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hussein dead?
April 7, 2003 7:39 PM   Subscribe

msnbc report all the major media are reporting a huge strike that may have killed hussein and perhaps his sons.
posted by muppetboy (69 comments total)

 
although i don't support the means to the end, i would be truly overjoyed to see the end of hussein's monstrous regime. if this report is true, let's pray that whatever follows is kinder to the iraqi people.
posted by muppetboy at 7:43 PM on April 7, 2003


Why is the war about assassinating Hussein? I thought our mission was to disarm Iraq. Or is our mission just a military sanctioned assassination, is it about finding WMD, or is it about liberating the Iraqi citizens? Which is it?
posted by banished at 7:49 PM on April 7, 2003


Ohh... and if Bush gave Hussein the option to leave the country to avert war, why is it so important that we assassinate him?
posted by banished at 7:50 PM on April 7, 2003


Thanks muppetboy for providing something we could have seen on all the major media.
posted by Jimbob at 7:57 PM on April 7, 2003


But at what price? The intelligence information was considered so reliable that it justified a massive attack in a residential area despite the administration’s declared emphasis on avoiding civilian casualties.
posted by aladfar at 7:57 PM on April 7, 2003


you bet jimbob! ;-)
posted by muppetboy at 8:02 PM on April 7, 2003


"What a world...what a world..."
posted by ColdChef at 8:02 PM on April 7, 2003


Remember: it's MSNBC; not necessarily EmesNBC.

By the way, how much MS is left in MSNBC?
posted by ParisParamus at 8:02 PM on April 7, 2003


oh my, the US army was able to kill Saddam, that's like me squashing an ant. The big test is the rebuilding, and how much freedom the Iraqis have to rebuild their country.
posted by jbou at 8:08 PM on April 7, 2003


More BS then MS as far as I can tell.
posted by elwoodwiles at 8:09 PM on April 7, 2003


Remember: it's MSNBC; not necessarily EmesNBC

ParisP, I totally disagree with your politics, but this is funny. (For the Judaic-deprived, emes is the Ashkenazic, usual in America, pronunciation of Hebrew emeth 'truth.' As the redundant saying goes, "It's the emmes truth!")
posted by languagehat at 8:10 PM on April 7, 2003


Nah, jbou, the biggest test will be the real impact (positive or negative) the war has on regional stability, and islamist terrorism. Keep an eye on those ones.
posted by Jimbob at 8:11 PM on April 7, 2003


languagehat: thanks. And don't be so sure you disagree with my politics.

Isn't it great how the Jews control the media, and Israel controls the President of the United States?!
posted by ParisParamus at 8:20 PM on April 7, 2003


I love it when the media reports that something may have happened.
posted by xmutex at 8:21 PM on April 7, 2003


sometimes I wonder if ParisParamus is a closet liberal with a really strange sense of humor.
posted by elwoodwiles at 8:25 PM on April 7, 2003


I actually wish we could catch that sonofabitch and put him on trial. In fact, I'd like to send that message to every sonofabitch dictator around the world: You're next, buddy. We'll catch you in your sleep and haul your ass in.

In a way, I like the cowboy mentality today: sheriff's in town, boys - clean up your act.
posted by tgrundke at 8:31 PM on April 7, 2003


I knew I could count on MeFi to deliver some indignation and resentment at the news of the possible death of Saddam.
posted by gyc at 8:36 PM on April 7, 2003


Response: Metafilter is like stage acting. All your gestures need to be exagerated in order to be understood by the audience.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:43 PM on April 7, 2003


If there's a really, really bad man living in [some unnamed] city, is it OK to blow up the city to get the really bad man? Even if hundreds or thousands of innocent people die in the attack?

Wait a minute here. Doesn't this represent a perverse mirror image of the current US Utilitarian argument that it's OK to torture one, or several, terrorists to save the lives of many innocents (from a terrorist attack which could cause mass civilian casualties)...

It's now OK to kill many innocents to get one really Bad man (and his very bad sons too).

From: America

To: The Iraqi war casualties

Sorry [dead] mothers and fathers, sorry [dead] children. We had to get that really bad man, for he might have killed some innocent American people sometime in the future. We had to do it. And please forgive us if you aren't killed but merely have had your arms blown off.



Later on in your life you'll see the wisdom in what we've done.

posted by troutfishing at 8:45 PM on April 7, 2003


U.S. officials tell NBC News some or all could be dead

...or maybe none? Haven't we heard this before? Perhaps he was riding in the thousand vehicle republican guard convoy that didn't actually exist. Or maybe he was in the massive biological weapons factory that was 'discovered' last week. Or the pre-emptive decaptitation shock and awe strike that appears to have actually been an Ah Shucks we missed 'em all strike?

