June 28, 2005

Mayhem & Radicalism

Juan Cole writes about the weekend police station massacre, Monday's guerilla attacks in Iraq, the Tuesday assassination of an Iraqi parliamentarian, and points to Arundhati Roy's speech from Bush's mock tribunal in Istanbul.

Cole also points out that Iran's new president Bush-style election tactics, and a BBC columnist remembers him from the 1979 embassy takeover. However, a Haaretz columnist believes that, in spite of Ahmedinejad's hardline conservatism, it's the Iranian people who are pulling the strings.

Bush gave a self-congratulatory speech tonight on his successes in fighting the war on terror in Iraq. Of course, he mysteriously forgot to mention that he let Zarqawi go before the Iraq war in order to use his continued freedom as a justification for moving against Iraq.

There used to be Klan-issued joke hunting licenses for blacks, and during WWII there were similar joke licenses for Japanese. Ha. Ha. Ha. Orcinus points us to the new liberal hunting license, full of gay-baiting, union bashing, Democrat slandering, good clean humor.

Digby writes about America's new career as a rogue nation whose leaders don't answer to the law.

Also in the mayhem category, a commentor in this dKos post put up a link to pictures of Iraq war casualties (warning: very graphic). I was talking with someone the other day who couldn't understand why I cared about the recent back and forth about Sen. Durbin and Karl Rove's respective comments. Those pictures are why. Because on our televisions and in our newspapers its a bunch of catty, older and middle-aged people having an arcane and often petulant argument. But then those arguments get turned into policies, and sometimes those policies get turned into dead people.

Posted by natasha at June 28, 2005 11:18 PM | Iraq | Technorati links |

I quoted and linked back to this post.

Posted by: Deborah White at June 29, 2005 09:17 AM

When did the idea that hundreds of thousands of deaths and WMD used on your own people along with torture methods like dipping people into vats of acid feet first and raping daughters and wives in front of families while video taping this horrorific behavior suddenly become more politically correct and acceptable then fighting for the freedom from such evils become popular? When did hoping you would not be picked as a random target by special police or Saddam's sons become better than being at the wrong place at the wrong time? The last time I checked the Iraqui's had lost 12000 people in the last two years. 6000 people a year. Compared to over 300,000 over 30 years this is better how? I would REALLY love an answer.
T Crenshaw

Posted by: Timothy at June 30, 2005 12:51 AM

"When did the idea that ... horrorific behavior suddenly become more politically correct and acceptable then fighting for the freedom from such evils become popular?..."

First, most of the awful behavior you describe happened in Iraq back when Saddam was an ally and the US vetoed UN sanctions against him for using the chemical weapons they sold him. Also, it's going on right now in places like Uzbekistan where we're close buddies with the brutalizer-in-chief, and in countries where we're shipping prisoners for torture and interrogation like Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. In other words, our government has been complicit in most of it. That isn't a reason not to condemn it, but it puts our actions and responsibilities in a different light.

Second, 100,000 Iraqis (conservatively) have died in the war. The violence under Hussein was bad, but for many it was something they could avoid and live a tolerably normal life in what was a fairly modern country. The situation now is both qualitatively and quantitatively worse. Not only are more Iraqis dying, but there is hardly anything they can do to avoid the random nature of the violence. Houses get blown up, car bombs go off in marketplaces, people are getting kidnapped all over the place, and twitchy Americans are scattered at checkpoints all over the country that too often (for whatever reason) end up firing on cars containing innocent civilians. Admittedly, a good deal of this violence is from lawless elements unaffiliated with US troops, but one of the functions of government is to provide order and protection from those people in every country who have no respect for the lives and property of others, and the US has not replaced this function of Hussein's government. Additionally, they have far fewer hours of electricity and water (think about what life would be like in New Mexico with two hours of electricity and water per day), and are experiencing food and medical care shortages the likes of which they have never seen in their lifetimes.

Third, US interrogators are on record having abused Iraqi prisoners in numerous ways, humiliating them, damaging them physically and psychologically, and in a few cases killing those in their custody.

Fourth, Hussein's remaining conventional weapon stockpiles and stores of yellowcake were left entirely unguarded during the early phases of the occupation. They were formerly in the care of a paranoid and selfish regime who feared to share military power with anyone out of concern that they might be turned against them, which is bad. But now they're in the possession of ... who? Do you know, because I don't? What I do know is that the insurgency is incredibly well-armed with unknown quantities of advanced explosives, guns and rocket launchers. No one has any way of finding out how much is out there, of tracking where it's going, or can even figure out who has them in order to negotiate some kind of disarmament. I suggest to you that this situation is in every conceivable way worse for both our troops and the Iraqi public.

We have taken a bad situation and made it incalculably worse, magnifying the suffering of an oppressed people, and setting off a chain of escalating violence whose consequences we can't begin to know or imagine. Iraq has spiralled out of control, and whatever comes of this both our country's economy and military have been damaged in such a way as to weaken us when facing future threats.

If you think we're making these arguments because they're politically correct, then you need to read the news occasionally.

And btw - Don't post the same comment twice to different posts on this site. Come up with something new to say if you want to respond on another thread.

Posted by: natasha at June 30, 2005 08:04 PM