a defining moment

The images that the Bush Administration has been waiting for all along were on the news networks, from the U.S. to the Arab World (via Al-Jazeera), today. The most powerful of these was of course the picture of the dragging of the Saddam statue by the Marines and a cheering crowd of civilians.


saddam.jpg

Regardless of whether one supports the war or opposes it, it’s hard to take issue with the toppling of Saddam or his statues. His ouster was a foregone conclusion from Day One of the war.
But the key question is: what now? Will this moment lead to something positive for Iraq? A truly representative government and the rebuilding of the country? Or simply a puppet government friendly to the oil giants, a la Hamid Karzai? The Bush Administation has already announced that it’s going to hold a meeting with 43 Iraqi “leaders”. The man whose name keeps coming up is Ahmed Chalabi, a man who hasn’t actually lived in Iraq since 1958, who has had very shady financial dealings in Jordan, and who is generally reviled in Iraq (see Salam Pax’s blog on this last bit). The CIA has repeatedly warned against Chalabi, but he benefits from the strong support of the Pentagon.
Meanwhile, the rumor mill continues, with one report claiming that Condoleeza Rice negotiated an exile deal for Saddam with the Russians. Like my mother says, where do they get this stuff?

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14 Responses to “a defining moment”

  1. Omar Says:

    There’s not much we can say about today’s events….its pretty annoying hearing these pro-war radio talk show hosts babble about how right they were. I’m not sure what they were right about….noone had a doubt we’d easily defeat Saddam and his 3rd world army.

  2. Erik Says:

    At least as important as the question of government is the question of trade and industry. A country whose major industries are in the hands of foreign multi-nationals is still not free. Iraq could well end up an American commercial colony, if not a military one.

  3. Erik Says:

    Oh, and where are the weapons of mass-destruction this war was about? If, as a labour minister here claimed yesterday on BBC1, Saddam was too intimidated to use them when Baghdad fell, how could he have been a threat to world peace before? And if the Americans know for a fact that he has them, why can’t they yet produce these weapons?

  4. Sean Says:

    Lets just hope the pro-war goons were right. Let’s hope the rest of this war ends swiftly without too much more loss of life and the transition to a credible democracy in Iraq is swift and (relatively) painless.

    Erik, I think finding (or not)WMD is now a non-issue. If the “co-alition” wanted to find Elvis’s grave in Iraq I’m sure they could. All they’d need to do is call up the guys at Fox for “independent verification” – before you know it Basra would be the new Presley mecca.

  5. Big John Says:

    “noone had a doubt we’d easily defeat Saddam and his 3rd world army.”

    Excuse me? That’s not what I was hearing just 10 days ago! And if his army was so weak, why was it considered so dangerous by his neighbors?

    “A country whose major industries are in the hands of foreign multi-nationals is still not free.”

    You mean a country like “America”? BTW, isn’t the term “foreign multi-nationals” an oxymoron?

    “Oh, and where are the weapons of mass- destruction this war was about? If, as a labour minister here claimed yesterday on BBC1, Saddam was too intimidated to use them when Baghdad fell, how could he have been a threat to world peace before? And if the Americans know for a fact that he has them, why can’t they yet produce these weapons?”

    One, it’s still very early.

    Two, have you ever considered that Saddam might be dead, and no one was willing to use them without orders?

    Three, war chemicals have been found in the Euphrates river water, apparently dumped there by retreating Iraqi troops. Not very sanitary.

    Four, there is a possibility that Saddam cleared out chemical stocks by sending them to terrorist organizations just before the war.

    Five, it really doesn’t matter! Saddam violated every blessed UN resolution since day one, and has been shown to be training terrorists within Iraq, among other things.

    I do realize some will deny all evidence found as ‘planted’ or some such. They are the same people that said Iraq would fight to the death for Saddam. Sorry if I am annoying you…

  6. enrique Says:

    although I consider this war an aggression to a sovereign country, not having been authorized by UN, I am glad is almost over. I wish the better for the Iraqui people.