NewsThatThereMightMaybePossiblyBeNewsFilter.
posted by srboisvert at 8:49 PM on April 7, 2003


God, I hope this phase is over. Then we can start arguing madly about the aftermath.
posted by Hackworth at 8:52 PM on April 7, 2003


but then again, i'll believe it when i see the body myself.
posted by Hackworth at 8:53 PM on April 7, 2003


Hackworth: You're probably not the only one. After the fall of the totalitarian regime in Romania, the new government felt it necessary to display Ceausescu's bullet-filled body to ensure a terrified public that his days were in fact over.
posted by gwint at 9:23 PM on April 7, 2003


troutfishing: killing saddam is more about sending the message to his followers that the fight is over; the hope is that once people see that Saddam's regime is truly over, they will give up the fight and we can avoid killing those that would fight to preserve his regime.
posted by reverendX at 9:25 PM on April 7, 2003


ParisP:
Remember: it's MSNBC; not necessarily EmesNBC

it must be late. i must be tired. i just read that as "not necessarily ErnestNBC," and now i'm imagining the late Jim Varney as an NBC war correspondent.

it's not pretty, but it is kind of funny.
posted by grabbingsand at 9:31 PM on April 7, 2003


troutfishing,

In The Leviathan, Hobbes positied the well-worn idea that life is "Nasty, Brutish, and Short." Although the ideas and thoughts you put fourth have quite a bit of merit and elicit a certain amount of empathy, it seems that we, as represented by a physical collection of tubes, chemical reactions, and quantum mechanics, still haven't quite tuned in to the "bigger picture" that governs our existence. Looking at it this way, you can see that for us as a species, as unfortunate as it sounds, the only excuse that can be given for this behavior is that the power of reasoned thought in this kind of a system is elusive for the participants of the system itself. This has been proven in the context of our very own relatively short history as a species. The population boom/bust model is a good check on this system, however. But none of us living will be able to see this theory in action as pertains to our own condition.
posted by Wizzle at 9:38 PM on April 7, 2003


Politics, law, and morality aside, I'm just terrified that we live in a country that sends cruise missiles by the dozen and ordinance by the ton to take out one man.

And I love the justification for taking out an entire residential neighborhood: the intelligence that Saddam was there was reliable. Like they had a responsibility to blow the whole damn hood.

Let's wait and see if he got away this time, too. I bet someone was just waving a paper Saddam mask in a window again. That's how that Iraqui kid got his arms blown off, you know.

Fucking hell.

Paramus: you should be overjoyed. The US is making the Israeli habit of chasing down wanted pedestrians in armored helicopters look restrained
posted by scarabic at 9:38 PM on April 7, 2003


Languagehat: very nice addition to what was destined to be a scary series of comments. And I think Paris isn't even closeted when it comes to most things, it's just Middle East policy that aligns him with the Adminstration nutjobs.

Please keep in mind that it's very late and I could be totally wrong, but my recollection is that Paris has posted polemical things mostly on I/P sort of stuff.
posted by lackutrol at 9:38 PM on April 7, 2003


A) They took down a few buildings, not a neighborhood. If you look at the pictures on the news, you can see other buildings standing behind the ones that got blown up.

B) Killing Saddam will save many more lives on both sides if what's left of the the Iraqi leadership gives up now that they don't have to worry about him killing them.

In other words: GG SADDAM NO RE
posted by Spacelegoman at 9:53 PM on April 7, 2003


Scarabic: It sounds like the U.S. was trying to take out a bunch of Iraqi leaders and destroyed three buildings as opposed to an entire neighborhood.

Otherwise, though, I share your sentiment that dropping bunker-busting bombs on residential areas based on unverified tips is horrifying stuff. This is one of the things that's inevitable in war: Caution is no match for anger, fatigue, and expediency.

If Saddam Hussein and some of his muckety mucks were there, great. But the chance we've gotten bad intelligence and killed more innocents isn't exactly remote.
posted by rcade at 9:55 PM on April 7, 2003


I read this just now and I'll be damned if the very first thing that popped into my head was an image of Michael Palin with a huge shit-eating grin on his face, gleefully exclaiming "Ah! Got him!" after running over Kevin Kline with a steamroller.

