with ties to Defense Policy Board members include prominent firms like Boeing, TRW, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Booz Allen Hamilton and smaller players like Symantec Corp., Technology Strategies and Alliance Corp., and Polycom Inc.

Defense companies are awarded contracts for numerous reasons; there is nothing to indicate that serving on the Defense Policy Board confers a decisive advantage to firms with which a member is associated.

According to its charter, the board was set up in 1985 to provide the Secretary of Defense “with independent, informed advice and opinion concerning major matters of defense policy.” The members are selected by and report to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy—currently Douglas Feith, a former Reagan administration official. All members are approved by the Secretary of Defense. The board’s quarterly meetings—normally held over a two-day period—are classified, and each session’s proceedings are summarized for the Defense Secretary. The board does not write reports or vote on issues. Feith, according to the charter, can call additional meetings if required. Notices of the meetings are filed at least 15 days before they are held in the Federal Register.

The board, whose list of members reads like a who’s who of former high-level government and military officials, focuses on long-term policy issues such as the strategic implications of defense policies and tactical considerations, including what types of weapons the military should develop.

Michael O’Hanlon, a military expert at The Brookings Institution, told Time magazine in November 2002 that the board “is just another [public relations] shop for Rumsfeld.” Former members said that the character of the board changed under Rumsfeld. Previously the board was more bi-partisan; under Rumsfeld, it has become more interested in policy changes. The board has no official role in policy decisions.

The agendas for the last three meetings, which were obtained by the Center, show a variety of issues were discussed. The Oct. 10-11, 2002 meeting was devoted to intelligence briefings from the Defense Intelligence Agency and other administration officials. One of the first items on the agenda was an ethics brief by the Office of the General Counsel.

In December 2002, a two-hour intelligence briefing, strategy, North Korea, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency were on the agenda. In February 2003, the topics discussed on the first day included North Korea, Iran and Total Information Awareness, the controversial Pentagon research program that aims to gather and analyze a vast array of information on Americans. As the Center previously reported, research for the program is being conducted by private contractors.

Richard Perle, who has been a very public advocate of the war in Iraq, resigned the chairmanship of the Defense Policy Board after being criticized in recent weeks because of his involvement in companies that have significant business before the Defense Department. He did not return the Center’s phone calls.

In a March 24 letter, Rep. John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, asked the Pentagon’s inspector general to investigate Perle’s role as a paid adviser to the bankrupt telecommunications company Global Crossing Ltd. The Hamilton, Bermuda-based company sought approval of its sale of overseas subsidiaries from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a government panel that can block sales or mergers that conflict with U.S. national security interests. Rumsfeld is a member of the Committee.

Perle reportedly advised clients of Goldman Sachs on investment opportunities in post-war Iraq, and is a director with stock options of the U.K.-based Autonomy Corp., whose customers include the Defense Department.

“Mr. Perle is considered a ‘special government employee’ and is subject to government ethics prohibition—both regulatory and criminal—on using public office for private gain,” Rep. Conyers wrote in the letter obtained by the Center.

Potential conflicts not limited to Perle

Perle, however, is not the only Defense Policy Board member with ties to companies that do business with the Defense Department:…
As a Quick Victory Grows Less Likely, Doubts Are Quietly Voiced
After 10 days of watching smart bombs, sandstorms and stiff resistance from the Iraqi regime, a capital that usually embraces the president and his strategy in wartime is beginning to show fissures.

Few have openly split with the president, or the decisions made so far. But one does not have to scratch deep to hear the doubts.

There are the Central Intelligence Agency analysts, quietly complaining that their warnings that Saddam Hussein's government might not crack like peanut brittle were dismissed. There are ex-generals on nightly television, expressing unease about a plan that relied more on speed than on numbers, and that seemed overly dependent on welcoming cheers from the Iraqis. There are field commanders like Lt. Gen. William Wallace, whose public complaints of an enemy that was "different from the one we'd war-gamed against" set off alarm bells and denials at Central Command.

There are the terse comments of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, who, in an interview on Friday, declined to say whether the Iraq war planners were in danger of violating the famed "Powell doctrine" — the use of overwhelming force. He assured two visitors to his office that he was certain the Pentagon would, in time, "bring decisive force to bear" — and then changed the subject.

And there are Democrats who chafe about the war's progress but will not say so publicly. Acutely aware that their Senate leader, Tom Daschle, walked into a hornet's nest two weeks ago when he suggested that the war itself was the inevitable result of failed diplomacy, they measure every word.

Finally, there is a White House that is scrounging for evidence that it warned the nation all along that this could be a long slog, even in the face of predictions by Vice President Dick Cheney and others that, in all likelihood, the war would be quick and that "the streets in Basra and Baghdad are sure to erupt in joy."

Mr. Cheney may yet prove to be right, the White House says, but 10 days into the war there is a recognition that the enthusiasm of the hawks got out of control.

"There were very high expectations about the conduct of the war and enormous confidence in the military forces; we've all had drummed into us how superior they are," said Lee Hamilton, the former Democratic head of the House International Relations Committee.

"Then you run into difficulties," he said. "And that creates a reaction all over town."

On Friday morning, Democratic critics of the White House were circulating e-mail containing the most optimistic prewar quotes from prominent hawks.…
A Personal Version of XML, Courtesy of Netomat
As the adoption of extensible markup language (XML) spreads to corporate networks, helping computers speak to each other more efficiently over the Web, what about XML for humans?

After all, the financial world has its own dialect of XML, called XBRL (Extensible Business Reporting Language). Tech services vendors have all their flavors of XML as part of the language frameworks for a coming era of Web Services among corporate networks.

Microsoft has its .NET version of XML -- even the public relations industry is developing its own dialect, XPRL (extensible public relations language) -- all of which serve the same purpose: to help machines communicate data more effectively with other machines, with more meaning.

But where is the version of XML that lets people communicate more effectively with people?

Netomat, a start-up company about to make its public debut at PC Forum starting March 23rd -- Esther Dyson's annual confab of technology visionaries -- may have that answer.

Indeed, the company, launched by a mix of artists, philosophers and early players in the growth of XML, could be on the verge of becoming -- dare we say it -- the "next big thing." If only because it's a creation that is not easily summed up.

"It's probably best described as a service," says Alan Gershenfeld, a founder and co-CEO of Netomat, which was founded in 2001.

"We make it easy to combine multimedia formats: text, images, voice sound, free form drawing, unlimited personal rich media," said Gershenfeld, a former executive of entertainment software company Activision.

And it's XML and Java based, which makes the multi-media authoring tool compatible with both PCs and Macs, with various browsers and various e-mail clients.

