Monday, April 21, 2003

Infidels indeed

Well, I needed that "vacation". What a pleasant surprise that the "war" ended while I took a break...

Ah, but the news marches on, and so too, the continuing saga of Saddam.
You had to know he was spending all that money on more than Grecian formula.

From yesterday's LA Times, the following story about Saddam and Sons lifestyle:

"The garish mansions and palaces of Hussein's sons and cronies have been stripped bare and peeled open to expose a chimera. For all its claims to Islamic piety, the regime's elite was Western to its core. Their grand homes hid American computers, whiskey, pornography, videos and pop music. They drove big Chevys, smoked Marlboros and read Newsweek. They fired Beretta pistols and Smith & Wesson .38 Special revolvers in an indoor shooting range. They drank French Champagne and Tanqueray gin with a twist."...

"Versailles Meets Vegas

The palace complex boasts the grandeur of Versailles but also the shallow glitz of Las Vegas and the low taste of Graceland.

The soaring dome of the gilded reception hall of the Republican Guard palace now has a perfectly round hole in its center as a result of an American bomb. The catastrophic explosion unmasked walls buttressed by sloppy concrete, moldings fashioned of flimsy wood painted gold, baroque furniture made of painted pine and enormous chandeliers of plastic shaped to look like cut glass."

All glitz and sham.

The rest of the article is well worth reading.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Saddam who?

The Iraqi Ambassador to the UN, Mohammed Al-Douri, replied to questions posed as he tried to enter his residence in New York yesterday: "My work now is peace,'' he told reporters . "The game is over, and I hope the peace will prevail. I hope the Iraqi people will have a happy life.''

The game?, you mean the war? "yes yes, the war". And what about Saddam, what do you know about Saddam Hussein? Al-Douri said he had no "relationship with Saddam.'' "I have no communication with Iraq,'' the ambassador said.

I'm sure that makes Saddam feel all warm and cozy as he hunkers in his underground burrow, wherever that is.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Pawns or fools?

Thanks to Cosmic Iguana for this
to a report in the Hindustani Times. According to this report, Saddam and his sons fled from Baghdad to Tikrit 3 days ago.

So, if this is true, what does that say about the "intelligence" that prompted the bombing last night of a "target" in the Mansour neighborhood of Baghdad?

In a wire report, an unnamed US official stated the source reported that Saddam and his sons might be there for a meeting of Iraqi intelligence officials, and this official also stated: "I don't know who was in there, but anybody in that facility is likely dead." (Not to mention the residents of the adjoining houses which were also destroyed in the attack.)

The report goes on to say that "Officials said it could take days or weeks for U.S. intelligence to determine whether Saddam or other top leaders were killed." Do we have that kind of time to verify and justify the attack?

My concern regarding this incident is what the anonymous official also added: that this intelligence tip was "'not dissimilar' to the intelligence that spurred the United States to launch the attempted decapitation strike that started the war."

They didn't hit Saddam in that one, either, did they?

But this pattern of disinformation (and our apparent willingness to fall for it) continues:

In today's Wall Street Journal is an item about an episode that took place in An Numaniyah. "Steered by a tip from a Saddam loyalist (itals mine), Marines raided the home of a popular Shiite cleric in this midsize city on the Tigris River. The action briefly ignited a mass demonstration and threats of suicide attacks." Imam Said Habib was fingered as a regime supporter. The Imam was arrested and for 2 tense hours, the Marines came close to destroying whatever good will had been built up with the locals. They were lucky - a civilian translator with the Marines managed to convince commanders that the Imam was a revered religious leader who had spoken out publicly against the regime. The Imam was released, told by an intel team that "We believe the Baath Party is trying to turn us against you, and turn your people against us."

This kind of disinformation and subterfuge seems to be a hallmark of the regime in Baghdad. Perhaps both "tips" about the whereabouts of Saddam have been deliberate lies in an attempt to increase civilian casualties resulting from US bombing raids.

Centcom constantly makes the statement that it really doesn't matter if Saddam and Sons are dead or alive, that it isn't about just one man. If that's really true, then why risk the civilian casualties to drop 4 bunker-busters on one house in a residential neighborhood, based on a "tip"?

Monday, April 07, 2003

Poor choices can come back to haunt you

Why oh why do I continue to allow myself to be tortured by Rush Limbaugh? Oh yeah, I remember. The hinky-weird radio in my car only receives one clear channel while I'm on that endless stretch of highway coming home from school M/W - and guess what's on that channel at that time? You betcha - the Great Pontificator. So I spend those 40 endless minutes alternately shouting at the radio, laughing at his arrogance, or simply shaking my head in general disbelief.

Today he was again pointing "I-told-you-sos" at the many folks who have publicly said we should have tried diplomacy a little more, instead of war.

Well, Rush, to that I say, we wouldn't have needed either diplomacy or war if, in 1983, Mr. Rumsfeld would not have gone to Baghdad, shook that SOB's hand and said "go ahead and gas 'em. We don't like the Iranians any more than you do. Oh, and by the way, we can extend you credit to buy more chemical weapons if you need to."

Don't believe it? I posted the story earlier. Here it is again if you missed it.
Update on Bridge to Baghdad

Those of you who watched the WorldLInkTV production: Bridge to Baghdad, you may have wondered what's happened to the Iraqi students that participated in Baghdad.

MTV has posted a story about Walid and Saif, two of the students. They haven't heard from or seen their friends in days.

Read the story here.

Even though we didn't actually meet these students, watching and listening to their stories made you feel as though you know them. And when you know someone in a place like Baghdad, it casts a different light on things.

Think about this:

A lawyer risked his life to help rescue a captured American soldier - we would all do well to honor his act of humanity and selflessness.

The next time you watch CNN, imagine you know that terrified family just rousted out of their house at gunpoint - see how it changes the way you feel about the war.

Friday, April 04, 2003

Heroes come in all shapes

Details about Pfc. Jessica Lynch's injuries and treatment while being held by Iraqi "troops" vary from report to report, day to day. Early reports stated she had been shot several times, even stabbed in hand-to-hand combat. These details are now in question. But there seems to be no doubt that she performed in combat with the utmost bravery, fighting until her ammunition was gone.

A story of another hero has emerged from this drama. It is the Iraqi lawyer, a resident of anNasariyah, known only as Mohammed, who discovered that Pfc. Lynch was in the hospital. He informed Marines stationed nearby, and spent two days gathering information and drawing maps to aid the Marines in a rescue mission.

He even reported that the Iraqis intended to amputate Pfc. Lynch's leg, but created a diversion to stop the operation.

Mohammed and his wife and child have been taken to a safe place and have been granted refugee status. He risked his life and the life of his family to help one of ours. He too deserves the mantel of Hero.

Read the stories: at the Marines official web site and at CNN