Inappropriate, perhaps, especially since (as far as I know) Saddam never jammed any chips (or freedom fries, for that matter) up any of our noses.

All told, if it is true, then good riddance to bad rubbish. I sincerely hope that the loss of civilian life is minimal - but a real opportunity to decapitate the Iraqi regime with this strike is a chance that can not be passed up. War is an ugly, disgusting business; the sooner it is ended the better for everyone. Taking out Saddam is a major step in bringing that end closer.
posted by John Smallberries at 9:58 PM on April 7, 2003


Dangerous precedent. Don't forget that in any conflict there are two sides -- the strategy of assassinating "civilian" leadership can go both ways.
posted by cmacleod at 10:06 PM on April 7, 2003


Fuck you hussein, I hope you ate that motherfucking ordinance.
posted by vito90 at 10:07 PM on April 7, 2003


they will give up the fight and we can avoid killing those that would fight to preserve his regime
Talk about misplaced hope. You know all those Iraqi 'soldiers' who dropped their weapons and walked away? Expect most of them to reappear in the near future as terrorists.
posted by mischief at 10:15 PM on April 7, 2003


Ordnance or ordinance? Or both?
posted by murmur at 10:18 PM on April 7, 2003


Monday finds you like a bomb
That’s been left ticking there too long
You’re bleeding
Some days there's nothing left to learn
From the point of no return
You're leaving

Hey hey I saved the world today
Everybody’s happy now
The bad things gone away
And everybody’s happy now
The good thing’s here to stay
Please let it stay
posted by condour75 at 10:28 PM on April 7, 2003


If we didn't get him this time, we'll get him another time.

We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when
But I know we'll meet again some sunny day.

posted by homunculus at 10:40 PM on April 7, 2003


Spacelegoman - "...B) Killing Saddam will save many more lives" : or killing a bunch of innocent people in the process of killing Saddam, will open (figuratively speaking) the gates of Hell, for who are we Americans to play God? Hasn't the US done a bang-up job of persuading the Islamic world that the US has launched a crusade?


"troutfishing: killing saddam is more about sending the message to his followers that the fight is over; the hope is that once people see that Saddam's regime is truly over, they will give up the fight and we can avoid killing those that would fight to preserve his regime.
posted by reverendX"

revX - all creatures fight most viciously in defense of their home turf, and the US is very efficiently provoking a Pan-Islamic response which sees the entire Mideast region as threatened turf. Iraqis who welcomed the US initially will be fighting US rule in 3-6 months.

wizzle - [re: "you can see that for us as a species, as unfortunate as it sounds, the only excuse that can be given for this behavior is that the power of reasoned thought in this kind of a system is elusive for the participants of the system itself. This has been proven in the context of our very own relatively short history as a species. The population boom/bust model is a good check on this system, however. But none of us living will be able to see this theory in action as pertains to our own condition."] - I quite agree with everything you've said here, except for the "none of us living will be able to see this theory in action" part. I think 1-3 decades will prove your asessment wrong. [and I hope that I am wrong about this]
posted by troutfishing at 10:43 PM on April 7, 2003


Wizzle, I wish you would post more often. I feel you and homunculus give this weblog a sense of buoyancy that is lacking in other parts.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 10:47 PM on April 7, 2003


Dangerous precedent. Don't forget that in any conflict there are two sides -- the strategy of assassinating "civilian" leadership can go both ways.

This is what I was thinking, too. If they knew where he was, I wonder why they couldn't go get him.

Think of the repercussions this will have in North Korea. Like they're going to give up their nukes now.
posted by y2karl at 11:57 PM on April 7, 2003


Now Central Command is backing off a bit on the Saddam kill due to the probable non-kill of "Chemical Ali". "This guy is worse than Freddy Kruger; we've already killed him five times".
posted by Mack Twain at 12:03 AM on April 8, 2003


Why is the war about assassinating Hussein? I thought our mission was to disarm Iraq. Or is our mission just a military sanctioned assassination, is it about finding WMD, or is it about liberating the Iraqi citizens? Which is it?

Well, it might just be possible that we can accomplish more than one thing? Isn't it GOOD that something as serious as war have more than one reason?

Even if hundreds or thousands of innocent people die in the attack?

Sometimes? yes. This is a dictator who has killed 10's of thousands of his own, and would continue to do so in the future if we had let him. The number of casualties in this conflict has been dramatically lower than any similar conflict would have caused int he past... so I think we are doing pretty well.

It sounds like the U.S. was trying to take out a bunch of Iraqi leaders and destroyed three buildings as opposed to an entire neighborhood.