For a monthly subsciption fee, the Netomat user, consumer or corporate, gets a hosted authoring and messaging application, 30 megabytes of space on Netomat's servers, and the use of the company's communication infrastructure. It lets you manipulate text, images, video, audio -- any digital media -- and with the push of a button you can send the whole creation off in an e-mail, or in today's publishing parlance, update your blog.

Call it a blogging, publishing tool on steroids.

Indeed, the company, launched by a mix of artists, philosophers and early players in the growth of XML, could be on the verge of becoming -- dare we say it -- the "next big thing." If only because it's a creation that is not easily summed up.

"It's probably best described as a service," says Alan Gershenfeld, a founder and co-CEO of Netomat, which was founded in 2001.

"We make it easy to combine multimedia formats: text, images, voice sound, free form drawing, unlimited personal rich media," said Gershenfeld, a former executive of entertainment software company Activision.

And it's XML and Java based, which makes the multi-media authoring tool compatible with both PCs and Macs, with various browsers and various e-mail clients.

For a monthly subsciption fee, the Netomat user, consumer or corporate, gets a hosted authoring and messaging application, 30 megabytes of space on Netomat's servers, and the use of the company's communication infrastructure. It lets you manipulate text, images, video, audio -- any digital media -- and with the push of a button you can send the whole creation off in an e-mail, or in today's publishing parlance, update your blog.

Call it a blogging, publishing tool on steroids.
Microsoft's Exit from W3C Group Stirs Dissent
"Two researchers attended part of a meeting a couple weeks ago in order to better understand its scope," the company said. "While Microsoft has decided not to formally participate in the choreography group at this time, it is not the only vehicle in which to impact and evaluate a set of technologies, and we will continue to stay actively involved on several different fronts, with varying degrees of participation and input relative to the standardization process."
The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) is one other such consortium Microsoft can turn to to work on standards.

Microsoft, IBM and BEA Systems are working on their own choreography specifications, WS-Coordination and WS-Transaction, as well as the Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS), to articulate it.

But Don Deutsch, Oracle's vice president of standards strategy and architecture and W3C member, said Web services will achieve its expected level of success "only if the entire technology industry coalesces around a single set of standards." To that end, he feels Microsoft and IBM's actions to be an affront to the process that could lead to fragmentation.

"Any decision by Microsoft and IBM to start another Choreography standardization activity must be recognized as an attempt to drape themselves in the mantle of openness while refusing to share control of the specification with others in the industry," Deutsch told "That is, trying to have their standards cake and making others eat it too!"

Stephen O'Grady, a senior analyst with research firm Redmonk who has spoken to people familiar with the happenings, discussed the issue with

"I saw that move, and I must say that it doesn't bode well for the future of Web services. I was just chatting with [group marketing manager for Web services standards and technologies at Sun] Ed Julson and a few others from Sun about the state of Web services last week, and while I wasn't entirely convinced then with their pessimistic outlook, this is certainly another step in that direction."

"From all appearances, MS didn't agree with the way orchestration was to be handled, and having invested their own time and effort into an alternative chose that direction," he said. "But while many of the decisions by IBM, MS et al may make sense on an individual, case by case basis, they're shortsighted and have the potential to be very detrimental long term."

(Or maybe they're just tired of the anti-Microsoft “holy wars” A.I.)

Saturday, March 29, 2003

Long Live Big W

War Is Peace

Freedom is Not French

Ignorance Is Strength

"The bodies were shattered by the missile, which was intended to kill as many people as possible. It was daylight. It was clear to anybody that the market was crowded, and there are no military or strategic facilities in this area."

Iraq Blames U.S. for Market Blast That Killed Civilians in Baghdad
After the marketplace explosion Friday night, there was no ambiguity in the response of Iraqis struggling to deal with the carnage. Dr. Hassan Razouki, 50, director of Al Noor Hospital half a mile from the explosion, broke away from directing surgery to talk to reporters.

"At 5:30 p.m. this evening, an enemy plane deliberately hit the local market," he said. "It was crowded with lots of people, including many children and many elderly, who went there to buy food. The number of martyrs from this criminal act is 35, most of them under 15 years of age, elderly or female, and we have treated 47 others who were injured."

He added: "The bodies were shattered by the missile, which was intended to kill as many people as possible. It was daylight. It was clear to anybody that the market was crowded, and there are no military or strategic facilities in this area."

The explosion hit the Nassar market, an area of bare concrete stalls, row on row, that serve as the main shopping center for the sprawling Shula district. A small crater, about 18 inches to 2 feet deep and about 4 to 5 feet across, was visible in the dark, about 10 feet from the first row of stalls, where they face onto open ground looking to the south. The crater was far smaller than those made by many of the American bombs and missiles in the last week. Some of these, hitting homes and buildings in Baghdad, have left craters as much as 30 to 40 feet deep.

At the marketplace, fragments from the blast killed people up to 80 yards away, including three brothers from a single family in a home beside the market and two traders putting up their shutters for the night at shops just down the road.

For Iraqis, the fact that the disaster struck at Shula was filled with ironies. Dating from the 1960's, the district began as a shantytown for migrants coming north to Baghdad from cities like Kut and Nasiriya, in the poverty-stricken area of southern Iraq between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, known as Mesopotamia in the ancient world, where American troops have been hung up in the fighting of the past week.

Almost all of Shula's resident are Shiites, the majority group in Iraq, but mostly poor and mostly deeply alienated from Mr. Hussein's government, which is dominated by the Sunni Muslim minority. American planning for the war assumed strong support from Iraqi Shiites, who have been particular victims of the repression of the last 30 years of Baath Party rule.
The War in Iraq Turns Ugly. That's What Wars Do.
Visions of cheering throngs welcoming them as liberators have vanished in the wake of a bloody engagement whose full casualties are still unknown. Snippets of news from Nasiriya give us a picture of chaotic guerrilla warfare, replete with hit-and-run ambushes, dead civilians, friendly fire casualties from firefights begun in the dead of night and a puzzling number of marines who are still unaccounted for. And long experience tells us that this sort of combat brings with it a "downstream" payback of animosity and revenge.

Other reports corroborate the direction that the war, as well as its aftermath, promises to take: Iraqi militiamen, in civilian clothes, firing weapons and disappearing inside the anonymity of the local populace. So-called civilians riding in buses to move toward contact. Enemy combatants mixing among women and children. Children firing weapons. Families threatened with death if a soldier does not fight. A wounded American soldier commenting, "If they're dressed as civilians, you don't know who is the enemy anymore."

These actions, while reprehensible, are nothing more than classic guerrilla warfare, no different in fact or in moral degree from what our troops faced in difficult areas of Vietnam. In the Fifth Marine Regiment area of operations outside Da Nang, we routinely faced enemy soldiers dressed in civilian clothes and even as women. Their normal routes of ingress and egress were through villages, and we fought daily in populated areas. On one occasion a smiling, waving girl — no more than 7 years old — lured a squad from my platoon into a vicious North Vietnamese crossfire. And if a Vietcong soldier surrendered, it was essential to remove his family members from their village by nightfall, or they might be killed for the sake of discipline.

