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April 10, 2003
Cheers, Jeers, Looting, and Liberation

Cheers, Jeers, Looting, and Liberation

It seems that there aren't likely to be any of those dastardly Weapons of Much Destruction found in Iraq. It also seems that there are some who think it wouldn't be beneath the USofA to smuggle chemical weapons in to Iraq and then produce them as "proof" of the gov'mint's claims.

I agree that it's not beneath us, but I don't think we'll do it.

I mean, we might but something like that leaves an awfully big footprint. It would be hard to do.

In any case, right now, with Iraqis cheering in the streets, I doubt that the USofA gov'mint cares about WMD any more. They've been dropping that theme in favor of chanting about "regime change" for several weeks now, anyhow. Unless the media (Hah!) presses them on the subject, I'm sure they'll be glad to let it drop.

Sounding a warning note, and a much-needed one, Seumas Milne in The Guardian, speaks of this fraudulent war in Iraq, and of Afghanistan.

For most Afghans, "liberation" has meant the return of rival warlords, harsh repression, rampant lawlessness, widespread torture and Taliban-style policing of women. Meanwhile, guerrilla attacks are mounting on US troops - special forces soldiers have been killed in recent weeks, while 11 civilians died yesterday in an American air raid - and the likelihood of credible elections next year appears to be close to zero.
Also? Those of you who read only the USofA press need to be very skeptical. There are Iraqis cheering in the streets of Baghdad, yes, but not as many as there are looting.
It's hard to smile when there's no water. It's hard to applaud when you're frightened. It's hard to say, "Thank you for liberating me," when liberation has meant that looters have ransacked everything from the grain silos to the local school, where they even took away the blackboard.
To those who say all of this lawlessness is pure high spirits over the downfall of the Hussein regime? Rioting, shouts of joy, overturning cars, setting fires, breaking shop windows, looting, a sort of mob-induced frenzy that includes fighting against the entrenched authority figures and cheering when one falls - no it isn't Iraq, it's the end of any of half a dozen or more college football games here in the USofA over the last year or two.

I'm just saying, okay? Let's have a little context.

What's happening today in Iraq isn't a sign of what the future will bring. Just as the cheers in Afghanistan didn't mean that they were really about to be any better off in six months than they were the day we stormed into their country and started shooting. Even the Iraqis are already starting to ask, "what's next" as they begin to view their "liberators" with suspicion.

Also, do read the International Herald Tribune and Thomas Friedman's Thomas L. Friedman: You broke it? Now you own it. The amount of cheering and celebration the coalition troops are facing isn't quite as overwhelming or universal as this morning's headlines suggest.

The Rest of the West Is Less Than Impressed with Baghdad's "liberation party" too.


Here and there around the net, people are (rightfully) up in arms about the report of a "jail for children" discovered in Iraq. I wonder if those same tenderhearted folks are going to become equally outraged over reports that "Jewish extremists" from Israel might have bombed a playground full of Palestinian children?

Posted by AnneZook at 09:35 AM