Hey, never let the facts get in the way of good outrage :)
posted by soulhuntre at 12:07 AM on April 8, 2003


Think of the repercussions this will have in North Korea. Like they're going to give up their nukes now.

You don't seriously think they ever WERE going to do that right?
posted by soulhuntre at 12:08 AM on April 8, 2003


Fate of 'Chemical Ali' Remains in Question

Jazeera TV Office Hit in Baghdad Air Raid
posted by homunculus at 12:21 AM on April 8, 2003


I hope they can dig up Saddam and his sons and positively ID them (probably from DNA or something). And maybe nail wooden stakes through their hearts, if there's that much left.

I hate the idea of kids getting maimed by bombs only a little less than I hate the idea of kids being deliberately tortured in front of their parents to get them to talk.
posted by alumshubby at 12:44 AM on April 8, 2003


Maybe if we just keep bombing
Baghdad, until it is a pile of rubble, Sadam will shoot himself in the head, and have his body burned. That way , in thirty years or so, we will all be driving their finely crafted automobiles, and listening to the Iraqi version of Krafftwork.

It worked pretty well with that other guy, (his name escapes me at the moment) I mean, with the exception of the whole "Wall"/"Cold War" thing, it went off without a hitch.
posted by buz46 at 1:04 AM on April 8, 2003


soulhuntre, your ranting is tedious. Why don't you go home, quote some Niven's laws and otherwise display your shallow thoughts to your enormous readership.
posted by y2karl at 1:12 AM on April 8, 2003


Even if hundreds or thousands of innocent people die in the attack?

Sometimes? yes


I love when people make extreme utilitarian arguments.

Perhaps the question should be rephrased: Would you allow your family to be slaughtered if Saddam could be killed? I hope you answered yes.
posted by iamck at 1:43 AM on April 8, 2003


Anyone read troutfishing's link?

"I've been a doctor for 25 years and this is the worst I've seen in terms of the number of casualties and fatal wounds," said Doctor Osama Saleh al-Duleimi, 48, who witnessed the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War and the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait.

Jesus, 1.5 million people died in the Iran-Iraq War. They didn't report those kinds of numbers on CNN...

y2karl, I love it when you tell people to shut up and go home. It's one of the reasons I come to y2karlfilter...
posted by David Dark at 2:14 AM on April 8, 2003


So much happy talk about killing. It makes me all warm inside knowing that there are people in the world so comfortable with the idea of taking someone elses life.
posted by cmacleod at 2:48 AM on April 8, 2003


although i don't support the means to the end,

I'm sorry, but this is just stupid. Killing Saddam is a means and an end. Your comment flies in the face that one clever, vile human being has ruled a country since 1979, murdered in the seven digits, and has his face plastered everywhere.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:37 AM on April 8, 2003


So much happy talk about killing. It makes me all warm inside knowing that there are people in the world so comfortable with the idea of taking someone elses life.

Very few people are ever "happy" about killing. But there are, now and then, human beings whose actions over long periods of time are so monstrous, so unimaginable, that their deaths do come to be almost celebrated. Saddam Hussain is in that company - with the Pol Pot's and Nicolae Ceausescu's of the world ... leaders who rule with an iron grip, govern solely through fear, and think nothing of taking the lives of hundreds of thousands of their own citizens simply to maintain their own personal power.

If you can't understand why the death of men like this might not be greeted with happiness by at least some people (starting with their own citizens), well, you've never lived under one of them, or talked to people that have been subjected to them. From my perspective, I have trouble understanding why so many people have seemed to not only not want Saddam Hussain's death, but seem to actually be okay with him remaining in power.
posted by MidasMulligan at 6:50 AM on April 8, 2003


Interesting how support for the war surges in teh specific context of "getting Saddam." This war is an elaborate assassination.

Not that I'm wistful for the days when the CIA would move a puppet government into position, shoot a leader, stimulate a coup, and solidify control (I doubt those days are over, actually).

But when the US agreed to ban assassination of state leaders, they did it for one reason: condoninging assassination of state leaders sends the message that our president is a legit target.

So, in classic American form, we set about assassinating Saddam by way of a method no one else could afford to imitate: by spending 75 billion dollars to "bring democracy to the Iraqi people."

If some rag-head walks out of a crowd someday and pops Dubya with a $50 handgun, I will have to laugh.
posted by scarabic at 7:11 AM on April 8, 2003


...the strategy of assassinating "civilian" leadership can go both ways.