The moral and tactical confusion that surrounds this type of warfare is enormous. It is also one reason that the Marine Corps took such heavy casualties in Vietnam, losing five times as many killed as in World War I, three times as many as in Korea and more total casualties than in World War II. Guerrilla resistance has already proved deadly in the Iraq war, and far more effective than the set-piece battles that thus far have taken place closer to Baghdad. A majority of American casualties at this point have been the result of guerrilla actions against Marine and Army forces in and around Nasiriya. As this form of warfare has unfolded, the real surprise is why anyone should have been surprised at all. But people have been, among them many who planned the war, many who are fighting it and a large percentage of the general population.

Why? Partly because of Iraq's poor performance in the 1991 gulf war, which caused many to underestimate Iraqi willingness to fight, while overlooking the distinction between retreating from conquered territory and defending one's native soil. And partly because protection of civilians has become such an important part of military training. But mostly, because the notion of fierce resistance cut against the grain of how this war was justified to the American people.
Wntipcfg.exe: Windows NT IPConfig Utility
This GUI tool gives you information about your IP configuration.
Do you support both Windows 9x and Windows XP on your network? If so,
you know that each OS offers a utility that quickly retrieves diagnostic
information about your system's TCP/IP network configuration.

Win9x offers a GUI IP configuration utility called Winipcfg, from which
you can perform a number of IP-related operations. However, XP's IPConfig
utility is a command-line tool, so you have to type a separate command
for each IP operation that you want to perform.

XP also ships with a GUI status display that allows you to view and
repair TCP/IP connectivity. This is located in the Support tab of the Local
Area Connection dialog box.

If you're looking for a separate GUI-based IP configuration utility for
XP, check out Wntipcfg.exe. This utility, originally created for the
Windows NT 4 Resource Kit and also packaged in the Windows 2000 Resource Kit,
works just fine in XP. Wntipcfg.exe is sufficient in most circumstances,
but you may still need to use IPConfig for intricate troubleshooting

(From Windows XP Tips at Thu, Mar 27th, 2003)

Friday, March 28, 2003

Bizarre Street Episode Claims a Young Palestinian Life
Israeli troops are a common sight on Palestinian streets, and though George Saadeh felt it prudent to slow down, he sensed no imminent danger on Tuesday as he drove his family past two army jeeps parked on the side of a quiet road near his home.

He had no way of knowing his timing was so bad it seemed to defy the laws of probability. Moments earlier, Israeli troops were involved in a shootout that killed three Palestinian men traveling in a beige Peugeot 305 sedan, including two members the militant group Hamas, Palestinians said.

The Hamas men, Nader Jarawish, 35, and Ala Ayad, 24, were wanted by Israel. In many similar army operations, soldiers have acted after receiving intelligence about the car a suspect is using, although Capt. Jacob Dallal, an army spokesman, said he did not know if this had been the case in Tuesday's shooting.

Mr. Saadeh, his wife and two daughters were also in a beige Peugeot 305 sedan, and as they headed to a supermarket on a blustery, rain-soaked night, the soldiers apparently thought the car presented a threat. The troops cut loose with automatic weapons fire, putting at least 30 bullets into the car, killing 12-year-old Christine Saadeh and wounding the three other family members.

"We were stunned. We couldn't believe they were shooting at us," said Mr. Saadeh, a 41-year-old school principal, who was recovering today at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem with gunshot wounds to the abdomen and back. "I screamed that we were civilians. I looked behind me, and I saw Christine had fallen to the floor."

Mrs. Saadeh's wife Najwa suffered minor scratches, and their 15-year-old daughter Marian was hit in the knee.

Captain Dallal said the first Palestinian car fired on the soldiers, prompting the troops to shoot back. Mr. Saadeh's family then drove into a gun battle and they were hit unintentionally, he added. "We do everything to avoid having a firefight in the center of a city, but we came under attack," Captain Dallal said.

However, Palestinians often accuse the army of firing recklessly, and the Saadehs and Palestinian residents on Gamal Abdel Nasser Street, where the two cars came to a stop only 10 yards apart, offered accounts that were sharply different from the army's version.

Mr. and Mrs. Saadeh, in separate interviews, said they heard no shooting as they approached the army vehicles, and no other cars were immediately visible. The shooting erupted as the Saadehs' car passed in front of the troops, and the assault carried on as the family began turning a corner.

When the soldiers came to the Saadehs' car, they immediately realized their mistake, the couple said.

"The soldiers were shocked when they saw the girls," said Mrs. Saadeh, 34. "They told us, `We are very sorry. We didn't mean to shoot you.' They came with us to the hospital. But what does sorry mean to me, I lost my daughter?"
Tablet PCs: Ready for Prime Time PC Magazine - Print Article
Tablet computers—machines that mimic the traditional uses of pen and paper, letting you input data by touching a stylus to a screen—have been around for decades, but they've never really caught on with the public at large. The first tablet, introduced by RAND Corp. in 1964 and later marketed by Data Equipment Co. as the Grafacon, was manufactured at a cost of $18,000 and could be used only in tandem with large mainframe systems.

Though the next three decades saw portable tablets at far lower prices—some very heavily marketed—this type of device remained something of a novelty item. Its appeal was limited to insurance inspectors, health-care workers, and inventory managers. And even then, it was used sparingly.

Today, this could be changing. In November, after more than a year of hype and publicity, Microsoft introduced an operating system specifically for tablets, Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, in hopes of bringing tablet computing to a much wider audience. So far, more than a dozen hardware manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon, shipping tablets with the new OS.,3048,a=38349,00.asp

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Chicago Tribune | War from 30,00 feet
If the only thing we still have to fear is fear itself, there is more than enough to go around.

When President Roosevelt coined the phrase in his inaugural address in 1933, he used it to banish fear and steel the nation's courage in facing down the Great Depression.

Seventy years later to the month, President Bush is using fear as a weapon, not to build courage among Americans but to stampede them into endorsing a case for a war that has been built literally on a grab bag of possibilities, contingencies, ifs and maybes, of things that haven't happened but could happen, of bad guys who might hit us if we don't hit them first.

This is a created crisis. Now that the crisis is upon us, we can only hope that it passes quickly, with minimum loss of life on either side, and that our native skepticism prevents it from happening again.

Supporters of the war have presented some strong arguments--Saddam Hussein's repeated flouting of UN resolutions, or his reign of terror over the Iraqi people. But when Bush made his final case for war in his ultimatum speech to the nation Tuesday night, what came through instead was the voice of a frightened man trying to infect the nation with his fear.

