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Cry Me A Riverbend II

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

We get letters! We get letters! We get sacks and sacks of letters!

Here's some quality email and Comments I've received lately:

Nazgol and Rose commented at about the same time and their tones were so similar, that I can't help thinking of them as a single post.

I read your well written article and although I think your logic convincingly supports the idea of considering Saddam as a threat and the urge of removing him from power, I also think it would be appropriate if you think about what is happening to many other human beings. As I don’t live in the US I take your word that US citizen’s feel much better knowing Saddam is not in power any more, but are we, as human beings allowed to ignore what happened to many Iraqis? - nazgol

I know Riverbend and Raed sound annoying to you as they keep blaming Americans. I agree being negative is a very bad habit, but have you ever imagined yourself miserable? Have you imagined everything you take for granted, like electricity, etc, suddenly disappear from your life? War is very horrifying and I am telling you cause I have experienced it once. Hiding in the shelters and not knowing whether you or your beloved ones will be alive after few minutes is not fun. And even worse is after war when you are left with a destroyed country. These are certainly factors to be considered. There is no cause that can justify sufferance of other human beings. - rose

While I sympathize with the plight of all the Iraqis, in this case, negativism can be a very very bad habit indeed. I have no doubt in the Iraqis' ability to overcome the problems (with the help of the US and NGO voluteers in rebuilding its infrastructure). I'm quite confident of the Coalition military's ability to treat the Saddamites, al-Sadr thugs, and international Islamo-facists the way they ought to be treated. But I worry that we will lose the war at home through the whining of so many here in the US who only have their eye on the next election and through undue attention being paid to Iraqis who find so much harm done to them by the removal of Saddam.


Regarding my analysis of the mis-guided argument that the Coalition did a bad thing in taking out Saddam because we haven't found the WMDs that everybody (including the French and Germans) thought were there, Tom thinks we should change the subject...
First off, you're basing this debate on a false premise. You state that opponents of this war say it's unjustified because WMD's were never found. But millions of people in the USA and around the world opposed this war before the invasion. We went to the UN before the invasion. We cited 441 then, in an attempt to gain support for the war. It was not forthcoming. We then invaded on the premise of pre-emption. Without UN backing, this war was illegitimate. The Coalition of the Willing can not enforce UN resolutions; only the UN can.

Tom, note that I put a NUMBER ONE (1) in front of that argument. There were many good reasons for taking out Saddam and many claims for why it was unjustified, imprudent, and evil. I plan to work my way through them one by one. But, I do have a duty not to neglect my Jarrars reading and now I've got this new fixation with Momar's Fly Girls posse. Give me time.

But, your email brings up why I think that 99% of the war protesters are phonies. In 1991, Bush 41 organized a UN sanctioned action to excise Saddam from Kuwait. There were world-wide protests in America, Europe, and the ME. "No Blood For Oil!" Then in 1998, President Clinton by-passed the UN to engage a war to drive Serbia out of a region of its own country. Were there massive protests in Europe or America? Nope. There were a few scattered teeny protests by people who looked to be killing time between IMF summits. But there were no signs equating Clinton with Hitler. There were no celebrities denouncing the war overseas. The Russians and Chinese complained, and Iraq was against it. Big deal. There were no anguished news stories in the major Western media about civilian casualties as there were in 1991, even though we deliberately targeted marginal military assests such as civilian electrical generators and water treatment plants.

Then in 2001, during the invasion of Afghanistan, it all cranked up again. The focus on civilian casualties in the news, the "illegality" of fighting a war while not wearing a blue helmet...it only took the New York Times until Oct 31, 2001 to declare Afghanistan a "quagmire". There were all those commentaries about how the Afghani culture was unable to get its mind around the idea of democracy and that "democracy cannot be imposed from the outside". Then when it became clear that Dubya's re-election wouldn't hang on the success of Hamid Karzai, it was okay for Aghanistan to be able to figure out democracy...in fact, if we only didn't get distracted with Iraq, it would probably be easy.

The fact is that 99% of the opposition to the war in Iraq now (and in Afghanistan before) is purely political. The Europeans were mad at the Bush Administration for not signing the Kyoto treaty even though it would NEVER have passed the Senate (which is why the Clinton Administration never signed it either). In America (and Europe too), a lot of people would rather see Dubya get a black-eye than have a successful democracy in Iraq or Afghanistan; rather see Dubya fail to keep his country safe than to see him succeed at it. This is when "protest" is unpatriotic (there, I said it). This is when gloomy prophecying is actually a lifting of the leg to the love for freedom and civilization. It's not illegal, and it shouldn't be. But Negativism carried to a certain extent can align itself with the enemies of freedom, and I think we passed that line a long time ago.