Civilian?!? The man wears battle fatigues to give speeches!!

Christ, what is wrong with you people?
posted by eas98 at 7:12 AM on April 8, 2003


soulhuntre, your ranting is tedious. Why don't you go home, quote some Niven's laws and otherwise display your shallow thoughts to your enormous readership.

Yeesh. y2karlfilter, indeed.

Karl, have you thought about taking a break? I mean, stepping away from the computer, possibly doing some deep breathing? Going for a walk? Doing a twelve-step?
posted by dhoyt at 7:21 AM on April 8, 2003


y2karl, sorry, but dhoyt has a point: you've been getting kinda ad hominem lately. It undermines your positions.

Not, in broad, that I disagree with you. "soulhuntre"'s rants are tedious...but so can yours be.

Respectfully,
a.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:32 AM on April 8, 2003


y2karl, since we're having an intervention, I have to agree: you've been frothing lately. I know you take these discussions to heart, but really, it doesn't help your cause to post comments that consist entirely of ad hominem insults. Yes, I know the other kids do it, but that hurts their cause. When you feel the rage coming on, just sit back, count to ten, and figure out how you can comment in a way that moves the discussion forward. If nothing comes to mind but "Nyaah, you suck, fuckwit!" (or the equivalent), go out and have a walk. Everyone will feel better.

(No offense, I hope; you know you're one of my favorite MeFi posters.)
posted by languagehat at 8:58 AM on April 8, 2003


Very few people are ever "happy" about killing.

You'd be surprised.
posted by majcher at 9:38 AM on April 8, 2003


Saddam Hussain is in that company - with the Pol Pot's and Nicolae Ceausescu's of the world ...

I never had you as the campaigning type Midas, you must have been uncomfortable campaigning against Saddam with all those lefty/Amnesty types back in the eighties still it's good to see your long struggle against evil finally coming to fruition. Who will you turn your personal campaigning to next, Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan, Nth Korea? Let me know when you next do some campaigning, tt's good to know you really care about the people...
posted by niceness at 9:59 AM on April 8, 2003


Sure, Saddam Hussein's regime killed at least hundreds of thousands or Iraqis - as well as those killed on both sides in the Iran/Iraq war. So: if Iraq existed in a vacuum, somehow unconnected to the rest of the world, I would be far more inclined to buy the utilitarian argument (ugly as it is) that the tradeoff - of civilian casualties vs. the removal of a monstrous tyrant - might be worth it. Utilitarian expediency - as in the "terrorists have planted a Nuclear device in a US city. Time is short. Do you torture the terrorist you have captured to learn where the bomb is?" - can not be discounted.

BUT.......Iraq does not exist in a vacuum. The Islamic street is watching this all on Al Jazeera, taking in graphic footage of civilian carnage in Basra, Baghdad and elsewhere. So, even though the Iraqi civilian casualty count might ultimately prove to be far lower than in most previous wars fought in the 20th century, those (relatively limited) casualties will appall Islamic sensibilities throughout the Mideast as much as if tens or hundreds of thousands had actually died.

It does not matter at all that Saddam Hussein's regime (or Syria government for that matter) have in the past killed greater numbers of civilians than the likely official body count in the Invasion of Iraq. Most Muslims in Mideast blame the 500,000 or so Iraqis who died as a result of the decade of sanctions against Iraq on the US rather than on Hussein (justifiably or not). And, of course, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict looms in the background, and continues to recrudesce as a source of Muslim rage at Israel and at the US:

So, most Muslims will now be caught up in a tribalistic, polarized Islamic response to the War in Iraq - fed by past grievances and stoked by televised casualties and arrogant US diplomatic belligerence - so that the prevailing Islamic public mood itself becomes a kind of mirror image counterpart to the tribilistic, polarized US public response to the 9-11 attacks.

both reactions are charactorized by an instinctual reaction of tribal solidarity against a perceived outside aggressor, an Evil "Other", as well as calls for a Holy War, a Crusade or a Jihad against that menacing, Evil "Other". "Facts", in this, become almost irrelevant.

I thought, about eight months ago, that the GW Bush Administration Neocons were ignoring basic human nature by neglecting the potential of an invasion of Iraq to destabilize the whole Mideast region (and even Southwest Asia too) and polarize the Islamic World. Now, in the face of the burgeoning US plans to invade Syria and Iran (with more invasions to follow, perhaps), I think "Chaos and destabilization is their plan". In the April 2003 issue of the Washington Monthly, Joshua Micah Marshall of Talking Points Memo sums this theory up: "Practice to Deceive -
Chaos in the Middle East is not the Bush hawks' nightmare scenario--it's their plan."