In the short term, this fear is working. In times of crisis, it often does. When the president of the United States sounds the alarm, the natural instinct of Americans is to rally to his side, to assume that he knows the facts and is reacting to a real danger. The hunch that the danger is mostly imaginary is as unproven as are most of the administration's justifications for this war.

Fear has finally given Bush the popular backing for the war that had eluded him since he first began campaigning for it. Less than six months ago, barely 20 percent of Americans told pollsters that they would approve a war on Iraq without the backing of allies or the UN. Now that support is more than 70 percent, even though the UN has refused its backing and the allied support ranges from the plausible, like Britain, through the symbolic, like Iceland, to the ludicrous, like Azerbaijan or Eritrea.

Most of the rest of the world remains unconvinced, not out of affection for Hussein but out of conviction that Bush and his neoconservative advisers have manufactured an unneeded war, for reasons of their own, and are leading an America that, with its power and lack of restraint, is more dangerous to world order than Hussein ever could be.…

Most commentators, noting the macho strutting of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the president's insistence that the world is either for us or against us, have blamed the Iraq policy more on testosterone than terror, with an unhealthy dash of hyper-religious certainty mixed in. But Bush often comes across as truly frightened, convinced of threats that the rest of the world just doesn't see.

These presidential fears were on full display in his ultimatum speech.

The president claimed that Hussein has "some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." By any reckoning, this just isn't true. No one doubts that Iraq has developed chemical and biological weapons of uncertain effectiveness, as have many other nations. But effective anthrax? Not known. Smallpox? No evidence. Nuclear weapons? Certainly not now.

"The danger is clear," Bush said. "Using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iraq . . . terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in one country or another."

"Clear dangers" seldom contain so many ifs or coulds, so many varied weapons in the hands of so many unidentified terrorists intent on acting "one day . . . in one country or another." If we don't attack Hussein, the president surmised, he "might try to conduct terrorist operations."

"These attacks are not inevitable," he conceded, but "they are . . . possible. And this very fact underscores the reason we cannot live under the threat of blackmail."

A possibility is not a fact but a guess, a worst-case worry that could be applied to any cloud on the international horizon. If there is a threat of blackmail here, it is self-imposed.

If the U.S. does not attack now, "in one year or five years the power of Iraq to inflict harm on all free nations would be multiplied many times over," Bush said.

No sane analyst believes this. After 12 years of international sanctions, Iraq is weaker now than it was before the 1991 gulf war. Five years from now? Who knows? No one does, including the administration. But the thought that a Third World international pariah could multiply its strength and turn itself into a power sufficient to blackmail the most powerful nation in the history of the world is nothing but panic-mongering.

International law permits every nation to defend itself, by force if necessary. If a nation has evidence that an attack is imminent, it is legally justified in acting first, to hit before it is hit.

But no one, not even the administration, argues that an attack by Iraq is imminent. The president himself says the danger may be five years away. To strike Iraq now is to strike against a will-o'-the-wisp, not a certain danger, to hit the other guy before he even gets the gloves on. International law forbids this.

The Bush administration knows this and says the solution is not to obey the law but to change it.…,1,1593536.story?coll=chi%2Dnewsopinionperspective%2Dhed
Chicago Tribune | The perils of decapitation
Across America, and on its airwaves, the back-and-forth works like this:

First speaker, solemn in tone: The war isn't going well at all. Iraqi citizens aren't welcoming U.S. and British soldiers. Nobody expected Saddam Hussein's Fedayeen fighters to be this stubborn. And as everyone can see, the Pentagon didn't send enough troops to sustain such long supply lines or hold the ground seized.

Second speaker, dismissive in tone: The war is going great guns. U.S. forces have rocketed some 200 miles toward Baghdad. The Fedayeen are just one of several vexing but ultimately conquerable booby traps Hussein has rigged. And as everyone can see, Iraq's vulnerability to air superiority marks this cruel regime a sure loser.

Nothing should ever stop this ongoing debate among public-spirited Americans, regardless of their views. But let's all make two admissions:

- How each of us felt about this war before it began largely dictates whether we're now eagerly playing the role of the first speaker or the second. If we're honest, who among us doesn't want his or her prewar prophecy fulfilled?

This conflict is all of one week old. It's not too early to analyze the daily triumphs and travails. But leaping from instant analysis to confident judgment about battle strategy or Iraqis' reactions or the war's duration falls somewhere between premature and naive.…,1,6068155.story?coll=chi%2Dnewsopinion%2Dhed
Drilling Down Into Data Mining
Data mining—its reliability, usefulness and threat to privacy—will be a recurring theme in Congress this year as government agencies attempt to increase their authority to collect, analyze and share information. Privacy rights defenders, worried about the government's habit of dipping into the private sector's wealth of stored data, are calling on Congress to regulate the increasingly popular technology.

Lawmakers charged with overseeing information policy are examining how government agencies and private enterprises sift through vast amounts of information, extract specific data and identify patterns. While businesses have long used the technology as a marketing tool and a means of estimating spending and revenue, there is a growing interest within government to use data mining in national security initiatives.

At a hearing this week of the House panel that oversees technology and information policy, lawmakers heard the concerns of the privacy rights community, which is pressing the government to design data searches that trace information but leave it anonymous unless special permission is granted to link it to an individual.

Jeffrey Rosen, associate professor at George Washington University Law School in Washington and an editor at The New Republic, called on the lawmakers to establish oversight authority over data mining. "Law enforcement has a long history of piggy backing on grand data warehouses [like TRW]," he said, suggesting that Congress should create a special oversight court to decide when the government would be allowed to link identifying data found during a mass search to transactional data thought to be evidence of a terrorism plan.

Congress has already curbed the executive branch's race toward unregulated data mining, voting to block funds for the Pentagon's Total Information Awareness Program. But privacy advocates are concerned that the TIAP architecture—dubbed "mass dataveillance"—may be used as a model for other programs. Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Fla., who chairs the technology and information policy panel, said that the concerns over TIAP stemmed from the presumption that information would be shared between the public and private sectors.…,3959,976554,00.asp

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Reuters Raw Video
General: 'We Are Well-Prepared'

Mar. 26 - U.S. forces found 3,000 chemical suits, 200 weapons and one nerve gas antidote injector in a hospital in central Iraq, says Brigadier General Brooks.

As Ralph Peters, a retired military officer, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed article: "Some things do not change. The best way to shock and awe an enemy is still to kill him."

Take Down Saddam TV
With sandstorms blackening their TV screens, with P.O.W.'s and casualties tearing at their hearts, Americans are coming to grips with the triptych of bold transformation experiments that are now in play.

There is the president's dream of remaking the Middle East to make America safer from terrorists.

There is Dick Cheney's desire to transform America into a place that flexes its power in the face of any evil.

There is Donald Rumsfeld's transformation of the American military, changing from the old heavy ground forces to smaller, more flexible units with high-tech weapons.

