13th February 2003


On previous occasions there was room for doubt that Osama survived Tora Bora. Following the latest alleged tape, that margin of doubt has diminished.  This tape is powerful stuff.  At Tora Bora, survival was victory, and the story of survival by 300 mujahideen in open trenches in one square mile at 10 degrees below zero against smart bombs and ground forces makes compelling reading.   That story is the stuff from which legends begin.

The contention of the US government that this tape "proves" cooperation between the Saddam & Osama seems tenuous.  Let us hope that the evidence for WMD is firmer.

17th February.  After further thought about the part marked in red of Bin Laden's report, (if it is confirmed) I believe that Bush ought to hold an enquiry, and bust everyone above NCO up to JCS who was in any way responsible for the fiasco.  Those officers who recommended promotion of those negligent/cowardly/stupid officers should be requested to "show cause" as to why they should not be busted also.

There must be nothing more depressing for the soldiers at the coalface than to find that their officers are needlessly risking their lives through incompetence.  The structure of the army is one place where nepotism and favouritism must not exist.  Perhaps officers who may become responsible for strategic decisions should only be selected from the (NCO) ranks of those who have distinguished themselves in action.

Today's news is that Australian troops are to be inoculated against Anthrax.  Eleven soldiers refused to sign a disclaimer of responsibility, and were sent home.  US soldiers who refuse are court martialed.  For UK troops the inoculation is voluntary, and a large number of British soldiers have refused.  That is a very enlightened and democratic attitude by the Blair government.  My admiration goes to the bravery of those UK objectors.  While troops known to be inoculated might not tempt Saddam to use his no doubt limited supplies of Anthrax, uninoculated invaders might prove to be an irresistible target.  One hopes that any stricken warriors do not occupy critical positions on whose efficiency their colleagues are dependent. (like the pilot of a troop transport, or the operator of an anti-aircraft battery or AWAC).

One can sympathize with Bush's IRAQ dilemma.  Following his imperturbable stance, it is strategically impossible for him to not go to war without obtaining diplomatic concessions.   On the other hand, disclosure by Saddam of the existence of WMD could trigger an invasion.

Clinton did not have the backing of the UN, so he used NATO as an umbrella to attack Serbia & Kosovo.  At issue were the rights of Muslims.

France and Germany seem to be the linchpin of the failure by the UN and NATO to support the US strategy in IRAQ.   It is easy to see where France and Germany expect to benefit.  It is well known that the possibility of benefit clouds judgement.  Perhaps they should envisage the downside should the US complete a successful invasion and uncover WMD.

The proposed IRAQ strategy of street fighting in Baghdad does not seem to be efficacious against siege.  This is because modern cities do not contain large supplies of food, and if they do they are generally centralized and vulnerable to sabotage.


Missiles and motors with capacity exceeding that authorised were discovered in IRAQ today.  The French and Russians have responded "see, it is working.  There is no need for an invasion."

If it took so long to find so little, how long will it take to find the rest?
We haven't got forever.