Thursday, April 10, 2003

I've been wanting to blog recently, but haven't had the time to say all I want to say without sounding like a blithering idiot. And since at least a hundred good writers out there are voicing most of what I've been thinking, better off I just keep it simple and quote a few others.

One of the reasons I had opposed the war was I had feared we were going to bring home at least 1000 dead American soldiers. I thought Baghdad would become urban warfare hell filled with snipers and Baath Party Loyalists. I thought innocent Iraqi civilians that would be happy to be out from under the thumb of Saddam being caught in the cross fire as well. I am very pleased to say that I was dead wrong. Of course even Rummy will tell you that this isn't over, but it's hard not to feel just a little relieved that for all the things I was hearing in the media, that there were far more people that were happy to see Allied troops that I thought there would be, and the Iraqi civilians who had said that they had bought guns days before the conflict began were going to fight rather than welcome allied forces. And while the US media tends to focus way too much on the good stuff like soldiers being greeted by Iraqis with flowers and and ignore the uglier underside of things like civilian casualties, I think it's a mistake for some of the anti war activists to undermine just how powerful it was to see Iraqis batting the statue of Saddam with their shoes.

Yet another reason I was against the war was the cost, monetarily but also in lives. There are countless dead, but since hardly anyone seems to care about anyone else than US service men and women I don't think anyone who favored the war will think twice about doing this again, and that scares me. Last time I checked there were 101 dead American soldiers, at least 23 dead British troops, and countless injured. Coincidentally 101 is about the maximum quantity of seconds while watching TV that could pass without seeing another story about Private Lynch. Please don't get me wrong, I am thrilled that she is safe now and the story of how she was rescued by an Iraqi lawyer who spotted her in a hospital is amazing, but enough already. How many f#$#%@ing people that knew Kelly Lynch back in high school or grade school are the shitty excuse for television media going to interview till this story dies. And of course they'll make a TV movie out of it. Don't you think even she's sick of it?

Since no one in the media, in this country anyway, seems to care all that much about the people we were supposedly liberating unless they are shown celebrating the arrival US and British Soldiers, over a thousand dead Iraqi civilians and countess injured including this heartbreaking and horrifying story (don't click it if you have a weak stomach) I hope that the freedom Iraqis will hopefully have in the future was worth it to all the Iraqis that lost loved ones.

I'm still waiting for Saddam to launch one of his attacks. This was the primary reason Dubya had so much support even from people who are, how shall we say this, casually liberal like my mom; the fear that one day Saddam would hand over a portion of the tons of WMD that Saddam had hiding in bunkers, and hand them over or sell them to terrorists who would in turn commit another atrocity like 9.11. And we had to hurry cause Saddam was just weeks from having nuclear weapons. We've had some of the war bloggers briefly ecstatic over the allied forces coming across some gunpowder and pesticide. Looks like Scott Ritter was right on target, Iraq hasn't got much of anything in the way of WMD. Even I thought that somewhere Saddam had something and that while backed against a wall he would use them. For him to go out like this without a whimper is a real surprise to me. Another thing I was wrong about, although score one for the anti war liberals... sort of a hollow victory though. I certainly didn't want to be right about Saddam using WMD.

Oddly enough this past weekend while listening to WZRD, a recording of Noam Chomsky, the lefty that all righties absolutely looooove to hate, actually said Saddam was in fact a real threat. Imagine that, Chomsky actually validating something that the Bush administration has been saying. I guess the threat wasn't as great as many thought, even Chomsky. Of course that depends on who you ask - a Kurd or a Shiite Muslim certainly still had much to fear, but the western world?

