I was a naive fool to be a human shield for Saddam
March 22, 2003 10:40 PM   Subscribe

I'm against the war, but ... well, no shit.
posted by raysmj at 10:45 PM on March 22, 2003

well, duh...

upon review: well, duh...
posted by y2karl at 10:47 PM on March 22, 2003

How is this a surprise?

I don't know *anybody* who thinks that Hussein should be left in power. Nobody. No-one.

But I also don't know anybody who believes that Bush should lie to support this invasion. Bush has told lie after lie after lie. How can a war founded on lies be moral or good?

If Bush can *only* justify removing Hussein from power by lying to the world, how sincere can he be?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 10:54 PM on March 22, 2003

posted by reality at 11:32 PM on March 22, 2003

Yeah, I hope someone's told the poor kid that, uh, he's not wrong.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 11:43 PM on March 22, 2003

How much did the CIA pay you to post this article?

I'm extremely distrustful of the American government. ... But, I do feel relieved that the war is finally underway. It's easy to understand war. It is not easy to understand restriction of civil liberties and propaganda for no apparent reason. (Not that there's any excuse for that now.)

This has been a long time coming, and it has always rested on the question of necessity. Civilians will die, and military/government members will die. I don't think there's any question that Saddam or any other dictator should be removed from power; it's just a question of how, at what cost, and for what reason.

In a sense, we are being robbed of Iraqi culture by Saddam Hussein. Iraq is clearly a nation full of noble people, because it is full of human beings. They are a voiceless people, though. It is not anywhere near the price that would be paid if, say, Seoul got burned to the ground. Because there is less to lose, culturally, does that mean it's worth dropping bombs? I think there's a lot to gain, but is dropping bombs the best way? You don't have to be a human shield to think about these things.
posted by son_of_minya at 11:50 PM on March 22, 2003

If anyone out there is interested, I'll post stuff for the CIA if they'll pay me.

Come on! NSA, ATF, whatever. I'll post stuff to lots of blogs if you'll pay me!
posted by nyxxxx at 12:11 AM on March 23, 2003

This still doesn't explain why Bush would have to invade right now without international approval. He is trying to get elected (I refrain from using the term "re-elected") by diverting America's attention away from domestic issues.

Yes, you are a naive fool to be a human shield for Saddam, but that doesn't mean war is an acceptable alternative to diplomacy.
posted by password at 1:03 AM on March 23, 2003

This article is spectacularly poorly written. The only thing more shocking than the writer's self-confessed naivite is his lack of insight into the debate. Though I'm not sure it was his intent, this comes across as nothing less than propaganda.

Even a glance at the various articles and weblogs linked to from Metafilter it becomes clear that within Iraq there are several different views as to how war should be handled. There are so many different factions within the Iraqi population that it is inconceivable all of them are in favour of war in the way it is being carried out.

What I think is clear, and generally agreed - by everyone from the Iraqi civilians to the anti-Bush lobby - is that Saddam Hussein is a nasty piece of work who should not be in power, and that a democratic government for Iraq (and autonomy for the Kurds) is highly desirable. The question is _how_ this is carried out, and on what timescale.

When the writer argues that peace demonstrators aren't thinking of the Iraqi people, he's plain wrong. While it's fair to point out that none of us can imagine the situation until we've been out there, he would be just as naive to think that George Bush currently has the best intentions of the Iraqi people at heart. I predict that we will find a lot of the 'reconstruction' work is going to be carried out on the dime of the Iraqi people, and probably to the profit of American companies. The anti-war movement is just as concerned about the aftermath of war, a point which the writer of the above piece does not acknowledge.
posted by skylar at 1:40 AM on March 23, 2003

skylar: You've almost got it. The reconstruction is going to be funded by Iraqi oil, obviously. We will bring in humanitarian aid first. Then we'll help to develop the countries infrastructure. We'll trade it all for oil.

The reason that we're attacking Saddam is because he's bad for business. The US government is run by business men, and they see the opportunity in Iraq. However, they don't believe they could sell that justification to the world so we've got these justifications like Iraqi liberationand WMDs.

So, your right that American companies will profit, but so will the Iraqi people. The oil does them no good in the ground, and we're more than happy to trade for it. We've just got to establish a less corrupt and more stable government first.
posted by betaray at 2:15 AM on March 23, 2003

What utter complete bullshit. This could have been written, for all we know, by a committee or focus group. It's only meant to pit more of us against ourselves.