  7. moorishgirl Says:

    BigJohn:
    None of Saddam’s neighbors (with the exception of Kuwait) came out to say that they thought he was a threat. In fact, it is for that very reason that we have received little help from them.

    The concern about foreign oil companies going in isn’t so much about who gets the oil. It’s about what happens to the people. Will they truly benefit from the natural resources of their country and have a representative government? Or will the oil be in the hands of a junta that will essentially replicate Saddam’s rule? That’s a legitimate concern and again we shall see what happens.

    As for WMD, we’ve heard several conflicting reports so far. Every time the troops come across something it’s touted as a smoking gun and then later dismissed. It’s best to let this thing play itself out. BTW, Judith Miller reported a while back in the NY Times that there is a list of sites that our military plans on checking out once the country is secure. Why that list wasn’t passed on to the UN inspectors (who kept asking for it every time we claimed to have intelligence on WMD) is anyone’s guess.

  8. erik Says:

    If weapons of mass destrcution no longer matter what were the UN resolutions about? The majority were aimed at forcing Saddam to disarm.
    Also, if this war is about the violating of UN resolutions, what about the resolutions Israel is violating at the moment by still occupying and settling Palestinian territory?

  9. JeanNINE Says:

    I couldn’t feel very celebratory over the jubilation in the streets the other day, either. I wish so much that I could, but I can’t…

    I’m most concerned about what the US will do to help Iraq re-build itself AFTER the war. – Because did we REALLY help liberate Afghanistan? Not like I’d hoped. And what about Osama Bin Laden? Is he still alive? – Why have we heard so little about what we’ve done to help them, after going in and blowing THAT country up to find our villain after 9-11?

    I’m really frightened that we won’t be honorable, and that the people of Iraq will be let down, and that Saddam will live on, un-imprisoned.

    Only time will tell, which bothers me. I don’t have much faith in the US doing the right thing over there, once the blowing up is done. After 9/11, GW Bush had my ear. I waited to see how he would handle things, and for a fleeting moment, it seemed like he was doing things right…but then…what happened? Our criminal is still at large, and Afghanistan is in ruins. CONGRESS had to put in a budget for Afghanistan this year, the Bush Administration originally planned NOTHING in the budget for Afghanistan. Why did they decide to start another fire, when the previous fire is still going? And then the media never even talks about Afghanistan anymore…it’s “yesterday’s news.” – But it shouldn’t be. It really, really distresses me.

    I want to enjoy living in America, but I can’t. I’m starting to feel like I have an irresponsible parent in office, who is bullying everyone, and not fulfilling his promises, and giving us all a really bad reputation. Oh but the MEDIA is making sure that everything “looks” like he’s taking care of us…I ain’t buying it.

    The tearing down of the statue was a gigantic photo op. And I’m SCARED that because of that, more people have “bought it,” and now Bush’s approval rating will gone up, and he will get re-elected for this “successful war.” And then, you just watch him “liberate” other countries in the Middle East over the next four years. – That is my fear… :o/

    (Sorry, I guess I had to vent)!

  10. Big John Says:

    “..if this war is about the violating of UN resolutions, what about the resolutions Israel is violating at the moment by still occupying and settling Palestinian territory?”

    Actually, I am with you on that point. Israel is a criminal state, propped up by the US. The Palestinian people are in just as bad a hell as the Iraqis were. I blame Christianity, Zionism’s fellow-traveller.

    “And what about Osama Bin Laden? Is he still alive? – Why have we heard so little about what we’ve done to help them, after going in and blowing THAT country up to find our villain after 9-11?”

    We blew up the Taliban, not the country. Unlike Saddam, no one can argue that the Taliban was not responsible for 9/11.

    That land is dirt poor, and always has been. Just how many billions shall we pour into that particular black hole? I know this sounds brutal, but economics doesn’t care what we would do, just what we can do.

    OBL was (and I mean WAS) not our ‘villian’, but one of the leaders of a large terrorist organization bent on killing as many Americans as possible. After us, they would move on to all other non-muslims, and then muslims that don’t toe their radical line. He is dead now, because if he weren’t, nothing on earth could stop him from making numerous ‘in your face’ videos.

