Saturday, April 05, 2003

Ah, yes, with open arms

Try reading Robert Fisk's many brilliant articles in The Independent for an unvarnished look at the Iraq war. This is the reporter who first told the world about Saddam Hussein's use of gas and chemical weapons in the war against Iran back when Hussein was our good buddy. He was smeared by the Brits back then, and then it was shown to be true. He also reported on the NATO bombing of Albanian civilians in the Kosovo war. NATO smeared him then, and then had to retract their statements when he physically dug up the bomb remains with his own hands and showed the serial numbers on the casings. Now, he is proving cruise missiles in Baghdad markets and cluster bombs in civilian villages. He is, of course, being smeared - but he has the physical evidence.

The Guardian UK has much more balanced reporting than anything in the US.

The Washington Post has some decent US mainstream reporting on the war. Still too much concerned with having dramatic imagery than solid reporting, however.

The worst thing I have read was in the New York Times this morning, however: Barrage of Fire, Trail of Death. An article describing the ground level reality of the US first incursion into Baghdad. A few more assaults like this and there won't be many open arms for the "liberators".

Warfare IS killing human beings. That is it. There is nothing "clean" or "efficient" about it. It is killing people on either side until one side gives up. Modern warfare means that pitched battles are grossly one sided, not that they are better than non-modern methods.

What is coming out - mostly in international reporting - is the over-whelming evidence of systematic and horrific human rights abuses by the Hussein regime. The warehouse of bodies. Boxes of torture records. All the fortified torture centers (for each neighborhood! How thoughtful...). As if there wasn't clear evidence of all of this back when he was our "friend". As if we haven't, don't and shan't continue to turn a blind eye to exactly the same kind of activities by dictators who are our "friends". As if the neo-imperialists wouldn't be perfectly happy to have such things happen world-wide, as long as they could be in charge.

Hussein is ghastly. But those who have cozened him for decades are worse.

Where oh where are the purported weapons of mass destruction? Where are the stockpiles of nerve agents, bio-weapons, atomic materials? Gee, perhaps the weapons inspections did their job and functionally disarmed the bastard. International non-combative intervention worked. Now, if we could only have prevented George Bush I from fortifying Hussein in the first place and ensuring his despotic grip on the country, perhaps an indigenous opposition could have been in place to take advantage of the UN intervention.

And the neo-imperialists sit in Kuwait and divvy up the spoils, declaring who the new government shall be (Until someone we like can be "elected") - a motley gathering of shysters, warlords, and unsavory characters who are little differentiated from Hussein himself. Indeed, most are his former allies and co-conspirators in the authoritarian regime, the very people we used to use to keep Hussein in power, and who ended up fleeing because they angered the dictator. Gee, I wonder what the brutalized population is going to think of this game of musical chairs - same chairs, same tune, different people trying to sit, same long term outcome. Except that wholesale oil prices may be lower.

And, finally, the real war (this little police action is nothing to be get all hot-n-bothered about) is poised to begin. Who shall set the terms of "peace" in Iraq? The US and its corporate (oil) interests, or the EU and it corporate (Trade & oil) interests, or the UN and its anti-Western-domination, no more IMF & World Bank interests?

Is anyone watching North Korea in all this? Or Pakistan?


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