Saturday, November 15, 2003

One hundred bin Ladens

Who was it--the President of Egypt, I think--who said our invasion of Iraq would bring out one hundred bin Ladens. Well, in addition to the scores in Iraq, here's a carful in Istanbul.

General Anthony Zinni's words

This essay in The Nation quotes Zinni at length. His prewar statements are hauntingly prescient. He was in charge of Cent Com from 1997 to 2000, and it's tempting to reflect upon the course of history had he stayed on after 9-11.
Probably nothing would have changed. The Chickenhawk neocons were so bent to attacking Iraq that they would have done so even had Zinni counseled against it, and he would either have dutifully followed orders or slipped into retirement.

But still...

Friday, November 14, 2003

Arcane, but perhaps true

This explanation (scroll down to "It's Good to Be the King" post of 11/13) of the present state of the US economy, in particular, how we manage to stay afloat despite our enormous borrowing and trade deficit, isn't heartening for this Bush-basher. According to Billmon, the "big three" foreign banks will continue to buy our bonds, even at these puny rates of return, because they cannot afford our collapse and they benefit from our trade imbalance. I've read this elsewhere, and the predictions seem to be that this charade can continue for another year or so, viz. until after the election of 2004.

If so, we may have Bush for another four years, and then face twenty-five years of surviving what he's done to our nation's economy and standing in the world.

I hate to say this, but Pray for a Disaster.

If it weren't so tragic... would be hilarious. First, there's "mission accomplished," the disbanding of Saddam's army, and the announcement of a systematic plan for creation of an all-inclusive, democratic Iraq. Then, the first attack of "Saddam loyalists" occurs, then another, then another. Soon, "Saddam loyalists" becomes "foreign terrorists" and "mission accomplished" becomes a call for monetary and personnel assistance from other nations. When this is largely rebuffed, and the attacks cause the UN, the Red Cross and other NGO's to pull out, the effort becomes a "long hard slog" and the US determines that "Iraqization" of the defense force is needed. Then, when the Congress authorizes and additional $87 billion for military and reconstruction efforts, the Iraq Provisional Council is chided for being dilatory and is given a deadline to create a plan for the drafting of a constitution. Then, as the attacks intensify, causing deaths of US soldiers and "coalition" forces in scores, the US determines to prod the council further, to hasten the democracization process and to "outlast" the enemy, whoever it is.

Our modern culture, with its technology, has telescoped history. Wars now take months, sometimes weeks, not years and decades. Explanations--rationalizations--pour forth daily, hourly. In less than eight months, we've seen a tableau of tragedy played out by our evil folly. And, I predict, the pace will continue. By this time next year--election time--all will be known: the madness, the corruption, the deceit , with only one benefit: the casting out of power of the men and women who caused it.

Or not.

The democratization of Iraq or the battle of the Somme?

Rumsfeld has told reporters that we're not going "to leave early," that we're going to maintain our forces in Iraq for "as long as necessary." And straight out of the handbook of most meaningless, brutal bloodbath of the twentieth century, he says this: "We are going to outlast them."

A real shot in the arm for our troops. A rallying cry for the resistance.

Rummie, you're not just evil, you're stupid.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

All That Arises ... eventually returns

Readers of this blog may not have been aware, but I've been gone for over a week, spending time with family. Circumstances made contributing to the blog difficult. I'm back, and may eventually have something to contribute again.

I'd like to begin with an observation on Erik's Nov 11 entry, "Who's minding the store?" I suppose a return to the draft is a possibility. I'm 42, fat, and nearsighted ... they won't be coming for me. The bastards missed their chance at my tender years. But my nephew will have to register soon, in April 2019. Should I be concerned?

Is there any hope that in 16 years we will have stopped sending young men and women to make the ultimate sacrifice by dying needlessly for obscure and indefensible reasons? I only ask because he’s enamored of mermaids, Finding Nemo, and a favorite blankie with a design of clouds and sky. I’d like to get a head start, making sure he has the appropriate desert equipment … maybe a Cinderella biohazard mask, little Nemos on his boots, that sort of thing.

Maybe we should check with parents of two year olds now, and arrange for personalized body bags with favorite cartoon characters. And a few gross of prosthetic limbs with the characters from Monsters Inc.

I’m thinking ahead. What else is an Uncle for?

Bedlam in Baghdad

Now we're bombing Baghdad, having switched from months of obtrusive searches, then to more civilian-friendly intrusions, and now to all-out demolition. The explosions that light up the Baghdad sky will have no effect, says an Iraqi administrator, but may enhance the morale of the American troops.
And, in the same WaPo article we learn that a newly-reopened bridge across the Tigris, one that took millions to rebuild, will now be closed. It seems it leads directly into the government complex of Baghdad, and it's too dangerous to leave it open to possible attackers.

So much for the new, thriving Babylon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

And the beat goes on...

The latest target of opportunity in the war against terr'r. Chickens of mass production.

Baghdad blogging

Two observations:
(1) Salam Pax, who hit the bigtime (a column in the Guardian, a book deal) has foresaken his blogroots, having not posted meaningfully for months, and so has forfeited his claim to be the Baghdad Blogger.
(2) The newly-anointed BB (and, to me, always the more incisive, informative and certainly consistent) is Riverbend, whose posts, including her latest one about the "Governing" Council, are so right on that one wants to shout them from the rooftops (or the minarets or whatever).
Write on, Riverbend, right on.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Who's minding the store?

Rumsfeld says he's ready to send more troops to Iraq if his generals tell him they're neeeded. But guess what? We're running out of bodies. Indeed, there weren't enough soldiers stateside to fill out Veterans Day parades. And so, according to this NYT story (last 4 paragraphs), in some cities the ranks were filled by Boy Scouts and local drill teams.

I'm sure glad we're fighting the terrorists in Iraq. If they ever find out we have no soldiers back home, we're in deep poopie.

The House Negro speaks

Colin Powell has picked up Bush's "preach democracy" gambit, confirming the US drive to spread the word throughout the world. No one who's affected by it is buying their blather, of course, and even the BBC is dubious, noting that Bush has spared his allies, many of whom are dictators. Its report of Powell's concurring speech concludes with this sage, if somewhat cynical, observation:

"Both Mr Powell and President Bush are arguing that the fight for democracy is a historic mission, similar to the battle with communism during the Cold War. Their critics will be watching to see if Washington is really willing to condemn and perhaps even to destabilise its allies in the name of freedom."

"Beatings will continue until morale improves."

A concise reaction to the renewed US bombing in Iraq.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Tribune Bremer's "guess"

The first whisper. Tribune Bremer guesses (scroll to penultimate paragraph) that after the Iraqi "government" takes over it will request that US troops remain in Iraq.

Surprise, surprise.

This makes perfect sense

Now we're fighting "Kurdish rebels" in Northern Iraq. The Kurds, who supposedly are our buddies, have a small faction that hangs out in Iraq near the Turkish border and have their sights on rebellion against Turkey, which also has installed a force in northern Iraq to restrain the rebels. The US, which wants to ingratiate itself to Turkey so that Turkey will send troops to Iraq to help fight the Iraqi resistance in the south, has joined Turkey in fighting the Kurds in the north. Got it?
Does this have anything to do with Bush's war on terr'r?