One Americans point of view. Like Iraqis we differ.

  1. Eli Pariser:
    "Even though we are entering a tremendously risky period of U.S. occupation in the Middle East, we share profound relief that the most intense fighting may soon be over
    and that humanitarian efforts can soon begin in Iraq.

    Saddam's military failure is hardly surprising. Given a contest between the U.S. Armed Forces -- military might that exceeds anything the world has ever seen -- and a
    country which relies upon materiel that is decades old, it shouldn't be a shock that we won quickly and easily.
    We didn't oppose this war because we thought we couldn't win it. We opposed it because "victory" was about so much more than military dominance. We believe that we
    could have won without war -- and that victory now may take years or decades to come -- if it comes at all.

    So what is victory?

    If this war was about ensuring that Iraqis are fed, clothed, healthy, and secure, hundreds of thousands are still in serious jeopardy. If this war was about bringing democracy
    to the Iraqi people, we haven't even begun that project. If it was about removing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, we haven't found any. If it was about reducing the threat
    of terrorism, we've done nothing -- except perhaps to fan the flames of Muslim fundamentalism. If it was about stabilizing the region, right now there is increased instability.
    And if it was about bringing the world together to address threats to our security, we've clearly done the opposite. Only if the war was about taking Saddam out of power --
    and literally nothing else -- did this week's events signal victory.

    Even a close look at this week's iconic image -- the tearing down of a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad's center -- reveals that the situation in Iraq is more complicated
    than it seems. By most accounts, the group gathered at the statue contained a few dozen Iraqis, a bunch of Marines, and a whole cluster of reporters. The Iraqis were likely
    outnumbered by the Americans. Clearly, most of the population is still watching and waiting. "
  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   Disablednurse
    In a city of of over a million people, there were precious few at the tearing down of the statue of Saddam Hussein. Now we have no proof that Saddam is dead, just out of the picture. Bush is threatening Syria now like they will be afraid to give support to fleeing Iraqis. Bush does not scare these people. You are right, spacenurse, at best we took Saddam Hussein out of the picture.
  4. by   pickledpepperRN
  5. by   pickledpepperRN
    Apr. 13, 2003. 07:17 AM