"the president has not even leveled with the public that such a clean-sweep approach to the Middle East is, in fact, their plan. This breaks new ground in the history of pre-war presidential deception....Today, however, the great majority of the American people have no concept of what kind of conflict the president is leading them into. The White House has presented this as a war to depose Saddam Hussein in order to keep him from acquiring weapons of mass destruction--a goal that the majority of Americans support. But the White House really has in mind an enterprise of a scale, cost, and scope that would be almost impossible to sell to the American public. The White House knows that. So it hasn't even tried. Instead, it's focused on getting us into Iraq with the hope of setting off a sequence of events that will draw us inexorably towards the agenda they have in mind. "

Marshall was ahead of me in terms of his awareness of the scope of the Bush/Neocon agenda. I thought they were just after Iran, Iraq, Syria, and North Korea. Well, now I've added Lebannon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to the list. I guess it was all prefigured in a statement by Donald Rumsfeld a few days after 9-11 -" [the US should] sweep it all up, things related and not" (not an exact quite, I'm still searching for the source). I knew that Richard Perle had pushed in the direction of toppling the Saudis, but I was unaware that he and his crew were gunning for Egypt's Hosni Mubarek too.

What Marshall doesn't explicity address - something which has been on my mind for about eight months or so - is:

Take into consideration the quite explicit warnings from the (then) co-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committe, Bob Graham - Graham: Expect retaliation - The senator says briefings indicate a war with Iraq is ''highly likely'' to provoke terrorist attacks (St. Petersburg Times, published October 5, 2002) "....the senator said, "Briefings that I have recently received suggest that the likelihood of such strikes within the United States is not remote or even probable, it is highly likely."

Among the groups Graham identified as already present in the United States and poised for attack are Iranian-backed Hezbollah, Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network and "agents of Iraq." ......Hezbollah in particular, he said, is a more serious threat to U.S. domestic security than most people realize. Hezbollah, or "party of God," has killed hundreds of Americans in bombing attacks in Lebanon, including 241 U.S. servicemen who died when a truck bomb destroyed their barracks in Beirut in 1983, but has not struck the United States at home. ....Until Sept. 11, 2001, Hezbollah had claimed more American lives than any other international terrorist group. "

So - with the Bush Adminstration underfunding of the domestic US "War On Terror", and it's new "rolling invasion" plan to topple nearly every regime in the Mideast (except for Israel, of course) - which is the most inflammatory approach towards the Mideast conceivable - it would be hard to argue that the Bush Neocons are not expecting and planning for another major terrorist attack in the US which, if carried out by Hezbollah, would provide the necessary pretext (in the US public's eyes) to invade both Syria, Iran, and Lebannon.

Also, US domestic dissent - against the virtul colonization of the entire non-Israeli Mideast, against Bush Administration domestic policies (or whatever) - could then be squashed quite easily, without fear of political repercussions.

You could say they are trying to actually provoke terrorist attacks (and you might be right), or you could merely say that they simply don't care how the Islamic World responds to a US campaign of multiple invasions in the Mideast, that they are completely unconcerned about any resulting terrorist "backlash" or "blowback" attacks in the US or view them as regrettable by-products - mere skirmishes in a much larger scheme (and you might be right also).

Whatever. Their intentions about this are closely guarded and opaque to us.

But I can vividly imagine Richard Perle leading a White House morning prayer session....."Let us pray for a domestic terrorist incident, for the greater good of the country and the World..."
posted by troutfishing at 10:15 AM on April 8, 2003


Thanks for bringing Marshall into the discussion, troutfishing (wore out my slide bar, however :-) )

I have yet to see those vocally backing the war explain how it is that the rationale for going to war kept and keeps changing. We had frequently asserted but never substantiated charges that Iraq was connected to Osama. We had preparations for developing nukes (tubes were unsuitable for that use, Niger document was an obvious forgery). We had weak charges of chemical weapons which have not turned up after two weeks on the ground, possibly excepting something about mustard gas (mustard gas??? is this 1916?). We had talk about biologicals, including those pathetic balsa-wood drones. Then we had Saddam is a bad guy who oppressed his people (that part is true, but the list is long . . .). And there was the refusal to cooperate with UN inspectors (soft-pedaled, since we were the ones to pull them out in '98 and since we called time before they could get under way this time).