When Tommy Franks and other generals fought Rummy last summer, telling him he could not invade Iraq without overwhelming force, the defense chief treated them like old Europe, acting as if they just didn't get it.

He was going to send a smaller force on a lightning-quick race to Baghdad, relying on air strikes and psychological operations — leaflets to civilians and e-mail and calls to Iraqi generals — to encourage Iraqis to revolt against Saddam.

(The Pentagon has downgraded Saddam, the way it did Osama when it just missed getting him. Now the war in Iraq is "not about one man," as General Franks put it.)

The administration was afraid that with too many Iraqis dead, we would lose the support of the world. But some generals worry that by avoiding tactics that could kill Iraqi civilians and "baby-talking" the Iraqi military, we have emboldened the enemy and endangered American troops.

As Ralph Peters, a retired military officer, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed article: "Some things do not change. The best way to shock and awe an enemy is still to kill him."
Can You Get to Palestine From Here?
Now a new war is under way, just a Scud-shot away from the conflict here. And right before the fighting began, Mr. Bush appeared in the White House Rose Garden to announce that he was "personally committed" to a diplomatic "road map" toward peace and a Palestinian state in just three years.

This time, the analysts and political leaders say, he really means it.

The reasoning is that President Bush cannot hope to stabilize the region, much less democratize Arab states, so long as the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians endures as a propaganda tool for the likes of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. After the war with Iraq, Arab leaders will demand that President Bush "prove what he can do for peace," Dennis Ross, the former Clinton administration negotiator, wrote last week in The Wall Street Journal.

Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, trying to shore up his political base, desperately sought President Bush's new commitment, and trumpeted it when it came, even as he acknowledged that some might doubt American resolve. "The U.S. is now committed — and, I believe, genuinely — to the road map for peace," he told the House of Commons last week.

The road map is a seven-page document drafted by the so-called Quartet — the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan — on Dec. 20 of last year. It calls for dramatic action by both sides to produce a Palestinian state with provisional borders as early as this year. That would be followed in 2005 by a resolution of the underlying disputes, an acceptance of Israel by Arab nations and a sovereign Palestinian state.

Particularly given the international auspices of the peace plan, Mr. Blair finds the logic for determined engagement compelling. "I do not believe there is any other issue with the same power to reunite the world community than progress on the issues of Israel and Palestine," he said.

But there is a flaw in all this analysis: The Bush administration has never accepted it. It has never regarded peace between Israelis and Palestinians as a goal as central to American interests as, say, getting rid of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has repeatedly rejected any notion that the administration is not fully committed to pushing ahead. But since Sept. 11, 2001, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has rarely been more than a nagging subtext of the Bush administration's declared war on terrorism. The administration has resolutely resisted making it the text, and linking the resolution of this conflict to its wider war. That is partly because connecting the two could be seen as an admission that American policy on the issue is a legitimate source of Arab anger at the United States.

The administration clearly recognizes there is a problem here, and it may truly want to help. But with rebuilding Iraq, confronting North Korea and addressing the American economy already on its agenda, this conflict may never rise to the level of a top priority, certainly not enough of one to justify the political risks involved in dragging the antagonists along the route outlined by the road map — particularly during the coming presidential election year.

It would be much easier, some experts say, for the White House simply to create the impression that it is trying.

It is striking how little stock the adversaries here, along with the administration's Quartet partners, are putting in Mr. Bush's new commitment. "Who is he kidding?" asked Dr. Ali B. Jarbawi, a political scientist at Bir Zeit University in Ramallah. "We know he is not going to enforce it."

They recall the mission of Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, the administration's special envoy, around the time of the Afghan war. Mr. Powell said that General Zinni would stay in the region "for as long as it takes." But the violence continued, and about a year ago, the general vanished.

For Palestinians and Israelis the acid test is what Mr. Bush meant when he said, in referring to the road map, that "we will expect and welcome contributions from Israel and the Palestinians to this document that will advance true peace."

The State Department has told its Quartet allies that Mr. Bush was not referring to changes to the substance of the plan, but only to debate over how it should be carried out. But when it comes to Middle East peace, implementation is substance.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

War Is Not Peace, Mr. President

Ignorance Is not Strength, Mr. Ashcroft

Slavery Is Not Freedom, Mr. Bin Laden

News: Reuters to stream video of Iraq conflict
News agency Reuters has unveiled a streaming video service on its Web site that will offer footage of the impending conflict with Iraq, in an effort to reach news-hungry viewers at work.

Called Reuters Raw Video, the free service will stream unnarrated footage of the U.S. military campaign in Iraq, which is widely expected to begin within the next few days. Footage will be streamed 24 hours a day on, and the service will include other breaking news such as news conferences and government briefings. Reuters will also make the service available to users of its proprietary service.

The launch, announced Wednesday, comes as news sites gear up for what seems to be an inevitable invasion of Iraq, and with people increasingly turning to the Web for breaking news during work hours.

Reuters isn't the only news service launching around-the-clock coverage on its Web site. Last week, launched a subscription video service called "ABC News Live" in a bid to offer news broadcasts to people at work without access to a TV set.

For Reuters, the Wednesday launch comes amid an ongoing push to rekindle its Web strategy. Last fall, the company relaunched in an attempt to attract investors who are not subscribers to its proprietary terminals.

Israel has ranked poorly in a press-freedoms index created by advocacy group Reporters Without Borders, ranking below the Palestinian National Authority, Zambia and Cambodia.

News: Israel warns Web sites on war coverage
Israel's top government censor has warned Web sites in her country not to publish sensitive information about the war with Iraq.

Chief Censor Rachel Dolev sent a letter on Wednesday to "scoop" news sites, instructing editors to seek government permission before publishing information about "materials that could pose a threat to the security of the State of Israel and its residents."

Dolev said editors must contact official censors in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem before posting information online. "In addition, censors will be working 24 hours a day in the two media centers--in the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, and in the David Intercontinental in Tel Aviv--and you may also turn to them," the letter said.

Boaz Guttman, an Israeli attorney, said that the Web sites targeted are widely read.

"Israelis around the globe are connected to this forum," Guttman said. "In such a crazy country, the news appears quicker (in such forums) than in the official media. So you can get videos, pictures, a long time before they will be published on regular TV or radio."

Monday, March 24, 2003

Annan Seeks Urgent Steps to Get Water to Basra
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on Monday for urgent measures to help the people of Basra in southern Iraq obtain adequate water supplies amid heavy fighting between U.S. and British forces and Iraqi defenders.

``I have heard a report from the (International) Red Cross that the people in Basra may be facing a humanitarian disaster in that they have no water and they have no electricity,'' Annan told reporters at U.N. headquarters.

