Ironies and fantasies

Sunday, March 14, 2004

After last week’s posting on Al Gore’s speech, I saw a bit of Rumsfeld’s interview on CBS’s Face the Nation today. Asked about what he thought of the WMD theory now, Rumsfeld started off on one his long, involved “explanations” by saying that the investigation had 1200 people on the ground who had about 85% completed their job, holding up the possibility that wmd could still be found, and he said these things even after being shown a clip from David Kay’s testimony that “…we were all wrong…”. It’s as if the Administration was still blind to any facts that do not meet their predetermined view of “we know that Saddam Hussein has Weapons of Mass Destruction”. You’d think they would at least be hedging a bit instead of repeating the same old stuff many no longer believe and stop blaming the CiA for their own failure to correctly interpret the intelligence that was available. The Administration seems to think that something eventually will just turn up that will justify all the death, destruction, and lawlessness they have visited on Iraq, as Rumsfeld goes on to talk about the “millions” of documents that have to be gone through and their suspicions that there’s “more to be learned”.

Curiously, no one brings up the subject of the rush to war. No one asks, What was the hurry?! Why not wait for actual facts on the ground rather than accept the unprovable? It is the rush to battle that makes people question the Administration’s motives and agenda. What did they have to lose by giving the inspectors time to finish their investigations of 2003? Why summarily throw them out in February after only 2 months? Fear that the war would lose what they’d been selling the public as its rationale? Even more important, why were so many swayed by the Administration’s insistence that they knew what reason should have told them they didn’t know at all?

(The above sections corrected, edited, amplified, and reposted on March 16, 2004)

A quote from Michael Ignatieff’s piece in the New York Times Magazine today:

An administration that cared more genuinely about human rights would have understood that you can’t have human rights without order and that you can’t have order once victory is won if planning for an invasion is divorced from planning for an occupation. The administration failed to grasp that from the first moment an American tank column took a town, there had to be military police and civilian administrators following behind to guard museums, hospitals, water-pumping stations and electricity generators and to stop looting, revenge killings and crime. Securing order would have meant putting 250,000 troops into the invasion as opposed to 130,000. It would have meant immediately retaining and retraining the Iraqi Army and police, instead of disbanding them. The administration, which never tires of telling us that hope is not a plan, had only hope for a plan in Iraq.”

I’m not sure I follow the reasoning Mr. Ignatieff gives for supporting the effort to remove Saddam except that he appears to have accepted the theory that since Saddam had used chemical weapons before, he could not be trusted not to use them again or try to pass on what he was building to terror groups. The Iran war took place in the 80’s (1980-1988). Chemical weapons were used against the Kurds in 1988. Something must have changed inside Saddam’s military as they were not used against Kuwait or in the 1991 Gulf War in spite of our fears to the contrary.

Now, after a year of ad hoc blunders in Iraq, newspapers report efforts to secure Iraq’s long borders. Why wait for a year? Would Sistani have come back if the border between Iran and Iraq had not been almost totally open? But little or no thought was apparently given to the need to secure against fundamentalists from other countries which could not be done anyway with only 130,000 troops.

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I bought a DVD player on sale thinking I could just hook it to my present TV. Ha! The old thing, which still works great just has no inputs other than one for Cable. So I guess I’ll have to invest in a new TV even though I don’t really need one just so I can rent DVD’s and watch the movies I’ve missed. Life in America! How we get trapped into spending our hard-earned dollars on the latest technology. A digital TV is way off my retirement budget. Just too expensive. I could wait until the price comes down in a year or so, but what if it doesn’t? And all the new sets have gotten almost too big for my living room.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Another blunder coming?

Today’s Washington Post has a piece on the failure of Iraqis to agree on their Interim Constitution . I can’t help feeling an impending US blunder in the making, and perhaps more than one. The Shiites appear to be making a power grab, and Ahmed Chalabi has joined the Ayatollah Sistani for his own advantage. If Sistani’s group gets its way, and Chalabi becomes its political leader, what happens to everyone else in Iraq? A five-man Presidency seems a wierd idea and recipe for weakness and takeover by a strongman. What kind of deals is Chalabi making behind the scenes? Does he think he can manipulate the Shia’s the way he did the Americans? After his gulling of the Administration before the Invasion-Occupation, you’d think they’d be suspicious of any move he makes to consolidate power to his own advantage, but they’re sitting back and letting events play out. Sistani has been called a moderate, but people change when power is in their hands. If the links between Iraq and Iran continue to strengthen, then Iraq could be headed down the path of fundamentalism that the US has spent at least 20 years trying to isolate.——————————————————-

Today I have found on the internet a speech given by former Vice President Al Gore on the Politics of Fear. This speech was given at the New School University in New York and can be found here . It is a webcast of his speech. He is far harsher than I was back in October of 2002, and says passionately that the Bush Administration has used the fear produced by the plane attacks of 9/11 to manipulate and mislead the American people into believing his statements on the complicity of Iraq in the twin tower tragedy, to believe the insistance that he, Bush, knew that Iraq had WMD and Nuclear weapons, to swallow fictitious link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda, and allow the violation of constitutional rights in the arrest and holding without trial of American citizens. He gets at the media appeal to emotion rather than reason as the motivator for action.

Posted on March 6, 2004, in Politics, US Foreign Policy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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