Case in point:

Did anybody enjoy the collapse of the World Trade Center? No! It scared the fuck out of all of us.

That some numbskull says the Iraqi people welcome the raining down of MOABs and tomahawks because it "liberates" a certain population which they happen to be a member of is a grave disservice to the fellow understanding of real mammalian fear. And it's damned absurd. A rancher wouldn't even put his cattle through this.

I'll be goddamned if anybody wants to live through a bombardment and still thank those who have bombarded them for their liberty. What do they do, go home to their children and say all those bombs that made you shit and piss your pants, dehumanized your very worth, were only meant to liberate you?

What unhindered, complete, matter of fact bullshit.
posted by crasspastor at 3:02 AM on March 23, 2003

Another account from a supposed former human shield here:
"Some of the Iraqis he interviewed "told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start"".
posted by golo at 3:07 AM on March 23, 2003

skallas- "the credulous flake he truly is"

What's the square footage in that glass house, skallas?
posted by ttrendel at 3:16 AM on March 23, 2003

crasspastor, Have you ever lived under a truly nasty totalitarian regime? The real question here isn't whether bombs are scary, but whether they are scarier than being put through a plastic shredder (feet first of course), forced to watch your children's eyes gouged out, gang-raped, burned alive or electrocuted. These are but a few of the exciting prizes available to you and your family if you are a real or imagined enemy of Hussein. Of course, then there is the everyday poverty, starvation and repression.

Perhaps you can't imagine being so desperate that you would welcome the bombs. But calling it "bullshit" from the comfort of your armchair seems presemptuous.
posted by maciej at 3:50 AM on March 23, 2003

Good lord. We're told the population of Baghdad is five million. I've seen plenty of footage of children doing what children do. And in Baghdad to boot. Are they playing now maciej?
posted by crasspastor at 4:09 AM on March 23, 2003

Ive heard several rather nasty things said about the "Human Shield" volunteers on US National Public Radio. In one news report (billed as news and NOT commentary) the "Human shields" were charactorized as "stooges" of Saddam Hussein, who had been "wined and dined" by the Iraqi regime. It amounted to a direct charactor asassination.

In a commentary by Scott Simon, he charactorized them as "looking as if they had come from a Gratefull Dead concert" (not a direct quote, but close enough), and went on about their alleged style of dress at some length. He should have just called them "sloppily dressed 60's era hippy Peacenick retreads". That would have been more honest.

National Public Wurlitzer? ...or is it just a cheap casio?
posted by troutfishing at 6:04 AM on March 23, 2003

I've seen plenty of footage of children doing what children do. And in Baghdad to boot.
Say in any of that footage did you see anything resembling a free society with anything resembling basic human rights? Perhaps a free press or some other medium for discourse to express opposition to the government? Oh well as long as the children are allowed to play...
posted by PenDevil at 6:32 AM on March 23, 2003

I would just like to add my duh to the maelstrom.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:39 AM on March 23, 2003

"where is your hand?"
"between two pillows."
"those aren't pillows..."
[frantic extrication]
"so, how 'bout those nicks, eh?"
posted by quonsar at 8:12 AM on March 23, 2003

The only human shield I've heard speak is Badi Ali, president of the Islamic Center of the Triad, in North Carolina, during an appearance on our local Limbaugh's show before leaving for Iraq. His grasp of the relevant history and his appreciation for the horrors of Saddam's regime were crystal clear, and his arguments sharp and well thought-out.

I never liked the idea of the human shields as strategy, but to imply that all of them were fools like the one who wrote the article above is absurd.
posted by mediareport at 9:03 AM on March 23, 2003

but whether they are scarier than being put through a plastic shredder (feet first of course)

And tearing babies out of their incubators and slinging them against the walls, too, right?

Believe it all, ask no questions.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:14 AM on March 23, 2003

If you're against Bush, you're for Saddam.
If you're against the administration's actions, you're against America.
If you're against the war, you're for the torture of innocent Iraquis.

On the other hand:
No blood for oil.
Let the inspections work.
Give peace a chance.

