March 31st, 2003


I *thought* this was likely...

Lately, I have been noticing that I've been more depressed. Fortunately, I have been able to snap out of it, but I know that some of that must come from the war... so I checked to see whether this could be a bigger issue.

Apparently, it is. An article in The Australian indicates that it is a real issue.

"This war has made a lot of youth angry ... It has made a lot of people challenge things which they thought were basic, like Australia was a good guy, Australians were never aggressors in war, that we were a humanitarian country."

This is hardly a problem restricted just to Australia -- it is a global issue. There are over 30,000 suicides a year in the US alone, so it is entirely possible that the war could contribute to that number significantly. People will, in effect, be dying for the war on the homefront.

I did find one statistic that was interesting -- the suicide rate went up 14.4% during the Vietnam War era. That era, incidentally, had the highest recorded rate of suicides in US history. If you assume 30,000 suicides a year in the US, and if the war lasted three months and increased the suicide rate similarly, this would mean that the war caused an additional 1050 suicides.

Of course, those figures could be way too high -- there were other reasons why the suicide rate increased during the Vietnam War. However, we know that there is a direct link between post traumatic stress disorder and suicides. We've seen this in Vietnam, The Falklands, etc. In short, suicides are a significant, if underreported, additional cost to the war.

Of course, the feelings of anger, pain, and powerlessness are even greater in the Arab world. Do we really want a bunch of potentially suicidal Arabs right now?

States, in the interest of "security", proposing bills that would outlaw internet privacy.

Very disturbing article about how the a whole slew of states are trying to pass legislation that would criminalize anonymity on the Internet.

This legislation says things such as the following:

"A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly manufactures, assembles, imports into the state, exports out of the state, distributes, advertises, sells, or leases, or offers for sale or lease a communication device with an intent to conceal from a communication service
provider, or from any lawful authority, the existence or place of origin or destination of any communication, or plans or instructions for assembling or manufacturing a communication device or unauthorized access device, with the knowledge that another person intends to use the plans or instructions for an unlawful purpose."

In other words, not only is encryption potentially criminal, so are firewalls.

Legislation in this vein is being proposed in the following states:

You've heard much of it here before, but...

Reporters Sans Frontieres released the following:

Coalition accused of showing "contempt" for journalists covering war in Iraq.

It mentions some new details on that case where the four reporters were detained and two were beaten. As I suspected, all four of them were carrying press cards. Why would any US serviceman beat a card-carrying member of the press?! Clearly, there is an unspoken law amongst the soldiers that the independent press are the enemy.

It also briefly mentions a disconcerting episode I wish I had more details on -- an Al Jazeera crew came under fire from British tanks on March 28th as they were filming food distribution by the Iraqi authorities in Basra.

So, are the British trying to hide the fact that they are attempting to starve a city of over a million people into capitulation? Apparently so... how else will they get them to dance in the streets when they finally arrive with food?!