Daily Archives: 04/09/2004

Guam’s Rising Star In The Pentagon

The PDN ran a story today about Guam’s image boost with the military. And that’s no fluke. Check out the New York Times article (sorry, password required) about Rumsfeld’s interest in developing Guam as a larger base of operations. A rotation of B-52’s was recently deployed to the island, and more development is planned. “Away for more than a decade, the B-52’s, the United States’ largest bombers, are back in Guam, part of a wide-ranging drive by the Pentagon to make this island, an American territory, a ‘power projection hub’ on the edge of Asia.”

Ten years ago people were clamoring for the military to get out of Guam, tourism was the wave of the future. Now the local government and businesses are pushing the case for more bombers, a fighter wing, and even a carrier group to be stationed here. Guess eight years of economic stagnation will send you mewling for the government teat.

The Face Of Terror

AP Photo of Japanese hostagesA new and disturbing development in Iraq. In the past week the violence escalated from ambushing and murder of four civilian security force contractors into full scale battles between US forces and Iraqi militia. And now a previously unknow group, the Mujahideen Brigade, has taken three Japanese civilians hostage in southern Iraq and demanded the immediate withdrawal of all Japanese Self-Defense Forces in Iraq, or the hostages will be killed.

On Al-Jazeera, an announcer read a statement he said came with the video declaring a three-day ultimatum for Japan to announce its withdrawal of troops.

“Three of your sons have fallen into our hands,” the announcer read. “We offer you two choices: either pull out your forces, or we will burn them alive. We give you three days starting the day this tape is broadcast.”

Let’s repeat that again, they are going to burn them alive.

The BBC’s Jonathan Head, in Tokyo, says that in safe and orderly Japan, pictures of three terrified Japanese civilians being held hostage by a group calling itself the Mujahideen Brigades are a source of nationwide anguish.

Television networks repeatedly aired dramatic video of the two aid workers Noriaki Imai, 18, and Nahoko Takato, 34, and photojournalist Soichiro Koriyama, 32. ” Armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, the kidnappers shouted “Allahu akbar” — God is great — in the video and held knives to the throats of the Japanese, who screamed and whimpered in terror.”

In a seperate incident, two Arab residents of east Jerusalem — one an Israeli citizen working for a U.S. aid group — and seven South Korean Christian missionaries were also detained Thursday, though the Koreans were released. The South Korean missionaries were stopped by armed men at a checkpoint on a highway from Amman, Jordan, to Baghdad. The eight Koreans were traveling in two cars to attend the opening of a missionary school near the northern city of Mosul, Seoul officials said.

The gunmen dragged seven of the missionaries from the vehicles and seized their passports. The eighth said she escaped when the Iraqi driver of her car drove off before she could get out.

Iraq is not on the road to demcracy, it is slipping into chaos. Pitched battles between US forces and militias, almost daily bombings of ‘soft targets’ like the UN, and now aid workers being taken hostage so they can be burned alive; it doesn’t sound like democracy to me. Sounds like the situation is rapidly escalating out of control.