Reason of Voice
Friday, April 11, 2003
Is it time yet to talk more about this war in Iraq, and perhaps what this quick result has meant? Well, first of all, we should remember the reasons listed for military action in the first place, and see if the results of this war shed light on those reasonings.
One of the most compelling reasons for going to war was the threat that Saddam Hussein posed to the United States and the world. This was a man intent upon increasing his military might and extending his reach in the area. Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa argues today that such a quick result proves that Saddam was a military eunich all the time. "a paper tiger", Harkin refers to Saddam. But, I think that the administration worried more about the power Hussein might accumulate were he to continue unchecked. Here, promises of Saddam's stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), plus his professed desire for nuclear material became the overriding call........preemptive defense. Still, I wait with baited breath to see the large stockpiles of WMD promised by the White House. While I'm not so cynical to think that the CIA has already planned on trucking in Sarin and Mustard gas should those barrels not be found, I also openly wonder why these weapons were not used once by the Iraqi military, considering how quickly they succumbed. Seems obvious to me that these weapons, if available, would have been the only chance for the Iraqis to slow, if not stop, the coalition juggernaut.
I'm not totally distressed by the looting to be seen in the streets of Baghdad. While an unhappy occurence, it doesn't strike me as unusual to see those young people, oppressed by a dictatorship all of their lives, taking advantage of their first taste of freedom ----- even if that manifests itself in a criminal way. I can almost make an analogy to a man being finally cleared to enjoy liquor again after many years of health restrictions.............one doubts he would settle for a small sip of a beer, more likely enjoying a few stiff scotches. Responsibility is an acquired characteristic of Democratic nations, and not to be expected in great quantities in a newly free Iraq. But I have no doubts they'll get there.
Thursday, April 10, 2003
Of course, the entry of every blog today will be about the abrupt and welcome fall of Baghdad as well it should, but more importantly, the sincere outpouring of the Iraqi people into the streets and the memorable felling of the Saddam statues and portraits. It is very clear that this war's military designation, 'operation Iraqi Freedom', was not merely a cynical propaganda. The Iraqis have indeed welcomed the Americans as liberators, perhaps not as bringers of Democracy, but certainly as deliverance from one of the most brutal regimes this world has ever known. We, as Americans, have reason to feel proud today.
There is, despite the euphoria, many questions to be answered about the challenges such a victory brings. But, today is not an appropriate day to ask that. No matter which side you came down on in the prosecution of this conflict, whether for or against, the images we all witnessed today from the newborn capital of Iraq should make us all feel that we have done some real good through the prosecution of American military power..............We really are the good guys.
Wednesday, April 09, 2003
Proud to be an Am-ahr-ican
I am not one to normally start screaming anti-war slogans when the shooting starts. In fact, I think I am quite like the rest of America when I look to give EVERY benefit of the doubt to the President and his administration during times of conflict. However, this ridiculous piece of tripe written by ex-military man Ralph Peters in the NYPost could turn one into a sit-in staging, Vietnam-era, Hollywood moviestar blatherer quicker than you can say, 'Peace now, Man'.
Peters, to put it mildly, quotes from very touchy sources to cull some very shaky evidence he presents as fact, like this bit:
One possible chemical weapons cache after another has fallen to advancing allied troops. While some of the sites may test negative, there are so many reported seizures that there can be no doubt that firm proof of Saddam's relentless WMD program is only a matter of time.
Well, God knows that President Bush and ALL of America would be delighted to find any kind of 'smoking gun' of chemical or biological weapons in Iraq, but truth is, absolutely nothing has been found to date. It's starting to look like very little WILL be found, too......but I'll at least hold off judgement until the country is taken and properly(?) inspected. Here's another:
Why hasn't the Holier-Than-Thou Club had anything to say about the regime's use of human shields?
Well, tell ya, if I was a soldier in the Iraqi military THE LAST thing i'd want to do is meet coalition forces out in the open, where I could be slaughtered like a pig. I'd run into the city, take cover among as many civilians as I could find and, only as a last resort, pick off the enemy as best I could from my hiding spot. To hear anyone whining about such a tactic and calling it cowardly is a little silly. I'd BET you'd like to meet 'em face-to-face - that would be easy enough. What's the casualty count now? 100 of us Vs. 10,000 of them??