    “Why did they decide to start another fire, when the previous fire is still going?”

    IMO, it’s the same fire, and we did not start it. 8 years of Clinton the weak convinced these monsters that America was decadent and scared to take losses, just as they often claim. Now they know better. It is often said that arabs only respect strengh.

    Consider that the example of Iraq might just put new ideas in the minds of other downtrodden peoples in the middle east. Iran springs to mind.

    “I’m starting to feel like I have an irresponsible parent in office, who is bullying everyone, and not fulfilling his promises, and giving us all a really bad reputation.”

    Us Americans are doing the bullying, not George Bush. Promises? He says what will happen under certain circumstances, and follows thru, both at home and abroad. Sounds pretty ‘fulfilling’ to me. And the question of reputation is highly debatable, IMHO. The eastern europeans hold us in very high esteem, but then they have recent experience with tyrants, unlike the French. The arabs? I’d rather they respect us than love us.

    “The tearing down of the statue was a gigantic photo op. And I’m SCARED that because of that, more people have “bought it,” and now Bush’s approval rating will gone up, and he will get re- elected for this “successful war.” And then, you just watch him “liberate” other countries in the Middle East over the next four years.”

    You’re right! I WAS pretty leery of this whole deal, and then I saw that ‘photo op’ and BOOM, all my reasonable doubts were washed away on an unthinking tide of raw patriotism! How could I have been such an easy touch?! I’m so ashamed…

  11. moorishgirl Says:

    BigJohn, I’m disturbed by your claim that “It is often said that arabs only respect strengh.” What are they? Mules? You’re talking about 400 million people here, and a little nuance wouldn’t hurt.

  12. JeanNINE Says:

    Big John, how can you say that we blew up The Taliban, and not the country? As if our bombs and weapons of destruction pin-pointed them, and didn’t devastate the country even further? How can you make light of the people in that “hole” who had as much faith and hope in America helping them build their nation back up, just as the Iraqi people want to have faith in us too?

    With great power comes great responsibility. – I do not see our nation’s power being followed up by responsibility at ALL. -Not since WWII. But I hope to God/Goddess/Whatever is higher than I – that this time, the responsiblity WILL follow. I sure am watching and waiting.

    If Osama Bin Laden and ALL of the Taliban is dead, and did not escape somewhere underground to continue their operations in another country, please point me in the direction of those headlines, because I sure would like for my mind to be put at ease.

    I am troubled by anyone who is able to generalize many different races around the globe, with the assertation that they all *should* bow before the US and respect (i.e. fear) us. When taken to extremes, that seems to be the very mindset that makes great nations crumble. Being proud of the country we live in is one thing, but being prideful to the point of arrogance…I’ve seen many nations who’ve done that through the course of history, and were very sorry that they did. I hope that this country doesn’t choose to learn the hard way too.

  13. Big John Says:

    “I am troubled by anyone who is able to generalize many different races around the globe, with the assertation that they all *should* bow before the US and respect (i.e. fear) us.”

    I didn’t say they should fear us, just that they need to understand we are not going to be assaulted with impunity. We are NOT decadent, as is claimed in some quarters. (with the possible exception of San Francisco…)

    “When taken to extremes, that seems to be the very mindset that makes great nations crumble.”

    I agree. I just don’t agree that it’s being taken to extremes. Or taken at all, for that matter.

    “Being proud of the country we live in is one thing, but being prideful to the point of arrogance…I’ve seen many nations who’ve done that through the course of history, and were very sorry that they did. I hope that this country doesn’t choose to learn the hard way too.”

    Please point to America’s arrogance, okay? This war will cost us BIG BUCKS, not to mention a number of real, irreplaceable lives. I fail to see any financial recompense. Oh, I forgot, it’s all a plot by Big Oil. We suckers suffer, and they make out like bandits. Uh huh.

    Regardless, I perceive a deep seated abhorrence torward tyranny in many Americans. It’s a common disease in free countries. If that’s arrogance, let’s have some more o’ that!

    Invading France, now THAT would be arrogance…

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