During WWII, you could have pointed to many more "war atrocities" and civilian deaths of the sort lamented in Iraq. America had never been attacked by Germany or Italy; they were no threat to us. But America went to Europe first, because she was needed there the most at the time. And by golly, the horrors of the unavoidable means of carrying out a war against the Axis Powers was worth the intended end.


Christine sent me an email to tell me how sorry she felt for me:
I happened upon your site today, and I was shocked and saddened to see that you find it necessary to "comment" on other people's blogs the way you do. I found Riverbend's blog some months back, and Zayed's, Raed's, WildfireJo's, and many others, and have appreciated having the ability to read what they, who are there, have to say. Unlike you, I don't read and judge -- I just read. After all, perhaps the biggest point lost on the Bush Administration and their team going into war was what the perspective of the people of Iraq would be -- and that's why we have the mess we do in Iraq right now. Maybe they should be doing more reading. And with an open mind!

Don't you see that it doesn't matter what any of us here in the West believes to be true? To win the hearts and minds of Iraqis and others in the Middle East, we won't succeed by scolding them or issuing "correct minded" opinions to them -- we must learn to work with their perceptions, AS THEY SEE THEM -- no matter how foreign they may appear to Westerners, no matter how contrary to our interests.

I don't think your ridicule of what these bloggers say is helpful. (Even the title of your blog is an attempt to ridicule Riverbend -- which is really a very sad reflection on your character.) Why can't you just blog about what's going on and say what you think? (Like they do.) Are you so insecure that you can't just give your own perspective on things and feel confident of your ability to influence people? What kind of a person feels they have to cut someone down to improve their own stature? That's one thing that always impressed me about Riverbend -- she just writes what she sees and feels, what she thinks about what's going on in her world. She doesn't get involved in mudslinging or attempting to discredit anyone who disagrees with her (like you do). You do yourself and your culture a disservice. I'm sorry for you -- you don't seem like a very nice person.

Thank you for your concern, Christine. You are clearly a very sensitive person, and I, of course, am not.

Look, imagine this is 1958 and we have the Internet. Naturally there would be a lot of White Separatists in the South...they would be in a strong majority there. Since my family whom I dearly love and respect would be among them, I can attest that Racism does not only flow from an evil mind. It comes from not setting back and looking at the one's beliefs analytically and objectively. I don't have to hate White Separatists (or Black Separatists) to disagree with them.

But, if the Internet existed in 1958, there would be a lot of blogs by white people talking about the "outrageous the behavior" of the National Guardsmen imposing their values on others. They would talk about the arrogance of Yankee liberals unsettling things in their communities. They might even speak of the poor desperate white people forced to resort to violence by an oppressive Federal government and New York media. As I said, their opinions would be in the majority and as we moved through the 1960s their claims that the country was going to Hell in a Handbasket would certainly look justified.

And then there would be me: commenting on their blogs; offering a means for others to comment on their blogs. I don't think it shows any respect toward these bloggers to read their blogs without offering them the left sides of our brains.

What is the connection in my opinion between the Jarrars and Riverbend and Wildfirejo and White Separatists? They didn't reason their way INTO their current opinions, so consequently their opinions reflect their uncritical emotions:
1. The US is killing Iraqis (oh really? I thought they were fighting thugs who wanted to unstablize Iraq...oh! Your counting those too!)
2. Iraq is still suffering a year after Saddam was removed (a year is not really a long time to solve that sort of thing and if the insurgents would stop blowing people up more NGO volunteers would come to help and foreigners would invest in the country and things would improve).
3. Iraq is not secure (well every time the Coalition tries to solve the insecurity problem, you complain).

This sort of thinking strikes me as inherently unreasonable, and it is this sort of viewpoint that makes it difficult for some Iraqis (like our bloggers in question) to stop whining and start appreciating the marvelous (oh yes "marvelous" look at the repression and poverty in the other Arab countries and you'll see what I mean) opportunity they and their country have been given.

Momar Watch
There's actually a new film documentary on Momar's "African Heat".

(bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you!)

It's called "Desert Amazons: Qaddafi’s Female Bodyguards".
It's by a young American film student, Rania Ajami. Needless to say I am watching for it at a theater near me. It is currently (apparently) making the rounds in France. Curse the French! Why should they see it first!

Speaking of movies, Joe Bob Briggs, that erstwhile drive-in movie reviewer has a great article about The Mo in The National Interest. Excellent! CMAR2 says check it out. It's got Spelling-Fu.

Also, man oh man! Who is planning Momar's wardrobe. Every time he leaves the house he starts an outrage of the sort previously reserved for Michael Jackson or Madonna. Well anyway, he ought to.

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