Chomsky also of course sighted the hypocrisy of the US, deservedly so, and it's claims about Saddam violating human rights and the Geneva Convention when he gassed his own people, and the harping of that issue by Dubya and Co whenever they could to justify this war with the fact that Saddam gassed his own people. While is is true that Saddam gassed his own, guess which country tried to veto a UN Resolution to condemn Saddam after he committed this atrocious act? Saint Ronnie, that's who. Reagan even tried to pin it on Iran immediately afterwards, although at some point the Gipper backed off and, to my knowledge, Congress actually passed some kind of statement about the Basra tradgedy, and Saddam being sorta kinda wrong to go all gas and kill all those people.

But even after that episode, Reagan, Bush and all the kings horses and all the kings men, which include Cheney and Rummy and others within the current Administation, contiued to provide aid to Saddam right up until he invaded Kuwait. I dont have the stats, but according to Chomsky the US, along with other European countries like Britian, gave Iraq some sort of humanitarian aid afterwards because after gassing Basra they had a little diffculty growing crops on the lands near that area, big surprise. I dont think that the people of Basra ever saw any of that aid. Here's som information on that matter taken from this site goodthink.com;

When the war ended, American money didn't. The Bush administration provided Iraq $4 billion that the CIA knew was being used to buy more weapons. Saddam was mostly killing more Kurds. Fine by us.

Bob Dole even went to Iraq and met Saddam personally, hoping to cut deals for Bob Dole's oil puppeteers. Bob Dole came home praising Saddam -- killer of over 100,000 of his own people -- as "a leader to whom the United States can talk."


The Import/Export bank even financed Saddam's purchase of weaponry, so the American taxpayer could help fund Saddam's acquisition of WMD. We never got that money back because of what was to follow. Nobody during the Reagan or the first Bush Administration gave a shit about human rights when Saddam was doing pretty much what he has been doing his whole life until our cheap oil supply was threatened. And not too many a head rolled when the GOP violated one of the only things they idealogically stand united on, which is being against wastefull spending. We gave money to a dictator so he could purchase weapons to kill his own people. Get your head around that one. Every conservative will site just how evil communism is by refering to the acts of the Maos, Stalins, and Lenins of the world and all the people they killed. These same hypocritical assholes gleefully fleeced the American taxpayer to line the coffers of all the generous GOP contributors - Oil , Chemical and Defense Corporations - so a dictator that sold us cheap oil could do the same thing. All hypocrites. I guess the difference between communism and capitalism is with the commies you kill the people yourself, in capitalism you pay someone else to do it, or maybe you just fund the massacre.

It is interesting though to hear though that Chomsky didn't just criticize the US - he pretty much laid waste to much of Europe and all of Saddam's coddlers, and how they too abandoned the innocent Iraqis that suffered at the hands of Saddam. That's including the French, for all the credit that so many anti war activists seem to heap praise on. One thing that I'm reminded of thru this whole disaster is that every government has at least a little blood on their hands and a few skeletons in their closet, even those supposedly "liberal" semi socialist nations that were going to veto the new resolution at the UN back in March. Chomsky a French basher? Who woudda thunk it, NeoCons take note.

I've seen some imagery of the Iraqi citizens who have suffered immeasurably at the hands of Saddam happy to liberated, although leery of what the US brings. Watching countless innocent Iraqis lose live and limb, house and home, and god knows what else, suffering for what really was when you think about it the only true airtight reasoning behind this war, which is the less than complete and total cooperation Iraq gave to UN in the re-admittance of weapon inspectors. As far as I'm concerned that's a little like giving a shoplifter the death penalty, but hey, the President is from Texas so for all we know maybe they do that down there.

And while part of me dislikes myself for even thinking this thought, there are over 3000 Iraqi Republican Guard officers dead according to Rummy. It is hard, even for me, to empathize and feel sorry for the death of people who helped prop up a murderous dictator and carried out his destructive will, but is it so hard to imagine that they too had families, a wife and children perhaps? Who is going to take care of them?