    Rout proves anti-war point

    Sometimes the United States and its allies are wrong, and the rest of the world is right.
    The opponents of war in Iraq-France, Germany, Russia, China, Canada, Mexico, the Arab nations and the many others-were vindicated last week when Baghdad fell just 21 days after the U.S.-led invasion began.
    The anti-war argument had always been that Saddam Hussein posed no significant threat to the U.S. or its neighbours because Iraq's military power was vastly degraded after Saddam's humiliation in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the subsequent dozen years of punitive United Nations-imposed sanctions.
    And that any nuclear, chemical and biological weapons Iraq might still possess could be destroyed through the U.N. inspection process without resorting to a war that has cost the lives of thousands of Iraqis.
    With an invasion force the U.S. itself now boasts was of relatively minimal strength, Saddam's regime was easily toppled. On that point, the neo-con war hawks were correct. Iraq was poised to fall like a house of cards.
    By the second week of the conflict, Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, was saying he felt embarrassed by the Iraqis' poor fighting skills-or unwillingness to fight at all.
    As the enormity of the rout was clear early last week, the Pentagon was dismissing the Iraqi forces as "a paper army."
    Pushed to the wall, the Iraqi regime did not try to blunt the enemy advance by dipping into its vaunted stockpile of "weapons of mass destruction"-or perhaps that, too, was a paper inventory.
    Of course, the outcome of this dubious contest between the world's lone superpower and a puny, impoverished adversary with no allies was never in doubt. The U.S. and its British ally were taking on an enemy that had not been able to obtain spare parts for its tanks for the past decade and proved unable to get its fighter jets airborne.
    Still, Americans need to know they got their money's worth from this unprecedented adventure, which will cost U.S. taxpayers already suffering from a weak economy at least $200 billion (all figures U.S.) in war expenses and anticipated spending on Iraqi reconstruction.
    And both Americans and future "rogue states" targeted by the Bush administration for discipline also need to know that the United States can effortlessly project its power across the globe. Hence last week's triumphalism by Bush officials.
    "Saddam Hussein is now taking his place alongside Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Ceausescu in the pantheon of failed brutal dictators," said Donald Rumsfeld, the U.S. defence secretary.
    Equating the regional bully Saddam with the savage imperialism of Hitler, who brought about the death of more than 40 million people, is dime-store sophistry. But it's essential in the bid to approximate Rumsfeld's genius as a military strategist with that of William Tecumseh Sherman or Dwight Eisenhower.
    It's not that Rumsfeld's ego needs the boost. In exaggerating both the monstrosity of Saddam and the sagacity of his conqueror, Rumsfeld's civilian defence planners seek to justify regime change and validate their Iraq strategy of rapid, lightly armed strikes at an enemy.
    Since the spectre of serial regime change is new, it is imperative, too, that Americans be comforted in knowing that "Rummy" has devised a new method of warfare for achieving it. Never mind that blitzkrieg wasn't new even when Hitler used it.
    And that hubris from their early success with it led both Hitler and Douglas MacArthur to disaster in Russia and Korea, respectively.
    Dick Cheney, the U.S. vice-president, also heaped praise on the new Rumsfeld doctrine last week, approvingly quoting historian Victor Davis Hanson's gushing tribute to the early phases of the Iraq campaign:
    "By any standard of even the most dazzling charges in military history, the Germans in the Ardennes in the spring of 1940 or Patton's romp in July of 1944, the present race to Baghdad is unprecedented in its speed and daring and in the lightness of casualties."
    That is pure bunk.
    We'll never know how "light" the casualties were. For, as the New York Times reported last week, "powerful munitions used by American and British forces probably left hundreds or thousands of battlefield victims pulverized, burned or buried in rubble."
    The Bush administration wants it known that it has achieved battlefield wizardry that can be safely deployed in future. But what the U.S. forces did in Iraq against a poorly trained, poorly motivated enemy on favourable terrain does not begin to compare with the 38 days it took the Wehrmacht to bring the Low Countries and France, one of the world's great military powers, under Nazi subjugation in the spring of 1940.
    Against fierce resistance in 1944, U.S. Gen. George Patton's 3rd Army swept roughly 900 kilometres across northern France in two weeks-more than twice the distance traversed by U.S. forces between Kuwait and Baghdad. By war's end, Patton had inflicted 1.4 million casualties on the enemy.
    But bold nonsense is to be expected of a Bush administration whose foreign policy has been marked by deception. This dates from its success in winning congressional approval for war in Iraq by grossly inflating the threat posed by Saddam and later its failure to win pro-war votes on the U.N. Security Council with documents about alleged Iraqi nuclear plans that were revealed as forgeries.
    Not since Vietnam has mendacity so thoroughly characterized both the goals and methods of U.S. foreign policy.
    Feigning diplomacy, the U.S. built up its forces in the Persian Gulf. Declaring itself committed first to the objective of Mideast security, then of destruction of Saddam's "weapons of mass destruction," then of Saddam's ouster and finally of "liberating" a long-oppressed people, the Bush administration is only now revealed to be in apparent pursuit of something it dares not formally promulgate-the imposition of democracy, Western-style capitalism and a benign regard for Israel throughout the region.
    Having come this far by prevarication, administration officials cannot now extricate themselves from their deceptions, indeed, self-deceptions.
    Wedded of necessity to the concept of ad hoc coalitions as an alternative to the constraints of the U.N. and NATO, the Pentagon has come to believe what it says about its latest "coalition of the willing"-that it is one of the largest, if not the largest, such coalition in history.
    Former U.S. allies can react only with disbelief at such revisionism.
    How soon the U.S. forgets the significant military contributions by Europe, Pakistan, Egypt, Canada and others to the Persian Gulf War, and the more genuine multinationalism of the coalition to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban only a year and a half ago.
    The prime minister of Solomon Islands, one of many Pacific microdots hastily recruited into the coalition of the willing by the U.S. State Department, was asked about his role in the Iraqi conflict. He could only express surprise. He was, he said, "completely unaware" of his country's involvement in Iraq.
    Even the once-dovish Colin Powell, the U.S. secretary of state, now in penance after U.S. failure to achieve the Security Council's blessing for war in Iraq, has begun to lose his grip on the truth.
    Irritated by a German TV interviewer, Powell snapped that the U.S. would not, as many expect, abandon post-war Iraq to its own devices.
    "And guess who will be the major contributor, who will pay the most money to help the Iraqi people to get back on their feet?" Powell said. "It will be the United States, as always."
    As always? As chairman of the Joint Chiefs in the Gulf War, Powell would very well know that America's allies paid $53 billion of the $63 billion cost of that war.