Basra's main Wafa al-Qaed water treatment plant on the northern edge of the city has been out of action due to a power outage since Friday and although other plants are able to supply some 40 percent of usual needs, the quality of the water is poor, the International Committee of the Red Cross said in Geneva.

``This is an emergency situation. We need to restore the full supply,'' Red Cross spokeswoman Nada Doumani said. She said she did not know the reason for the power cut.

Adequate drinking water is vital for the local population because day time temperatures in Basra, Iraq's second largest city, can soar toward 104 degrees Fahrenheit, she said. Basra has a population of about 2 million.
War Is Personal
Yesterday we were issued several shocking reminders direct from the battlefield that wars are actually fought on a plane that is excruciatingly, devastatingly personal. As a sergeant who was shot in the back in Vietnam once told me, "There was nothing in the whole world except me and that pain."

In this new era of televised warfare, the Arab satellite station Al Jazeera showed gruesome footage yesterday of several Americans who had been killed and five who were being held as prisoners of war. If you were looking for a reason not to ever make light of warfare, this would be a good one. The prisoners were questioned on camera, and when one was asked why he was in Iraq, he replied, "Because I was told to come here."

However one feels about the pros or cons of this war, this development was heartbreaking. An undisclosed number of American troops in the region saw the footage, and some wept.

Earlier in the day came word that an American soldier in Kuwait had attacked his fellow soldiers with hand grenades. One was killed and several were wounded. The attacker, a sergeant, reportedly is a Muslim who resented the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

"Everybody's a bit jumpy, edgy," said Capt. James McGahey. "You never want to have to think whether you can trust the guy to your left or your right."

Madness is the rule in warfare. When we send our young men and women off to combat we send them into a zone of madness, and they are never the same when they return, whether they are physically injured or not. At the height of the conflict in Vietnam I was assigned to an Army engineer battalion in Korea. I was always happy, like everyone else, to get mail from home. But every now and then I'd get a letter with news that a friend had been killed in Vietnam.

Like those being killed now in Iraq, my friends had been caught in a zone of madness and hadn't survived. This sudden loss of real, live, breathing, loving human beings is not given nearly enough thought when we consider going to war.

I think the extraordinary televised coverage of the war with Iraq is a good thing. It looks less like a video game these days, and more like the real hell of combat. I don't see how any sane person could watch the astonishing bombardment of Baghdad, and follow the reports on the ground of one human tragedy after another, and remain cavalier about sending troops into harm's way.
Iraq Broadcasts Images of Prisoners — U.S. Assails Ruses
Over all, the Iraqi tactics, while showing little coherent military organization, appeared to expose a potential weakness in the dash the American forces were making to Baghdad.

By skipping over cities, American forces appeared to have left their flanks and rear areas exposed to counterattacks by "martyrs of Saddam," irregulars under the command of Republican Guard officers dispatched by Baghdad to galvanize resistance and slow the advance of the American forces.

Military officials tonight played down the significance of these tactics, while lamenting their cost.

"Eight times [Mr. Bush] interchanged the war on Iraq with the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001," wrote The New York Observer, "and eight times he was unchallenged." The unproven but constantly reiterated White House claim of a Qaeda-Saddam Hussein connection has now become a settled fact, not to be questioned at a press conference…

They Both Reached for the Gun
TO see why "Chicago" became the movie of the year in a year when America sleepwalked into war, you do not have to believe it is the best picture of 2002 (mine would be Almodóvar's "Talk to Her"). Nor must you believe that musical comedy is making a comeback in Hollywood (it's barely holding its own on Broadway, where even "Hairspray" has empty seats). All you have to do is watch a single scene.

That scene is a press conference in 1920's Chicago. A star defense attorney, Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), wants to browbeat a mob of reporters into believing that his client, Roxie Hart (Renée Zellweger), did not murder her lover when in fact she did. "Now remember," Billy coaches Roxie, "we can only sell them one idea at a time." The idea: Roxie acted in self-defense. "We both reached for the gun," Roxie sings to the reporters, who obediently turn her lie into a rousing chorus, repeating it over and over in a production number that portrays them as marionettes, bowing and scraping to the tug of Billy's strings and spin.

For history's sake, this spectacle should be paired on the DVD with George W. Bush's fateful White House press conference of March 6, 2003. This was the president's first prime-time faceoff with reporters since a month after 9/11 and certain to be his last in what remained of peacetime. The former Andover cheerleader had failed to convince America's friends to come aboard. The economy was tanking. But the journalists at hand were so limply deferential to the president's boilerplate script that the subsequent, good-natured "Saturday Night Live" parody couldn't match the gallows humor of the actual event.

One reporter, April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks, asked, "Mr. President, as the nation is at odds over war, how is your faith guiding you?" — a God-given cue for Mr. Bush to once more cloak his moral arrogance in the verbal vestments of humble religiosity. "My faith sustains me because I pray daily," came the president's reply. "I pray for peace, April, I pray for peace." Far be it from Ms. Ryan to ask a follow-up question about why virtually every religious denomination in the country, including Mr. Bush's own, opposes the war. She might as well have been Mary Sunshine (Christine Baranski), the sob sister reporter in "Chicago," who tosses Roxie an image-burnishing softball at her press conference by asking, "Do you have any advice for young girls seeking to avoid a life of jazz and drink?"

At Mr. Bush's sedated show there were no raised voices, not a single query about homeland security or Osama bin Laden. As Billy Flynn says, one idea at a time is enough for the journalistic pack — in this case the administration's idée fixe of Iraq. And like their "Chicago" counterparts, the Washington press corps were more than willing to buy fictions if instructed to do so by the puppeteer. "Eight times [Mr. Bush] interchanged the war on Iraq with the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001," wrote The New York Observer, "and eight times he was unchallenged." The unproven but constantly reiterated White House claim of a Qaeda-Saddam Hussein connection has now become a settled fact, not to be questioned at a press conference any more than any "Chicago" reporter challenges the mythical pregnancy Billy Flynn flogs in his propaganda campaign to save Roxie Hart.

The movie's press conference ends with Billy Flynn's message spreading from the servile reporters' lips directly to the next morning's paper: "THEY BOTH REACHED FOR THE GUN" is the banner headline we see rolling off the press. At Mr. Bush's press conference, under the guise of "news," CNN flashed the White House's chosen messages in repetitive rotation on the bottom of the screen while the event was still going on — "People of good will are hoping for peace" and " `My job is to protect America.' " No less obliging were the puppets at CNN's rival, Fox News, whose Greta Van Susteren sharply observed: "What I liked tonight was that in prime time he said to the American people, my job is to protect the American people." Though Mr. Bush usually appears on TV in front of White House backdrops stamped with the sound bite he wants to pummel into our brains, this time he didn't even have to bother. As he knew — and said, in his one moment of truth that night — the entire show was "scripted." It has been from the start.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

You Think DNA Evidence Is Foolproof? Try Again
DNA testing, when properly conducted and interpreted, can provide categorical proof of guilt or innocence. Its role in the exoneration of more than 120 people has captured the public imagination. But this uniquely authoritative tool can also play a role in wrongful convictions.

