On May 12 the Iraqi News Agency reported the deaths of twelve people, including two children, and 200 head of livestock near the northern city of Mosul, caused by American bombs. In a statement issued by the European Command at southern Turkey’s airport in Incirlik–where US and British warplanes are charged with the mission of excluding Iraqi aircraft from northern Iraq–it admitted only that one target hit had “a number of livestock in the area.” It ignored the loss of human life.

This was a fortnight after a peasant family of seven perished twenty-five miles north of Mosul in airstrikes by US/UK warplanes. Their misfortune was to be near an Iraqi air defense site in the countryside. How does the Pentagon view the continued death and injury to humans and animals? “We whack him [Saddam Hussein] day after day in response to his challenges, then he pulls back and sort of goes down for a period, and does nothing,” said Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon. “Then he comes back up and presents a new series of challenges, sometimes slightly different tactics.” Challenges to the world’s sole superpower by a country barely able to survive economically? Paranoia, thy name is Pentagon.