    That about two-thirds of humanitarian and reconstruction work in the developing world is paid for by Europeans.
    That European and Canadian forces, among others, cleaned up after the Americans in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
    Of the U.S. record in post-war Afghanistan, already in chaos as insurgent Taliban gangs terrorize civilians and aid workers, Powell said: "We are helping them to rebuild and reconstruct their society. That pattern is the American pattern. We're very proud of it. It's been repeated many times over, and it will be repeated again and again."
    That claim is preposterous. After the Persian Gulf War, the U.S. returned Kuwait to its despotic emirs and left Saddam to murder thousands of dissidents.
    In the aftermath of 1990s U.S. interventions in Somalia, Haiti and Afghanistan, local autocrats and warlords lost no time re-imposing their violent rule.
    In a must-read analysis of Bush war strategy in the current Washington Monthly, Joshua Micah Marshall writes that the administration's "preferred method has been to use deceit to create faits accomplis, facts on the ground that then make the administration's broader agenda impossible not to pursue .... Strip away the presidential seal and the fancy titles, and it's just a straight-up con."
    On the economic front, the audacious Bush's tax cuts for the rich have swollen the deficit, which becomes the justification for slashing social programs-including a Bush-endorsed cut in veterans-affairs spending by $15 billion over the next decade. (Yes, at a time like this.)
    On the war front, it means explaining that a buildup of military force in the Gulf is the only means of pressuring Saddam to comply with U.N. sanctions.
    It means letting unofficial spokesmen like Henry Kissinger suggest that those forces must be unleashed for combat in Iraq because "if the United States marches 200,000 troops into the region and then marches them back out ... the credibility of American power ... will be gravely, perhaps irreparably impaired."
    And it means orchestrating dire warnings from unnamed Pentagon sources that if an Iraqi assault didn't commence soon, it would bog down in seasonal sandstorms. (It was darkly amusing to watch one U.S. commander after another on CNN these past three weeks insisting that weather conditions had not, after all-and never would-stall the progress of an Abrams tank column for more than an afternoon.)
    It is that cumulative duplicity, much of it almost comically transparent, that baffled and finally alienated so many world leaders over the past months.
    These included Jacques Chirac, the most pro-American French president of modern times, who once operated a forklift at a Budweiser plant in St. Louis and was the first head of state to pay an official visit to the Bush White House.
    That France had commercial interests in Saddam's Iraq might have had less to do with Chirac's war skepticism than his experience as a combat veteran in the Algerian desert.
    For Chirac and his peers, so little of what came out of the Bush administration made any sense.
    And they hardly grasp it now.
    The neo-con theory behind the Iraq campaign is that a democratized Middle East will be a safer place, because democracies don't make unprovoked attacks on other countries.
    It's an attractive idea. But when the world's most powerful democracy launched its invasion of Iraq last month, that theory failed its first test.
  6. by   pickledpepperRN
    Posted: April 15, 2003
    1:00 a.m. Eastern
    2003 David H. Hackworth
    Hopefully, the looting and shooting across Iraq will soon subside, and peace will settle over the innocents of Iraq - a people who've suffered only bloodshed and repression ever since our CIA recruited Saddam Hussein more than 40 years ago.
    Blame it on the Cold War, when "Better dead than Red" became our national byword, and any useful cutthroats were automatically added to the team if they were against communism. We would have dealt with the Devil if he had offered to shoot a commie for Uncle Sam.
    So when Iraqi Prime Minister Abd al-Karim Qasim started playing footsie with the Soviets, placing his Red pals in power positions in his government, all wasn't exactly copasetic in Washington. At the time, CIA Director Allen Dulles declared Iraq "the most dangerous spot in the world."
    Enter Saddam, whose potential for violence suited us to the max.
    Whether it was the threat of Soviet missiles being set up in Iraq or the chance to secure all that black liquid gold as ours for the pumping, we hired Psycho Saddam as our hit man, set him up in an apartment across the street from the prime minister's Ministry of Defense and ordered Qasim taken out with "extreme prejudice."
    But the Mustached One's 1959 assassination attempt was a mess-up from the get-go, the botched mission a precursor to his subsequent eight-year war with Iran and later fights with Stormin' Norman and Tommy Franks. The signs were all there right from the start - we just didn't take the time to read the tea leaves.
    For openers, Saddam lost his nerve and triggered the ambush too soon. One member of this hit team that couldn't shoot straight had the wrong ammo; another, the grenade man, couldn't fling that sucker because it got caught in his coat; and yet a third member missed the prime minister but somehow managed to shoot Saddam in the leg. Qasim escaped, and so did Saddam, limping off to Cairo, Egypt, where - even after all those blunders - the CIA propped him up in a safe-house and kept his pockets lined with Yankee green while continuing his training in terrorism
    In 1963, after Qasim was knocked off in a second CIA black op, Saddam scurried home to slay his way up the power ladder and eventually become head of the dreaded al-Jihaz a-Khas, the feared intelligence apparatus of the Ba'ath party.
    From there, with a little more help from his CIA pals, he continued to plot, plunder and massacre his way to the head-beast slot, where we anointed him our newest very best friend. Not just because of the Cold War or Iraq's rich oil deposits, but also because he went after our former best friend and newest major enemy, Iran. We supported our fave new despot with the works: arms and munitions, precursors for chemical and biological weapons, and intelligence information gained from our ultrasecret intelligence intercepts of Iranian radio traffic and other hot skinny from our satellites showing up-to-the-minute Iranian battle dispositions.
    Even current SecDef Donald Rumsfeld rushed to Saddam's palace in 1983 to bow and scrape and assure the Bully of Baghdad he had a Ronald Reagan-signed blank check for almost any bombs and bullets in our arsenal. After which our generals and admirals taught him how to use them, completing his morph into a master of Military Miscalculation.
    Then, in 1990, Saddam did a Noriega and foolishly bit the hand that fed him - as has almost every U.S.-sponsored Cold War dictator from every dark corner of every continent. His ill-conceived blitzkrieg against one of our primary gas stations, Kuwait, only served to get him locked down in Iraq for 12 no-fly-zone years, with heavy sanctions and bombing raids.
    And when he still didn't get it, the pre-emptors decided to take him out for good.
    Now billions and perhaps trillions of our dollars and our best and brightest will be rebuilding Iraq to create a stable government - a beacon of democratic light in a dismally troubled region.
    But that's only if we don't empower yet another world-class serial killer, and then in a decade or two have to spend still more precious American lives making another regime change in a country that's already paid too hard a price.
    One of America's most decorated soldiers, Col. David Hackworth
  7. by   pickledpepperRN
    May 2, 2003