"It is powerful evidence both to convict and to exonerate," said Peter Neufeld, a founder of the Innocence Project at Cardozo Law School, a program that works to free innocent people in prison. "It's kind of a truth machine. But any machine when it gets in the hands of human beings can be manipulated or abused."
How to Win Friends and Influence Small Countries
Even the most committed pacifist might feel a twinge of empathy for the United States, Britain and Spain — sponsors of a deadline-setting, war-launching and now apparently moot resolution on Iraq, submitted to the United Nations Security Council three weeks ago. It's one thing, after all, to be stonewalled by France, which promised a veto, or by Germany, which, while lacking veto status, has long opposed the American war posture. Russia threatened a veto as well, but at least Russia, like France and Germany, is sort of . . . big.

But Cameroon? Almost from the start, it was among the Security Council's fence-riders — Guinea, Chile, Angola, Mexico and Pakistan, as well as Cameroon — upon whom anything resembling United Nations backing for war in Iraq rested. Nine of the council's 15 members must approve a resolution for passage, although a veto by any of the five permanent members would nix it. But nine supporting votes, or even a simple majority of eight, the administration seemed to reason, might still look like a mandate, veto or not.

So began a diplomatic opera of odd courtships, arm-twisting, compromises and back-room deal-making that thrust a few of the world's bit players, all short-timers on the council, into starring roles.

Not that anything was asked of, offered to or taken away from them. "The president is not offering quid pro quos," the White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer, told reporters after the resolution was submitted. He was asked if deals were on the table. "You're saying that the leaders of other nations are buyable," he said, "and that is not an acceptable proposition."

Yet the six nations in limbo were surely mindful that in 1990, minutes after joining Cuba in rejecting the resolution authorizing force against Iraq, Yemen was told by an American diplomat that it would be "the most expensive `no' vote" it had ever cast. Soon after, the United States cut off Yemen's $70 million aid package.

At a press briefing on Wednesday, the State Department spokesman, Richard A. Boucher, responded to questions about the give-and-take this time around. "We have relationships with these places, we have aid programs with these places, we have high-level discussions and visits with these countries," he said. "The fact that those things go on is not a surprise to anyone."

Those broader relationships run the gamut, from the minor patronage afforded Guinea and Cameroon, to a pending trade pact with Chile, to the close economic and social ties linking Mexico and the United States. Mexico, for example, has long sought more favorable immigration deals with the United States.

"I don't expect for there to be significant retribution from the government," President Bush told reporters two weeks ago, when asked if a Mexican "no" vote would strain relations. "I expect Mexico to be with us."

Hispanic Democrats in Congress called this a threat. The White House denounced their charge as partisan.

In any case, none of the levers appear to have worked, if applied at all. At week's end, Bulgaria remained the only other Security Council member supporting the three-week-old resolution…
News: Technology providing war insights
As the first missiles fell on Iraq Wednesday night, technology helped people sort out their emotions about the conflict, extend a lifeline to loved ones, and mount protests.

Military families revealed their darkest fears in blogs, Iraqis documented life in Baghdad on the Web, and antiwar activists exchanged frantic e-mails, urging people to shut down city intersections and, by all means, bring their digital cameras to document it.

Advances in technology are giving people immediate insight into war-related events--and people's feelings about them--more than ever before. No medium is doing it faster than the blog.
Microsoft Warns of New Windows Flaw
Microsoft Corp. has released a patch for a critical vulnerability in every version of Windows from 98 forward.

The flaw lies in the Windows Script Engine for Jscript, which enables the operating system to execute script code. The engine incorrectly processes the script and does not correctly size a buffer during a memory operation. As a result, an attacker could cause a buffer overflow and execute code of his choice on a vulnerable machine.

The patch for this vulnerability is available here.,3959,941455,00.asp
Counterpane: Crypto-Gram: March 15, 2003
Crypto-Gram Reprints
Crypto-Gram is currently in its sixth year of publication. Back issues cover a variety of security-related topics, and can all be found on . These are a selection of articles that appeared in this calendar month in other years.
SecurityFocus Article: Securing Microsoft Services Jul 6

Improve IIS server security by understanding Windows 2000 services startup modes.

Friday, March 21, 2003

News: Diverse groups oppose Bush security plan
A broad coalition of nearly 70 groups is attempting to block a Bush administration proposal that would grant police more surveillance authority and sweeping powers to target computer crime and terrorist activities.

In a letter sent to Congress on Monday, the coalition urges politicians to oppose draft legislation prepared by the U.S. Justice Department and called the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (DSEA). Critics have dubbed it the USA Patriot Act II, a reference to the 2001 law expanding eavesdropping powers that Congress speedily enacted soon after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The coalition includes groups as varied as the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Conservative Union, the Gun Owners of America, the American Baptist Churches, the U.S. Presbyterian Church and the Mennonite Central Committee. Immigrant-rights groups, librarians and civil rights groups also signed the letter.

"The draft bill contains a multitude of new and sweeping law enforcement and intelligence-gathering powers, many of which are not related to terrorism, that would severely dilute, if not undermine, many basic constitutional rights, as well as disturb our unique system of checks and balances," the letter says. "If adopted, the bill would diminish personal privacy by removing important checks on government surveillance authority."

DSEA would, if enacted, create a new federal felony of willfully using encryption during the commission of a felony, punishable by "no more than five years" in prison plus a hefty fine.

It also would let the FBI and state police monitor--without a court order for up to 48 hours--what Web sites a suspect visits, what that person searches for with Google or on other sites and the people with whom he or she communicates via e-mail. Those relaxed eavesdropping standards would apply to Americans suspected of what would become a new offense of "activities threatening the national security interest."
American Civil Liberties Union : Sign-on Letter to Congress Urging Opposition to the Draft Domestic Security Enhancement Act (PATRIOT II)
Sign-on Letter to Congress Urging Opposition to the Draft Domestic Security Enhancement Act (PATRIOT II)
How to Watch the War
Reacting quickly to intelligence that Iraqi leaders were holed up in a bunker, American ships fired nearly 40 cruise missiles from the Persian Gulf and Red Sea, and stealth fighters dropped bombs on the compound shortly after. It was a breathtaking example of coordination and precision. Yet its success remains uncertain, both in terms of how many weapons hit their target and who, if anyone, was killed. The uncertainty underscores how difficult it is to judge the progress of a military campaign in the heat of the action. How will the American public be able to evaluate what it sees and hears as the campaign unfolds?

