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Hullabaloo


Friday, November 21, 2003

 
Freedom

Thanks to Yglesias and Atrios for linking to this piece of shit by James Lileks and getting my blood pumping this morning:

Hey, Salam? Fuck you. I know you’re the famous giggly blogger who gave us all a riveting view of the inner circle before the war, and thus know more about the situation than I do. Granted. But there's a picture on the front page of my local paper today: third Minnesotan killed in Iraq. He died doing what you never had the stones to do: pick up a rifle and face the Ba'athists. You owe him.



Utter, fucking bullshit. The Iraqis owe us nothing. Absolutely nothing. We did not invade their country for their sake, we did it for ours. (The exact reasons, of course, are subject to change depending upon available facts and gullibility of the audience.) It was a war of choice. Any sacrifice our soldiers have made is on behalf of the United States of America and it is only the United States of America that owes them gratitude for it.

Iraq is their country. They have every right to criticize the way we are handling the invasion and occupation of that country. They do not answer to us either morally or legally.

It is unbelievably arrogant (not to mention shockingly blind to the very concept of "liberty" we are supposed to be promoting) to suggest that our invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation subjects the citizens of that nation to a requirement that they not only refrain from criticizing the fact that we've allowed the country to descend into chaos, but that they should actually be grateful for it. As the man who makes Midge Dector quiver with septuagenarian lust once said, "freedom is untidy."

Life under Saddam was undoubtedly terrible. But, daily life in a war zone is hardly an improvement. Here's a post from Riverbend on Tuesday. I'm sure she should realize how much she owes America for the freedom they've brought her but somehow she seems more concerned with the fact that ordinary people are being randomly bombed out of their homes and rousted out of their bedrooms in the middle of the night:


They've been bombing houses in Tikrit and other areas! Unbelievable… I'm so angry it makes me want to break something!!!! What the hell is going on?! What do the Americans think Tikrit is?! Some sort of city of monsters or beasts? The people there are simple people. Most of them make a living off of their land and their livestock- the rest are teachers, professors and merchants- they have lives and families… Tikrit is nothing more than a bunch of low buildings and a palace that was as inaccessible to the Tikritis as it was to everyone else!

People in Al Awja suffered as much as anyone, if not more- they weren't all related to Saddam and even those who were, suffered under his direct relatives. Granted, his bodyguards and others close to him were from Tikrit, but they aren't currently in Tikrit- the majority have struck up deals with the CPA and are bargaining for their safety and the safety of their families with information. The people currently in Tikrit are just ordinary people whose homes and children are as precious to them as American homes and children are precious to Americans! This is contemptible and everyone thinks so- Sunnis and Shi'a alike are shaking their heads incredulously.

And NO- I'm not Tikriti- I'm not even from the 'triangle'- but I know simple, decent people who ARE from there and just the thought that this is being done is so outrageous it makes me want to scream. How can that ass of a president say things are getting better in Iraq when his troops have stooped to destroying homes?! Is that a sign that things are getting better? When you destroy someone's home and detain their family, why would they want to go on with life? Why wouldn't they want to lob a bomb at some 19-year-old soldier from Missouri?!

The troops were pushing women and children shivering with fear out the door in the middle of the night. What do you think these children think to themselves- being dragged out of their homes, having their possessions and houses damaged and burned?! Who do you think is creating the 'terrorists'?!! Do you think these kids think to themselves, "Oh well- we learned our lesson. That's that. Yay troops!" It's like a vicious, moronic circle and people are outraged…

The troops are claiming that the attacks originate from these areas- the people in the areas claim the attacks are coming from somewhere else… I really am frightened of what this is going to turn into. People seem to think that Iraq is broken into zones and areas- ethnically and religiously divided. That's just not true- the majority of people have relatives all over Iraq. My relatives extend from Mosul, all the way down to Basrah- we all feel for each other and it makes decent people crazy to see this happening.

There have also been a string of raids all over Baghdad, but especially in Al-A'adhamiya. They've detained dozens of people with the excuse that they own more than one weapon. Who owns less than two weapons? Everyone has at least one Klashnikov and a couple of guns. Every male in the house is usually armed and sometimes the females are too. It's not because we love turning our homes into arsenals, but because the situation was so dangerous (and in some areas still is) that no one wants to take any risks. Imagine the scene: a blue mini-van pulls up… 10 dirty, long-haired men clamber out with Klashnikovs, pistols and grenades and demand all the gold and the kids (for ransom). Now imagine trying to face them all with a single handgun… if Baghdad were SECURE people would give up their weapons. I hate having weapons in the house.

I'm so tired. These last few days have been a strain on every single nerve in my body. The electricity has been out for the last three days and while the weather is pleasant, it really is depressing.



This is one good reason why nations should think twice before they try to justify their foreign adventurism as acts of "liberation." Oddly enough, people often believe that once they are liberated they should actually be, you know, free.


And speaking of freedom, it's comforting to know, at least, that General Buck Turgidson...er Tommy Franks, is no longer in the military:

Gen. Tommy Franks says that if the United States is hit with a weapon of mass destruction that inflicts large casualties, the Constitution will likely be discarded in favor of a military form of government.

Franks, who successfully led the U.S. military operation to liberate Iraq, expressed his worries in an extensive interview he gave to the men’s lifestyle magazine Cigar Aficionado.

In the magazine’s December edition, the former commander of the military’s Central Command warned that if terrorists succeeded in using a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) against the U.S. or one of our allies, it would likely have catastrophic consequences for our cherished republican form of government.

Discussing the hypothetical dangers posed to the U.S. in the wake of Sept. 11, Franks said that “the worst thing that could happen” is if terrorists acquire and then use a biological, chemical or nuclear weapon that inflicts heavy casualties.

If that happens, Franks said, “... the Western world, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we’ve seen for a couple of hundred years in this grand experiment that we call democracy.”

Franks then offered “in a practical sense” what he thinks would happen in the aftermath of such an attack.

“It means the potential of a weapon of mass destruction and a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world – it may be in the United States of America – that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event. Which in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution. Two steps, very, very important.”

Franks didn’t speculate about how soon such an event might take place.

Already, critics of the U.S. Patriot Act, rushed through Congress in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, have argued that the law aims to curtail civil liberties and sets a dangerous precedent.

But Franks’ scenario goes much further. He is the first high-ranking official to openly speculate that the Constitution could be scrapped in favor of a military form of government.

...

Franks ended his interview with a less-than-optimistic note. “It’s not in the history of civilization for peace ever to reign. Never has in the history of man. ... I doubt that we’ll ever have a time when the world will actually be at peace.”


Franks is one of those good-ole boy Generals who hated Wesley Clark. Clearly, it was because Clark reads something other than comic books.






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