Even thru all of this, I find myself in agreement with much of Paul Berman had to say in a recent Salon interview, even if I disagreed with his stance on the war. He's one of those pro war liberals. I found myself occasionally swayed by arguments made by the war liberals, until I remembered that I don't trust Bush, or should I say the people that he hired to run this Administration; Cheney, Rummy, Perle, and the rest. I don't believe in pacifism, and I can't even say I would have opposed this war under any and all circumstances. I just don't trust those guys, plain and simple. Listening to Berman being interviewed in this Salon article by Suzy Hansen puts things in perspective;

SH: Certainly, today, at least, is a victory for the Bush administration.

PB: I guess that's right. I don't give a damn about that. What's important about today is the overthrow of this horrible tyrant. People on the American left should get over their obsessions with the horrible Bush in order to be able to recognize the grandeur of the moment. Just because the horrible Bush's father was president in 1989 did not mean that the revolutions of 1989 were horrible. They were great. The overthrow of Saddam is a great accomplishment.

[snip]

SH: But at what point does it become an occupation?

PB: You mean, how does it become its opposite? It's true that it can turn into its opposite. We ought to keep an eye on Halliburton and the Bechtel Corp. and the other American pirates whose interests are not those of the U.S. or those of Iraq. That's a danger. Somehow the U.S. was able to avoid that in Germany in the 1940s. (emphasis mine)

[snip]

SH: So to get back to the left, what's the big issue here?

PB: The big issue is to make sure that the efforts on behalf of Iraqi liberalism and a new Iraqi society will be ambitious enough, well-funded enough and include enough of the institutions of American life. We can't count on Bush to do it right. He's had a pathetic record on all this. He's not been helped by people on the left, which has only worsened the problem


That is one the major reasons why I opposed this war. I didn't trust Bush to follow thru on doing everything possible to rebuild Iraq (I still don't) - or shall I say I didn't count on Bush to see to it that the rebuilding of Iraq is done humanely and equally, as in sending the 15 Billion we were promising for strictly rebuilding Iraq's oil wells while it's poorest citizens starve or die of dysentery. I hope I'm wrong. I do have more faith in Tony Blair though. I heard a commentator say that now is payback time for Blair for back Bush based on the mess that preceeded Gulf War II and the UN Debacle with the European Union. Let's hope PM Blair uses this political collateral and makes sure the White House directs our rebuilding efforts in the right way. It won't be perfect, but I think PM Blair will be smart enough to keep Iraq looking anything like Cuba did after we "liberated" the Cubanos after the Spanish American War. If the pirates at 1600 Penn Ave in DC have their totally unobstructed way I truly fear what is to come

As far as my ideological beliefs and attempting to rectify them with this incredibly swift outcome, and considering the fact that about two weeks ago I was feeling sick to my stomach when reading Suburban Limbo, Get Donkey and hearing criticism from within the Armed Forces, seeing the POWS, this might sums it up best;

PB: We ought to remember that in terms of the left -- in regard to the European Recovery Act and the Marshall Plan -- the American left split. Some people opposed all that -- the people who had been associated with Henry Wallace, who was the [Ralph] Nader of his day, and people who were on the Communist Party side of things. But the socialist democrats and the liberal left was for all that. And we ought to be able to look at that split and realize some were wrong. We want more engagement from the U.S.


Mark Brown of the Sun Times' most recent column also does a good job of summing up the split within the liberal mindset of many that opposed the war.

Like most everybody else, I was happy to see Iraqi people celebrating their newfound freedom from Saddam's oppression, and I was relieved to see some of our soldiers at least temporarily out of harm's way.

But I was troubled by the realization that this partial outcome, never really in doubt in my mind, will now be viewed as justification for our military aggression while the more complicated challenges of establishing a truly free and peaceful society in Iraq still lie before us.

[snip]

I hope this is the beginning of a great new era for Iraq and the Middle East. I hope that the rest of the Iraqi army lays down its arms before another American or British soldier, or any more Iraqis, are killed.

I also hope President Bush doesn't think Syria or Iran are the next stops on the regime-change express.


That's it for now - I gotta go.

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