Gaaaaaah. I am so goddamn sick of hearing nothing but catchphrases and faulty logic from both sides of this "debate," I can hardly stand to think about it anymore. I have yet to see one argument for or against that makes even the slightest effort to avoid hyperbole and emotional appeal; this article is no different. Two cab drivers want the bombing to start, and that means that all peace protesters support Saddam's regime? Please. The human shields idea was a bad strategy here, but try again, Mr. Pepper.
posted by hilatron at 10:36 AM on March 23, 2003

"Gaaaaaah. I am so goddamn sick of hearing nothing but catchphrases and faulty logic from both sides of this 'debate,' I can hardly stand to think about it anymore. I have yet to see one argument for or against that makes even the slightest effort to avoid hyperbole and emotional appeal..." - hilatron

What Saddam has done to his people for the past few decades is wrong. Nothing peaceful so far has successfully stopped him. Over a decade of sanctions did not work. Over a decade of diplomacy did not work. Trying to get all other nations to agree on a course of action has not worked. Using violence now to stop Saddam's regime is wrong. I don't believe it will work. There is not an action that can be made which will be agreed upon by 100% of the human population of this planet.

Standing idly by and allowing Saddam to rob from the people of Iraq, kill any opposition, and erect statues and palaces in his own name is wrong. Doing NOTHING is wrong. Those who believe in inalienable rights can not stand idly by and allow this bastard to continue what he is doing. Something. SOMETHING. Something must be done. However, there has yet to be any something which has proven effective against him. But make no mistake: doing NOTHING is more wrong than any of the above somethings. Is this nothing but catchphrases and faulty logic? Perhaps. All I know is, I'm doing nothing, so I feel how wrong inaction is over being able to do something.

I'm not in a place or a position of influence to be able to do anything to help the people of Iraq, or the starving and persecuted people anywhere in the world. I pray for those who are doing something about it. I hope to God they do the right thing, knowing that with the situation Saddam has placed the international community, there is really no true right thing to do.

And although I hate war, and hope for peace, I see the futility of arguing this war. Those who are arguing this war now are making the rest of us pacifists look stupid. Peace demonstrations all over America this past weekend which shut down intersections and forced police to look like bullies. I don't see how any of those actions do anything but assist the terrorists. Anti-war protests are inadvertently helping terrorism break down civilized society. Though their goals are noble, the actions of anti-war demonstrators is, dare I say it? WRONG.

There is no right thing to do. There is no right in doing nothing. We live in a world today where there is no right. There is only wrong. It makes me sick.

Back in Iraq, there are Iraqi soldiers removing their uniforms and dressing up as if they were civilians. To them, they see no difference. To those trying to oust Saddam, it makes it impossible to tell the difference between a peaceful Iraqi civilian who wants something better for their future, and an Iraqi soldier who believes he's fighting for both Saddam and the solidarity of Iraq itself. Americans going over there to be human shields are only adding insult to injury. The peaceful Iraqi civilian population have BEEN human shields since Saddam came to power.

The theory of being a human shield is attractive to some, just as pouring gasoline upon oneself and setting oneself on fire was attractive to pacifist monks some years ago. Douglas Adams' Arthur Dent laying down in front of the bulldozer did not prevent his home from being destroyed, but the intent was noble and the act is courageous: stupid, futile, and wrong, granted. Adams introduced his character in that way to show that Arthur Dent was boorish and stupid, but also noble and gallant. The best and worst humanity had to offer, wrapped up in one little man: now a fictional microcosm of today's humanity. Arthur Dent was Everyman.

At least the human shields, boorish though they may be, did something. Agreeable or not, they set themselves to a course of action and committed themselves to it. Unfortunately others used their nobility to their own twisted ends on both sides of the battle. We live and learn. A human shield can't be effective against a man who has been using his own people as human shields for decades.

At least they DID something dammit. I find that to be commendable. Stupid. And wrong. But commendable.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:07 PM on March 23, 2003

At the end of the Gulf War, Americans allowed Iraqi military to head north and attack the Kurds, because from a political perspective they painted themselves into a corner and were politically helpless to stop them. Colin Powell couldn't tell who the bad guys were, because no one was wearing white hats. So we had American and other military forces in helicopters witnessing the Iraqi attack on the Kurdish uprising. Many died and we just observed. We did not intervene. Doing something would have been seen as worse than doing nothing. Doing something would have meant breaking the agreements we had just made with the allegedly surrendering Iraqi forces. It would have meant we committed ourselves to a permanent position in Iraq, attempting to police the conflicting interests.

So we did nothing.

You argue that I am morally bankrupt? I argue that this planet, and today's humanity, is morally bankrupt. Belief in a supreme force is deteriorating, because human beings are arguing whether his name is John or James. Lost in the semantics, we've lost sight of how belief in a higher power has historically kept cultures and societies intact. Gods are falling, and with them so are its believers. Right and wrong is fast becoming irrelevant. It's all wrong.