Although the 1991 gulf war was a real military victory, exaggeration and television portrayals left a misleading impression of the effectiveness of high-tech weapons. This time around it will not be any easier to judge success quickly. Still, there are some benchmarks that can be used to measure how well the campaign progresses.
ExtremeTech - Print Article
It's ExtremeTech's own version of March Madness! Our very own tip extravaganza. Every day next week, from March 17th to 21st, we're rolling out a new list of our top tips. We're covering everything from Windows and Unix to gaming, hardware and networking.,3998,a=38849,00.asp
Putting Old Printers Out to Pasture
This got me wondering how many other older but still useful printers were being put out to pasture by manufacturers and, to a certain extent, by Windows XP. Older laser printers have turned out to be hearty beasts. Consumers often upgrade to newer, faster computer systems and the latest OSes, but printers that still function have staying power. All they need, typically, is driver updates and replacement consumables.

Data collected by the market research company IDC shows that the majority of laser printers have a three- to five-year lifespan, but there's evidence that people hang on to the printers beyond that point. Says one IDC analyst, "We think it's a little longer than that. There's still a pretty decent percentage who keep their laser printers from five to eight years."

I decided to do a little informal Web survey on various manufacturers' support for old products. I started with Epson and decided to push the legacy envelope. Epson's driver and downloads site listed my 10-year-old Action Laser 1500 (which I threw out just this year when it blew a part for which there was no readily available replacement). But when I got to the actual page, there was no driver—just a bunch of PDFs on use and support. Of course, one can probably forgive Epson for not supporting a decade-old product, even if I was able to use the printer right up through Windows 98 SE.

Scanning other manufacturers' driver support areas, I found that most companies—Brother, HP, Okidata, and the like—were relying on Windows XP's universal driver (unidriver) to support their older printers. Many printer makers worked with Microsoft to deliver printer profiles that could plug into the unidriver and provide support for units like those in the eight-year-old HP LaserJet 5 series. Installing the unidriver profile for a given printer is pretty easy. The OS recognizes Plug-and-Play units and guides you through the installation. Unfortunately, the presence of a universal driver in Windows XP does not equate to universal support for older printers. Windows XP supports the popular Canon BJC 4200, for example, but not the BJC 5000 or 5100.,4149,932685,00.asp

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Applications: Don't Be Afraid, Be Informed
Take a look at this CyberAtlas compilation of articles focusing on digital attacks, cyberterrorism, hacking, viruses and worms, fraud, identity theft, software piracy, and other threats to technological security.,,1301_2110851,00.html
Wired News: Laughs Key to Terror Survival Kit
If satire posed a risk to national security, online spoofs of a new government duck-and-cover website might have the United States on extreme threat level red.

The government site is intended to help prepare civilians for the terrorist blowback that may come when the United States invades Iraq. The site, developed in February by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the Homeland Security Department, is filled with illustrated guides for surviving the seemingly unsurvivable.

But political satirists on the Web are doing the most thorough send-ups of the government site. High school student Adam Hallett is replacing captions for's hokey illustrations with some of his own at The U.S. Department of Laughs.

"A 1-inch-thick piece of plywood should be sufficient protection against radiation," reads an alternative caption to one illustration depicting a barrier against a radioactive source. Hallett claims to have received 150,000 hits at his site since he launched it this week.

Online parodists say they're prompted by the weakness of the government's counsel to a frightened country.

"I was totally amazed that ( was supposed to make us feel better," said Ryan Gialames, a recent graduate of the California University of Pennsylvania who hosts Gialames is shooting for something more Swiftian than the Michael Jackson jokes he's seen at other sites. In a section of TerrorReady titled "What to do with Duct Tape and Plastic Sheets," Gialames advises using the materials to roll up dead relatives and to store their bodies in the basement "until authorities can pick them up."

Gialames' site has had 82,000 hits since he launched it on Feb. 22. He credits weblogs and a mention at the AdBusters site for getting the word out.,1284,58126,00.html

But is it legitimate to assume that better information will produce better decisions, or that an improved technological infrastructure for public participation in decision making will actually enhance public participation?

Colloquium on Advanced Technology, Low-Income Communities and the City
Increased access to advanced technology may help low- income populations compete in the labor market for high- end positions in an economy increasingly polarized between high- wage knowledge- workers and low- wage proles. For example, familiarization with computers may help low- income youth to acquire the skills they need for entry into the workforce, and digital communications technologies may enhance their knowledge of and access to entry- level employment. Furthermore, such computational tools as Geographic Information Systems can be used to monitor, represent, and analyze the economic effects on low- income populations, distributed throughout metropolitan areas, of policies and programs designed to increase their access to advanced technology.

On the other hand, it is crucial to ask whether low- income people are cut off from jobs primarily because they lack access to them through transportation or information? Or is it rather than there are just not enough jobs (or non- temporary, non- dead- end jobs) to go around? If so, would access to advanced technology provide greater access to employment?

And when low- income people do succeed in bootstrapping themselves out of poverty (off welfare, to take one prominent example), do they tend to move away from the places in which they have been poor? If so, is the pattern one of selectively "skiving off" the topmost layers of competence and leadership - - as has been claimed about the effects of Great Society programs? Are the more energetic and effective people peeling off and going elsewhere, leaving the remainder weaker, as W.J. Wilson has argued?

On the other hand, it is crucial to ask whether low- income people are cut off from jobs primarily because they lack access to them through transportation or information? Or is it rather than there are just not enough jobs (or non- temporary, non- dead- end jobs) to go around? If so, would access to advanced technology provide greater access to employment?

Low- income urban populations are critically affected by the public services provided and the regulatory activities carried out by urban bureaucracies, such as those associated with land use and maintenance, transportation, police, fire, public safety, health, welfare, mental health, services to children, education, recreation. Low- income populations are also critically affected by the human services made available by local non- profit organizations - - for example, services to the elderly, shelters for the homeless, and services to children and youth.

Computer networks could create new forms of dialogue between public and non- profit bureaucracies and their beneficiaries. Computer- based networks could be a medium through which people at large could contact public bureaucracies serving them, in order to make their interests and views known. Such networks might also enable local organizations - - for example, the Mission Hill Coalition for a Healthy Start, or Mission Pride, in the Mission Hill area of Boston - - to keep in touch with people who might be interested in the agency's doings but unable to attend its meetings. Computer- based networks, coupled with the computer's ability to store, represent, and analyze data, could become the basis for the delivery of more individualized and responsive provision of services to low- income clients.

Even more fundamentally, digital communications technology coupled with decision support systems may be used to create new forms of citizenship, enhancing democratic debate and decision making, fostering a more active and collaborative involvement of people - - especially low- income people - - in making public policy.

But is it legitimate to assume that better information will produce better decisions, or that an improved technological infrastructure for public participation in decision making will actually enhance public participation?
con·cept: March 2003