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[Watch this space for: Pentagon and Petroleum, The Media is only as Liberal as the Corporations Who Own Them, Wash Down With, and Recalcify]


Monday, September 15, 2003


Art by the great Micah Wright...

I have been stunned by the quality and sadness that I've absorbed from a female Iraqi programmer in her new blog Bagdhad Burning. There's a point below that Juan Cole makes about how only war criminals would think that killing 200000 Iraqis is in any way "winning". It would be curious if the killing in the Phillippines or Vietnam would have been easier if our victims had ready access to blogs.

Riverbend is the reason I think that we need to work to create a democracy in Iraq. If we go right now, you're probably looking at either a theocracy--which would have the wonderful effect of transporting her back to the 16th century--or as Hesiod predicts:a brutal and violent civil war which would kill thousands, and uppity women with glasses who blog will certainly be among the bodies. Both Atrios and Max Sawicky, who I respect, have argued that we should just hit the road. I'll explain more about why I disagree with them in my next post.

But she's explained a number of factors about the war's aftermath very clearly. Aside from this incredibly Tony Soprano inspired tale of price gouging the reconstruction contracts, Islamic fundie gangs really like to shoot smart women. She's detailed the outright murder of three women who were simply shot down in the street. It's all a part of what I thought was one of her best pieces: Her thoughts on the Bush speech:

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Friends, Americans, Countrymen...
I heard/read Bush's speech yesterday. I can't watch him for more than a minute at a time- I hate him that much. He makes me sick. He stands there, squinting his eyes and pursing his lips, going on and on with such blatant lies. And he looks just plain stupid.

I listened for as long as I could tolerate his inane features and grating voice, then turned off the television. Then turned it back on. Then turned the channel. Then turned it back. Then almost threw a cushion at the screen. Then thought better and decided he wasn’t worth it. Is it possible that someone like that is practically running the world? Is it possible he might see another term in the White House? God forbid…

His whole speech was just an idiotic repetition of what he’s been saying ever since Afghanistan, “Give me more money, give me more power- I’m doing this for you. Bechtel and Halliburton have nothing to do with it.” Doesn’t he ever get tired of saying the same words? Don’t people ever get tired of hearing them?

The one thing I agreed with was this: there are terrorists in Iraq. It’s true. Ever since the occupation, they’ve been here by the hundreds and thousands. They are seeping in from neighboring countries through the borders the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ could not protect and would not let the Iraqi army protect. Some of them are even a part of the Governing Council now. Al-Daawa Party is responsible for some of the most terrible bombings in Iraq and other countries in the region.

Yes. I blame America for that. We never had Al-Qaeda or even links to Al-Qaeda. Ansar Al-Islam are supposed to be linked to Al-Qaeda, but they were functioning in the northern territory with the two Kurdish leaders’ knowledge and blessings.

Then there’s this:

“The attacks you have heard and read about in the last few weeks have occurred predominantly in the central region of Iraq, between Baghdad and Tikrit -- Saddam Hussein's former stronghold. The north of Iraq is generally stable and is moving forward with reconstruction and self-government. The same trends are evident in the south, despite recent attacks by terrorist groups.”

Is he serious? Only yesterday an American armored vehicle was burned in front of the University of Mosul in the north. There have been an increasing number of attacks on British troops in the south- we hear about them everyday. As for Baghdad… it has become a common occurrence. Baghdad Airport is constantly under missile attack and we hear of similar attacks all over Baghdad… or maybe the person who gave him that little fact is the same one who told him where to find the WMD…

“Since the end of major combat operations, we have conducted raids seizing many caches of enemy weapons and massive amounts of ammunition, and we have captured or killed hundreds of Saddam loyalists and terrorists.”

Yes, we know all about the ‘raids’. I wish I had statistics on the raids. The ‘loyalists and terrorists’ must include Mohammed Al-Kubeisi of Jihad Quarter in Baghdad who was 11. He went outside on the second floor balcony of his house to see what the commotion was all about in their garden. The commotion was an American raid. Mohammed was shot on the spot. I remember another little terrorist who was killed four days ago in Baquba, a province north-east of Baghdad. This terrorist was 10… no one knows why or how he was shot by one of the troops while they were raiding his family’s house. They found no weapons, they found no Ba’athists, they found no WMD. I hope America feels safer now.

On top of it all, the borders between Iraq and Iran have been given to Badir’s Brigade to guard. Badir’s Brigade. Unbelievable. I thought the borders needed guarding to prevent armed militias like Badir’s Brigade from entering the country. We have a proverb in Arabic: “Emin il bezooneh lahmeh” which means “Entrust a cat with meat.” Yes, give the Iranian borders to Badir’s Brigade. Right on.

Just a couple of days ago, two female school principals were ‘executed’ by Badir’s Brigade in Al-Belidiyat area in Baghdad. They were warned to resign their posts so that a ‘sympathetic’ principal could replace them. They ignored the threat, they were shot. It’s that simple these days. Of course, that’s not terrorism because the targets are Iraqi people. Terrorism is when the Coalition of the Willing are targeted.

Everyone is asking, ‘What should be done?’. Pull out the American troops. Take them home. Bring in UN peace-keeping troops under the Security Council- not led by America.

Let real Iraqis be involved in governing Iraq. Let Iraqis who actually have *families* living in Iraq be involved in governing their country. Let Iraqis who have something to lose govern the country. They aren’t being given a chance. As long as any Iraqi isn’t affiliated with one of the political groups on the Governing Council, no one bothers to listen.

We have thousands of competent, intelligent, innovative people who are eager to move forward but it’s impossible under these circumstances. There’s no security, there’s no work and there’s no incentive. AND THERE’S NO ONE WHO WILL LISTEN. If you’re not a part of the CPA or one of Ahmad Al-Chalabi’s thugs, then you’re worthless. You can’t be trusted.

I read Bush’s speech… just like I’ve read/heard what feels like a thousand different speeches these last few months. Empty words, meaningless phrases.

The abridged version of the speech…

“Friends, Americans, Countrymen, lend me your ears… lend me your sons and daughters, lend me your tax dollars… so we can wage war in the name of American national security (people worldwide are willing to die for it)… so I can cover up my incompetence in failing to protect you… so I can add to the Bush and Cheney family coffers at your expense and the expense of the Iraqi people. I don’t know what I’m doing, but if you spend enough money, you’ll want to believe that I do."

Update: I feel exactly the same way when Bush speaks. There must be a kind of cross cultural hatred here that transcends our physical boundaries. "Bush is Bad". It's the new Esperanto.

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