I am not advocating vigilante justice. I am not advocating that the end justifies the means. I am saying there is not a proper action in today's Earth. Doing something, ANY something, is wrong. Doing nothing is wrong.

Not lifting a finger to help, is WRONG. However, every attempt to lift a finger to help has also had repercussions which prove those actions to have also been wrong, and the actions happening now are wrong.

However, inaction ALLOWS the status quo that exists, which cannot be allowed to exist. Suffering of innocent people continues whether we do something or not, so attempting to do SOMETHING to stop continued suffering is better than standing back and doing nothing to stop it.

Do or do not. There is no try.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:51 PM on March 23, 2003

"Standing idly by and allowing Saddam to rob from the people of Iraq, kill any opposition, and erect statues and palaces in his own name is wrong. Doing NOTHING is wrong."

I was not clear. What gets me is the assertion that if you say, "I don't want a war," this naturally means that you want the world to sit back and do nothing. That's just a false dichotomy. I don't think anyone wants to do nothing about Saddam; the failure of the peace movement is in not proposing a "something" besides war, or even addressing the issue besides repeating, over and over, that there should not be a war.

On the other side, I have yet to see a reason given for military action that does not include lies and obfuscation, or just plain stupid "let's kill 'em all" posturing.

Both sides of this debate, as they are playing out in the US, are increasingly filled with back-slapping parrots who have yet to take a moment to actually think about what they're arguing for. And it makes me ill that this is happening while people die, under the US's power as well as under Saddam's.
posted by hilatron at 3:00 PM on March 23, 2003

Both sides of this debate, as they are playing out in the US, are increasingly filled with back-slapping parrots who have yet to take a moment to actually think about what they're arguing for.

So, what else is new?

As a wise man once said,

"Fuck The World"
posted by jonmc at 3:15 PM on March 23, 2003

George Carlin once said, "The world isn't going anywhere. WE are." I think the present madness throughout the world in reaction to this war is further proof that Carlin was right. We human beings now have the power, through nuclear weapons and other means, to insure our own extinction. So long as anyone, Saddam or Bush or anybody, believes violence is an answer, Carlin will continue to be right.

We are fighting not any one country. Terrorists would have the masses believe that we are fighting Iraq or Afghanistan. We are fighting those who embrace violence as a way of life. One cannot fight violence with sanctions and peace protests. One cannot fight those who embrace violence without the loss of innocent lives, so long as those who embrace violence continue to hide like cowards behind the innocent.

If a guy comes into your home with a gun aimed at your head, you can't convince him to put down the weapon through words and flowers. It comes down to your life versus his. This planet is OUR home. Anyone on this planet waving a gun around is threatening all our lives, be they representing a dictatorship or a democracy.

We need a better answer. I am not so ignorant as to pretend that I have one, or that there even is one. Fighting fire with fire is a necessary evil until a better answer can be found. People are being killed anyway. We might as well do what we can try to stop the killing, even at the cost of American lives in the process. Blood has been spilled throughout history, so that I can sit in this house in relative safety. Not doing something now denies the value of past bloodshed. However, doing something now also risks one step forward and a few thousand steps backward.

Hopefully one day we'll ALL come to realize the futility of embracing violence, but John Lennon's imagination has yet to be realized, and if George Carlin's right, it never will.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:40 PM on March 23, 2003

ZachsMind. You're saying that we must stop everyone who "embraces violence" by, uh, embracing violence. Not a very logically minded position.

As for that "higher power" bs. Do you really think the world is any different then it was 50 years ago? 100 years ago? 1,000 years ago? 10,000? Nothing is 'changing' It's just the same shit that's been going on forever.

Hussein isn't an Islamist or anything, but he's hardly an atheist. Bush and co. are about as religious as they come. It's the secularists who are opposing the war, this time, but Mao and Stalin were secularist as well.

This is a human problem, and it always has been.
posted by delmoi at 5:20 PM on March 23, 2003

hilatron - 'not proposing a "something" besides war, or even addressing the issue besides repeating, over and over, that there should not be a war'

I fear you may have been listening to NewsCorp or similar, judging by this remark. There are a wealth of alternatives to war proposed by those opposed to it, the paths offered involve non-violence and diplomacy, as well as humanitarian assistance. Carrot not stick.

I know some people say 'violence is the only language they understand', which strikes me as being a bit like calling a rape victim a slut.
posted by asok at 3:23 AM on March 26, 2003

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