Wednesday, October 23, 2002
The End of the Beginning of the End in Baghdad?

My gut feeling is that when operation Extreme Justice or whatever the hell they're going to call Gulf War II gets started, that the Iraqi people will probably take care of Saddam and his ruling clique before the U.S. forces even make their way to Baghdad. I hadn't thought about the comparison with Ceausescu, but it is an apt one. It was said that when they were trying to round up a firing squad to take care of the Romanian maximum leader and his wife, that mobs of people volunteered for the job.

For all the hoo-ha in the last week or so about moustache boy's great victory in his "elections" (and why is it that so many news sources -- CNN and Reuters being two of the main offenders -- treated this farce as though it were an exercise in legitimate democracy?) and the general amnesty in Iraq, Saddam rules by fear and fear alone. This coupled with the fact that Iraq has a reputation for being a nation of mercenaries leads me to think that once the Iraqis see that Dubya means business this time they'll cast off their own yoke quickly.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002
Death to Infidels, continued

Another Mark Steyn piece, basically on the same subject.

I think his best point, and it bears repeating for the "root causes" crowd, that you can make any argument you want about poverty, or American soldiers in Saudi Arabia, or the Palestinians. But when the bad guys say they are out to kill infidels because they are infidels, it might be worthwhile taking them at their word.

Monday, October 21, 2002
Death to us Infidels...

Another well-argued piece by Mark Steyn knocking more holes in the "root causes" argument about terrorism. If it's all about America's treatment of Iraq, or America's support for Israel, then why would Islamic terrorists blow up a nightclub in Bali filled with Aussies, Krauts and Scandinavians?

Answer: It's not about America, it's about killing infidels. Killing Jews and Americans is best. However, if you can't find any of them, other Westerners will do just fine.

I type these lines with a heavy heart, since we've just had another bombing here. Sigh...

Sunday, October 20, 2002
Extremists, Naifs, and the Squishy Middle

Today's post has to do with trees and forests. Or, at what point do you question how your opposition to something helps out something much worse?

I've been thinking about this while reading about the recent anti-war protests. There are, I am sure, a lot of people out there who aren't as solid in their beliefs as I am that Saddam has gots to be got and that this will have to be done by force instead of diplomacy.

On the other hand, I'm sure these same people -- let's call them the squishy majority of the anti-war crowd -- do not support the political agendas of a lot of the groups spearheading the anti-war movement. In a recent Salon (available for free here), Michelle Goldberg took a look at a number of these groups, chief among them the International Action Center. What she found was a spectrum of extreme Left opinion ranging from old-timey Smash-the-Capitalist-System Marxists to out-and-out Saddam apologists. On the same note, Christopher Hitchens, the most visible gadfly on the Left hand side of the dial, takes a lot of his former comrades to task for their support of Stalinist regimes and Third-World criminals.

The key to the extremists at the head of the anti-war movement is that they either support Saddam outright or believe him to be less evil than George W. What I'm trying to figure out is how the squishy majority squares this same circle. How bad does a regime have to get before it becomes legitimate to remove it by force?

This same question came to me when reading this piece in last Friday's Haaretz magazine about some activists from the movement opposing Iraqi sanctions. A number of these gentle, deluded souls have decided to hole up in Baghdad, hoping that their presence their will help stop the war.

My sympathy goes out to these people. Their hearts are in the right place, but their actions in opposition to the sanctions regime are helping Saddam. It should be pointed out that Iraqi suffering comes not directly because of sanctions, but because the Iraqi government has been stealing the food and medicine allowed into the country and selling them for weapons. The suffering of the Iraqi people is one of Saddam's best propaganda tools.

The activists interviewed do everything they can to avoid looking at the big picture. When asked -- and they are asked repeatedly -- about their views on Saddam, his human rights violations, and his weapons of mass destruction, they invariably responde with obfuscation, subject-changing, or "I don't know anything about that."

In effect, they have turned into Saddam's dupes. Their activities help keep him in power and, as such, prolong the suffering of the people they want to help.