Why all the changes in rationale? It's reminiscent of the tax-cut logic. Surplus? Let's cut taxes and give back "your money." Deficit? Let's cut taxes and grow the economy.

The real reason must be something not spoken publicly so far . . . Any credence to the possibility that Bush and some of his cohorts are trying to make Jesus come again by starting up the Apocalypse? (Vide March 26 thread.

Here are a couple of speculations along those lines, from Tom Paine.com and Secular Humanism:

Bush's biblical literalism extends even to expressing doubts about evolution. There is also good reason to suspect Mr. Bush subscribes to the apocalyptic End Times eschatology, which envisions a final conflict in the Middle East presaging the Second Coming of Christ. This sort of fear is currently being exploited by Tim LaHaye, co-author of the "jaw-droppingly substandard" "Left Behind"
posted by palancik at 2:08 PM on April 8, 2003


wow you people are too smart for your own good. luckily i am drunk 45 yr old who drives a 20 yr old trans am.

war is about money. people who have money, want more of it, and pay other people to go get it for them, and people who don't have it will fight to the death to keep what they have.

sure there are lots of other issues, but wars have only ever gotten launched because of gold.
posted by chaz at 2:21 PM on April 8, 2003


I don't know if "very few people are ever happy about killing" but I've observed the converse in plenty of people, including two members of my family. I've particularly noticed that ex-servicemembers who have had to pull triggers, or even simply have experienced the results of others' mayhem, often have their souls' pendulums swing away from the darkness toward the other extreme of craving peace, beauty and gentleness.

I can still hear my dad saying sadly, "I called coordinates on some Germans I wasn't even particularly mad at." He also told me that when he got home to New Jersey in fall '46, he thought he was eager to go deer hunting with friends, but when in the woods with a hunting rifle he quit in disgust and walked back to the farmhouse without firing a shot. And he never went hunting again.

As for people who are happy about killing, I've met one of those who never quite got his head out of combat mode after Korea. He did thirty years in the Army, retired as an E-8 and to this day has a hard time relating to us cake-eating sillyvilian types -- kill kill kill seems to be his knee-jerk mantra. I can only shake my head and pray for him.

Most service people aren't like that. They seem to have a healthy respect for human life and also for human death. If they've never been blooded in combat -- especially if they're also young -- once they are, they usually become a great deal more circumspect about their responsibility to kill people and destroy things in the name of defending their country.
posted by alumshubby at 7:10 PM on April 8, 2003


Civilian?!? The man wears battle fatigues to give speeches!!

And the president of the United States is described as the "Commander in Chief", hence the quote around the term civilian.

I don't think many people actually understand what this truly means. Assassinating foreign government leadership is certainly nothing new to the American government. But in the past this kind of action had a cold elegance that was reserved for only covert means therefore hiding any direct public accountability of the American government. In the past state sponsored assassination was not public policy. Now that seems to have changed and appears to have broad public support.

Now I am not so agreeable to war and violence as so many scarily appear to be but I can't help but see a positive spin to this event. No longer do we have to send mass armies to fight the mass armies of the people we deem the enemy. We commonly see the Nation As Person metaphor used a great deal to identify these enemies and to reassure ourselves that we are not actually attacking that nations people but the nations leadership. So now we simply have to kill Sadam and his leadership team and the war is simply over. In the future the American government can use this technique to greater effectiveness, dislike a governments policies -- kill the leadership and send in a liberating force to provide security for the new current administration approved government. Think of all the lives this would save.

Of course there are some problems I see with this policy. What some Americans fail to see is that they are not alone in the world and not alone in the use of this new concept. While many of the worlds peoples have different cultural mindsets than Americas and will not accept such overtures of violence that permeate American society, many will use this idea for there own means. And why not? Kill the leader kill the problem.

It will be interesting to see how this new dynamic affects the world. World leaders have in the past felt a certain distance from any military conflicts that have resulted from their policy. This may no longer be the case and it applies to the American leadership as much as the rest of the world. It doesn't take a budget of $70 billion dollars to kill someone.

We can expect to see even less of our leadership and more trips to Camp David and other fortresses. Which is already happening and will only get worse.
posted by cmacleod at 7:52 PM on April 8, 2003


palancik - I'm sure there are some around Bush who think that, thanks for reminding me of it. There's a creepy convergence of that (eschatological) camp with the Perle/Wolfowitz "US Empire" camp.

alumshubby - thanks for writing that. That's all.

cmcleod - but those who wield such immense power will still contain extremes of good and evil within themselves, within their souls... and this is the problem.
posted by troutfishing at 10:00 PM on April 8, 2003


I lost it up there but truth be told, I don't want to drive anyone off or shut anyone up. Oh, I may want to--but not seriously.

