Daily Archives: January 10, 2004

Commentary

I’ve posted a lot lately, but didn’t write most of it myself. Now, maybe it’s my turn again.

The Orange Alert has been reduced to Yellow. Lots of state governments, localities, and cities can finally stop spending all that useless money to make us safe from really bad intelligence. What was thought be real threats turned out to be nothing more than the result of the government’s overheated imagination ruled by fear and paranoia. One more time we have irritated many of our friends, especially with the new requirements for fingerprints and photos for visitors from some other countries, and accomplished nothing. Our much vaunted “intelligence” is a bad joke as is the department of Homeland Security. The latter name itself is stupid and tasteless, and it rings in the ears of many of my generation with unwelcome echoes of the Third Reich. The only chance for security is good reliable human intelligence and police work that cooperates with other countries while keeping a low profile. Shouting about alerts may deter bombers for awhile, but only until they figure where the holes in our vaunted security are.

Ousted former Treasury Secretary O’Neill, in a new book (The Price of Loyalty) to appear soon has called Bush the “blind man in a roomful of deaf people” which has connotations with some of my earlier thoughts about this President not being in real control of his own presidency. He raises money, spouts sales pitches for whatever is the current Idea, and lets his handlers wreak havoc on our nation’s economy, civil rights, social programs, education, and environment. All in the name of favors for his business pals. I used to think that Chaney was in charge, but now I have a feeling that no one is. Internationally, things seem to be going Powell’s way with India and Pakistan starting to dialogue instead of shooting, Libya giving up its WMD, Iran letting in IAEA inspectors, and Korea making noises about easing it’s stance on continuing its nuclear programs and letting in a group of 5 non governmental American inspectors to check out its nuclear plant, but who knows how long this will last. O’Neil also is also reported to say that the Iraq war was planned in advance of 9/11/2001. He’s not the first to make this charge, but it rings true even if the plan was on the shelf until 9/11 prompted its active push.

The New York Times has an editorial today which finally catches up to idea that there were no threatening WMD, and no nuclear program to speak of in Iraq. Some of us knew this back in 2002 when they first started shouting about the need for war, and constantly repeated the same lies.

Things there still seem pretty awful in parts of the country. We evidently succeeded in killing 2 policemen in Kirkuk and wounding others. Great way to win hearts and minds! The Kurds are saying they want a federalist state they can finally call Kurdistan, and if they succeed the country we know as Iraq may cease to exist again.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

More blog diaries from Iraq

These are by the same woman as before.

“it is five in the evening.
Electricity just came back, it has been off since five in the morning. I wonder always how families who do not own an electricity generator or have a subscription with a neighborhood one manage washing their clothes or heating their houses since the alternatives are also scarce in the markets. Kerosene and cooking gas are almost totally unavailable on the market and if you find them they are expansive. And when it comes to gasoline, the lines in front of gas stations are so long they go on for kilometers and are amazing and funny.
Life feels harsh and gloomy. Before the war we were for years under sanctions and we got used slowly to the situation. How to survive and manage in our reality. And although we were cut off from the rest of the world (no sat TV, no communication and no internet) everything was banned, prohibited or very regulated, but we were happier than we are now.
I do not know exactly why, but we were like a family living its troubles and secrets, the good ones and the bad ones, in a house that had closed doors and windows. The people abroad would wonder about us, some like us some hate us but we didn’t care much because like many other people each one of us was living his life with its infinite details and sorrows, and having ambitions for a better tomorrow.
And Today, the doors have been pulled out, noise and chaos rule the big house and the people who live in are killing each other, they are stealing from each other and hurting each other. I ask myself where did all this hate hide for so long?
And then a lot of strangers came, looking at us, a few want to help but many more want harm for their own announced or hidden reasons. It doesn’t matter, the result stays the same.”

“How do I start my day? I driver comes to drive me to my work place since I was denied the driving of my own car, it stands there covered in the garage since almost 6 months because of all the incidents.
On my way I go thru the airport highway where all the trees have been cut down for fear of people hiding amongst them attacking the American forces the road looks sad and deserted now, then suddenly speeding convoys of Humvees go by the end of the convoy is an open car with American soldiers standing pointing their rifles at our civilian cars, afraid of a terrorist act!
I tell the driver to slow down and to try to stay away from them as good as he can, just so that we do not become the victims of a stray bullet coming out of the gun of a soldier who came to liberate Iraq. “

This is the kind of information that average people in America do not hear or see.  It is certainly not anywhere in the media that I have heard, read or seen.  Some of it is heartbreaking.

Her son:

“we were having a simple life..where the basic life needs are available and cheap..where security is not an issue..we used to drive back home at 3 am and feel safe..we lived a life where we didnt have the right to say something about poletics..thats true..and where people were killed for cursing Saddam..thats true..but..at least we had a life..we could leave our places not worrying about the possibiliy of me not taking the insult of an american soldier who insult people on check points and do something stupid…am afraid that “they” would kill me by mistake..am afraid that anyone of my family could get the same thing…am afraid that they will break suddenly into my place looking for someone or something and distroy and steal everythingn in the process..am afraid..to critisize the americans..cause Bramer actually made a law for that saying that any kind of inflaming feeling against the ocupation will be considered as an attack or something..am afraid to go back home..cause i know that there would be no electricity and that it will be dark and cold..so blue.
believe it ot not guys,,before you we had a life..a slow motion low-teck life? thats true..thanks to *you* we had a life,,,but now…..we dont. “

and again,

“…what if somehow..Lets say Russia occupied your country (which “happens” to be a really rich country with oil and other resources) and actually destroyed the whole country..Killed civilians..Used cluster bombs..Chemical weapons(believe it or not..I have the pictures of the dead bodies)..Destroyed houses..Caused the looting of the whole governmental system..The ministries..All the police stations and fire departments..Airports..Whatever you think..And after that..They make a new TV and newspaper and radio station and start telling you how happy you should be and how grateful you must be for them for liberating you..And a while after..They put the pictures of your country president (doenst matter if you hate him or not) on TV with people playing with his face….Now take a moment..Close your eyes..Look through the window..And imagine that everything you c is destroyed..Every place you love is either bombed or looted..Everyone you love is probably dead or injured..And add to that a vey cold weather..No electricity..No petrol..Now open your eyes and tell me…Does it really matte if the soldiers or their families are kind people? “

Good question!