Monday, May 10, 2004


Bush Vs. Hussein, You Make The Call

About the only compelling argument left for the War in Iraq is that the U.S. liberated the country from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. But a quick check of some salient facts shows why even this may not be a valid reason, especially in light of the current torture scandal coming to light. This will make you toss in your sleep at night (it certainly does the trick for me):

Quiz - Who did what, Saddam or Dubya?

--Waged a war as part of a plan to secure oil resources in the Middle East...answer BOTH.
--Oversaw the killing of more than 10,000 Iraqi civillians in a calendar year...BOTH
--Oversaw the torture and humiliation of Iraqi captives at Abu Gharib and other facilities...BOTH
--Came to power as the result of an illegitimate election...BOTH
--Served as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces that encouraged some Iraqi troops to rape Iraqi women...BOTH
--Possesses weapons of mass destruction...BUSH
--Runs government that funds terrorist activities or organizations around the globe and has assassinated, or tried to assassinate, heads of state...BOTH (although Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 and, as far as we know, only attempted to assassinate George Bush the Elder after losing Gulf War I)
--Has facial hair...SADDAM

Who's the despot?

SOURCES: CBS News,, The Guardian (UK)

Of Course All the Troops Aren't Bad. But Rumsfeld and His Apologists Are

It would be comic the way Resident Bush and SuperVeep Dick Cheney stand behind their boy Donald "I Spy" Rumsfeld, if only the stakes weren't so high and the images coming out of Iraq weren't so painful. Bush reprimands Rumsfeld for keeping the pictures away from him for so long, even though everyone knows the President doesn't like to be bothered with little things like facts, details and news articles anyway. Then, perhaps being told by Cheney that the only thing more terrifying than having Rumsfeld in charge of our nation's defense would be having a more moderate Realpolitk in charge because, hell, maybe we would start to pull out of Iraq sooner and we wouldn't be able to secure all that oil. So Bush backs up Rumsfeld while trashing the low level troops who carried out the atrocities, even though the buck should stop at the very top and the culture and control problems that have led to the scandal have been endemic in the American military since before Vietnam. (My Lai anyone?)

All politics aside, and mine aren't exactly a secret, Donald Rumsfeld should resign and General Abizade (spelling?) should be reassigned out of Iraq. Abu Gharib should be closed and then blown up, the UN should be brought in now and all pictures, videos and accounts of the abuses should be released immediately so that we finally have full disclosure and face up to our responsibilities in Iraq. Then, quietly but quickly, an escape plan should be made to have all of our combat troops out of Iraq by no later than January 2006. None of this will happen, especially if, God forbid, Bush is elected (for the first time) in 2004, but this is the only way the United States can save some face around the world and begin to do the right thing by the Iraqis and by extension all of the Middle East.

One more thing: there is a sentiment that runs among many Americans, including a majority of those in Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, that after 9/11, some of these abuses are not only understandable, but commendable. Perhaps, to some people, they are not abuses at all, but rather a "tool" to humiliate those who opposed our efforts in Iraq or harmed American troops. I have one word for those who feel that way: bullshit. We do not live in the time of Hammurabi. As Martin Luther King said, an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. And the Iraqis had nothing to do with 9/11--the Bush family may have had more to do with that tragedy than anyone in Iraq. And even if Saddam Hussein himself had paid for the highjackers and did a little dance when the World Trade Center came down, it still would not be a valid reason for our troops and hired mercenaries to treat anyone that way or train anyone to behave in such a fashion. Humanity is a complicated, heavy notion. It encompasses the best and the worst of us, often simultaneously. But how can we ever have peace in the world if we torture, humiliate, maim, rape and kill those who oppose us especially when they are IN NO POSITION TO FIGHT BACK? Can you imagine what horrors will now be visited upon us from those who have a mind to do bad things to us in the Arab world? What if it was American GI's who posed in sexual positions, burned, having dogs sicked on them and whatnot? Where does it end? How does it begin? Sometimes, wrong is just wrong and the gray area does not exist. This is rare, but this is one of those times. The only question is, can anything be done at this point to salvage America's image around the world, or are we doomed to be forever more reviled than the Soviet Union or the British Empire at their peak? Talk about a Pyhrric victory: to win the battle in one country but lose the hearts, minds and respect of everyone in the world.

Closing Thought

This blog will not always be so heavy. It started as political commentary about the 2004 election and the issues that face us. That seems like a long time ago. Every now in then I work in a little (weak) satire or a joke or a movie/TV review to change things up. But it seems hard to imagine that we could be living in more perilous times and it seems unpatriotic and disingenous to write a dissertation on, say, the last episode of FRIENDS when right-wing, born again, ubergreedy megalomaniacs have hijacked our government and are trying to take over the world. But keep checking this page out and I promise, every now and then I'll surprise you with the unexpected, although I can't promise you when me or my cohorts will be in the mood to do something different. I mean, seriously, what can we do--we don't get paid for this shit! :-)

Until I blog again, arrivederci...