I really was moved by what you wrote, alumshubby. It brought to mind a passage Chris Hedges wrote:

I knew a Muslim soldier, a father, who fought on the front lines around Sarajevo. His unit, in one of the rare attempts to take back a few streets controlled by the Serbs, pushed across Serb lines. They did not get very far. The fighting was heavy. As he moved down the street, he heard a door swing open and fired a burst from his AK-47 assault rifle. A 12-year-old girl dropped dead. He saw in the body of the unknown girl lying prostrate in front of him the image of his own 12-year-old daughter. He broke down. He had to be helped back to the city. He was lost for the rest of the war, shuttered inside his apartment, nervous, morose and broken. This experience is far more typical of warfare than the Rambo heroics we are fed by the state and the entertainment industry. The cost of killing is all the more bitter because of the deep disillusionment that war usually brings.

My friends who went to Vietnam and served in the infantry came back very damaged. One guy I knew--not a close friend but part of the circle I was in--came back wound up so tight and intense.

One day he went into the backyard of the house he lived in then, filled footlockers full of crumpled newspapers and pushed them against a tree, stood in them, poured gasoline over the paper and himself, chained himself to the tree and lit a match. The fire department had to cut the chains off with a bolt cutter. He was taken to the burn unit at Harborview, where he lived long enough to say goodbye to his parents. I cannot imagine that scene.

I wonder who here has been in combat, and of those, who is for and who is against this current war. I really am curious. If you are for the war, fine. At least you know of what you speak.
posted by y2karl at 1:42 AM on April 9, 2003


BUT.......Iraq does not exist in a vacuum. The Islamic street is watching this all on Al Jazeera, taking in graphic footage of civilian carnage in Basra, Baghdad and elsewhere.

Look. If the "Islamic Street" exists, and it's as irrational as you suggest, nothing we do, short of canceling Israel and leaving the Mideast entirely, including ending trade with the region, is going to make that street happy (and of course, if we do that, there's no guarantee we won't be blamed for Mideastern troubles anyway; and if we do that, the region will be even poorer than it is now).

So ignore the Street! And those cynical Europeans! The Street, as described, is composed of repressed, uneducated, deceived people. The only hope for making the Street happy is to use our influence, and, alas, military power, when necessary, to attach the street to reality. As President Bush said yesterday, to have any other view of the world is cynical, and we must reject that.

By the way, the reaction to Liberated Iraqis doesn't suggest that they now fear horrid American-Zionist domination. Perhaps Iraq can be used to enlighten the rest of the Arab world?

P.S1: Any more of those pathetic anti-war rallies scheduled? I'd like to take a look at the hard core pathetic.

P.S.2: I think this thread proves that fear of NEWSFILTER tendancies is unfounded.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:48 AM on April 9, 2003


"So ignore the Street! And those cynical Europeans! The Street, as described, is composed of repressed, uneducated, deceived people." - Perhaps, but aren't a majority of Americans convinced that Saddam Hussein was partly responsible for 9-11?

And is it wise to cause such a deep polarization between the Islamic World and the US? Isn't there some way to lessen this? [ Remember - the significant WMD's were NEVER in Iraq. They are in the Ex-Soviet Union, in North Korea, in Iran etc...so that threat remains. ]

I'll answer my own question - the US can start by fufilling it's financial commitments to rebuild Afganistan and Iraq. I think this would play well in the Islamic "street".
posted by troutfishing at 7:24 AM on April 9, 2003


"And is it wise to cause such a deep polarization between the Islamic World and the US?"

I still think your comments assume a level of intellectual honesty which doesn't exist on The Street. I mean, think of the example of anti-semitism in Europe: a small, often tiny minority comes to be hated irrationally. At least with the United States, there's some basis for pointing a finger and saying "they're too powerful, they're ruining everything."

I'm sure the US will commit to Afghanistan financially--again, assuming we're responsible for lifting the place above where it was when we "found" it--just for our own benefit, that'll happen.

As for Iraq, the place isn't lacking in $; it's lacking in organizational smarts. Frankly, although the idea is not politically/PR viable, the Iraqis should reimburse US for the benefit we've conferred upon them--even if we benefit as well in one less or smaller geo-political headache, and probably lower oil prices. And, perhaps in the form of military practice for....the next. inevitable geopolitcal headache.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:29 PM on April 9, 2003


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