    Of Speedy's Downfall


    The other day my wife brought home a baby bunny. She had stopped at the pet
    store on the way home from work and picked it out from a bunch of baby bunnies.
    There is nothing like a baby bunny. They are perhaps the cutest thing in the world.

    You know bunnies are born hairless and very tiny into a bed of fur picked from
    their mothers' coats. Tiny hairless blind tiny things squirmy and hungry for
    mothers' milk. Ours is of course covered with fur and has its eyes wide open. It's a
    female, so they say, but it is hard to tell at this age and we have gotten it wrong
    before: Peter turned out to be a girl and Fuzzy a boy.

    Nothing says spring like a baby bunny. They do a thing called "pop corn" where
    they leap straight up in the air and turn on a dime. Nothing, that is, except
    perhaps the blossoms of our Santa Rosa Plum Tree. Incredible white cascade
    against the blue skies of March. In just a heartbeat they turn into an abundance of
    delicious sweet and sour treats.

    I tied a yellow ribbon around that plum tree during the Gulf War vowing not to take
    it down until my nephew returned from his war duty in the Persian Gulf. He did
    return and today is in good health. Thank you God. And I took the yellow ribbon

    Today I am thinking of putting up another yellow ribbon for all those boys and girls
    and men and women who have left their homes and are missing this spring
    weather and blossoms and baby bunnies.

    I was happy to see the new bunny but also worried. I wondered how Fuzzy, our
    adult bunny who lives in our backyard, and this new baby bunny would get along.
    Bunnies are very complex social creatures. A warren in the wild may have several
    hundred individuals living together.

    My wife and son got another baby bunny last year and it did not work out well.
    Speedy, the new bunny, called that because he sped around the living room so fast
    when he was a baby, turned on Fuzzy when he became an adolescent. We never
    got him fixed and maybe we should have. Lowered testosterone levels might have

    At first Fuzzy chased Speedy, but then got used to him. They would sit together in
    the sun and Fuzzy would preen Speedy. But one day I went out on the deck and
    saw tufts of brown fur all over the yard and Fuzzy on the deck fearful. With some
    investigation I discovered that Speedy had been attacking him.

    We tried many things to broker peace, and all failed. I began to hate that rabbit
    and found that we could not give him away. The House Rabbit Society would not
    take him. Plus he bit me one day, disqualifying himself as a nice house pet. So I
    announced to the family I would take him on a one-way trip to the animal control
    people, as even the Humane Society would not take him.

    I pulled him out of his cage wearing gloves so as not to get bitten or scratched.
    Rabbits can be very aggressive and fierce if they want to be. I put him in a cage in
    the kitchen for his last night. In the morning he was dead.

    If you have some bunnies who do not get along and you want them to, here is
    what you do. Put them in a new environment together. In their mutual anxiety they
    will bond and become friends. We of course tried this with Fuzzy and Speedy, and it
    worked at first but not later. I think Speedy went insane. Perhaps he had a brain

    My daddy was a farm boy and a cowboy. He taught me to whistle at a rabbit to stop
    it so you could shoot it. It works. The rabbit stops and listens. I shot with my B.B.
    gun but never hit a rabbit.

    Maybe we could put humans in a new environment and they would bond and not
    fight. Then again, what about madness and brain tumors.

    When I was a teenager in the U.S. Navy in Japan I pressed cherry blossoms one
    spring and put them in plastic in my photo album. I still have those blossoms from
    Atsugi, Japan.

    There is nothing like a baby bunny and spring blossoms. I hope the bunnies get
    along, the blossoms give us good fruit and the soldiers come home from the war.

    Country Joe McDonald is a resident of Berkeley.