And then, Mr. Peters gloats at the natural silence of dissent that patriotically results from a country at war:And Saddam's defenders, on both sides of the Atlantic, have been notably silent.
Can't remember an actual defender of Saddam, and neither can anyone else
Where are they now, the voices that cried out that sanctions and inspections were working? Where are the champions of a terrorist regime who ignored the plight of the Iraqi people, insisting they didn't want to be liberated? Why don't we hear from all those who denied any connection between Saddam's regime and terrorism?
we could debate these last few, point by point, but you get the idea.
Sheesh..............get me my tie-dye shirt and bellbottoms and dust off my old Joan Baez records..............one more column like this, and you can call me Susan Sarandon.
Tuesday, April 08, 2003
Is Franco still dead at least?
Well, it certainly seems that we've found the foreign leader who refuses to die. Oh well, this hardly seems very sporting anymore, anyway.
Good morning, Al Jezeera
In the age of precision bombing, does anyone believe that this errant missile was a mistake? More likely it was just as errant as the bomb that landed on the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during the Kosovo war.
Monday, April 07, 2003
Had enough of the War? Let's talk disease
Ok, this from the CDC on SARS.Characterized as the "beginning of a problem". No duh. Although the mortality rate for this looks fairly equivalent to more common seasonal influenza, this one seems to kill young, healthy people as easily as the old and infirm. Can this close down an economy faster than Tom "scary" Ridge can say 'orange alert'? You'd better believe it.
It's the war, Stupid
This, an absolutely NECESSARY read from David Sanger in the NYTimes. Particularily interesting is President Bush's reaction to Don Rumsfeld's comments about possible Iraqi military support from Syria and Iran. Rumsfeld warned both nations about the consequences of such support. When informed of the Secretary's comments and the possibility of a widening of the conflict because of them the President apparently looked up from his desk, replied "good" and went back to work. Message clear? Undoubtedly.
Speculation has begun that North Korea has toned down it's recent rhetoric either in response to the US message in Iraq, or as a result of Chinese pressure, just in case Kim Jong Il has spent the last few weeks of seclusion without a radio or TV....................we can only hope.
War is hell
Along with Peter Arnett's firing, the greatest single positive to come from embedment was the defrocking of Geraldo Rivera....
What a dumbass!
Who says Iraqis have no sense of humor?
this is just too good...........
Iraqi information minister Sahhaf said they have given the coalition forces in Baghdad "poison and bitterness."
"Their forces committed suicide by the hundreds. ... The battle is very fierce and God made us victorious. The fighting continues," he said. "Yesterday, we slaughtered them and we will continue to slaughter them."
Quick guess: this War is effectively over by the end of the week with nothing more than a few tedious mop-up operations left. I wonder if this quick humiliation of another Arab army will, in the end, help matters in the Middle East? That is the only question left to be answered. Is is clear that the Bush administration has correctly judged their capabilities militarily........have they judged the geopolitical results of their victory as clearly?
Sunday, April 06, 2003
How can I be in a position to argue with the eminent professor of Middle eastern studies at Harvard? Although I must say I find Professor Lewis' arguments for a lack of welcoming Iraqis in the street to be banal and overripe.
Again, the line is that the population is distrustful because of our 'abandonment' of them in gulf war I in 1991. Add that to the fact that it's probably not a good idea to celebrate the fall of a brutal, torturing dictatorship until you're SURE they're gone and there you have it.
I'm more of the belief that the people of Iraq have been more apt to worry about a decent meal and a lack of education (and perhaps overreliance on religion) lends less time to reflect on the best political structure for ones nation. More important to worry about how to replace those shoes on baby's feet which are already 2 sizes too small.
Coalition Troop Casualties, POWs
The Associated Press
Saturday, April 5, 2003; 11:48 AM
The names of troop casualties, provided by relatives or military officials. The military totals include casualties whose names may not yet be available.
U.S.: 73 dead, eight missing and seven captured. In some cases, families have released names before the military. On Friday, the Pentagon said 75 American servicemembers died, eight were missing and seven had been captured.
British: 27 dead, according to the British government
Cannot get over the small number of total casualties. For reference, remember the total lost in Vietnam: upwards of 50,000. To have seen any major military operation with total casualties not even (to date, anyway) breaking 100 is astounding. We know the Iraqis have not been as lucky.