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Opinion: Desolation Row

 
 
Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 01:00 pm
I'm already worried, but also hopeful that we can find a better road to travel.

Quote:
Desolation Row
By Chris Floyd, Moscow Times

In recent days, the perverse moral calculus that guides the masters of war in the White House has revealed itself with startling clarity -- laid bare like the gurgling intestines of a 3-year-old child whose skin has been flayed by a fragmentation bomb.

As the desolation -- sorry, liberation -- of Iraq continued apace, the Masters moved quickly and efficiently to secure the country's oil fields, but they blithely and deliberately failed to secure the lives of innocent people left in bombed-out cities without any system of law or governance. Unlike oil rigs -- which, after all, can be restored if something happens to them -- the actual human beings destroyed in the chaos that followed the invaders' high-tech blitzkrieg cannot be replaced -- not even by no-bid, $7 billion reconstruction contracts to Dick Cheney's Halliburton.

You'd think that conquerors who'd come to "liberate" a suffering people would have brought enough troops to actually secure the territory -- and the lives and livelihoods of said suffering people -- as they conquered it. Of course, this kind of thing is unglamorous work, not very telegenic; what's more, you can't just farm it out in fat contracts to your political cronies. So why bother? Who cares? What's a little "untidiness" -- as Don Rumsfeld called the slow, agonizing deaths of worthless "collateral damage" lying untreated in ransacked hospitals -- when you're remaking the world? As that other breaker of nations, Joe Stalin, used to say: "When wood is chopped, chips fly."

The oil-securing conquerors also failed to safeguard Iraq's storehouses of antiquity -- irreplaceable treasures from the earliest days of civilization, which first arose on this land's now-cratered, uranium-soaked soil. Here, humanity first learned to write, count, make medicine, form cities, create laws, map the stars. Here, humanity first began its excruciatingly slow -- and obviously incomplete -- emergence from the dictatorship of instinct, the shackles of genetic programming, the blind, voracious animal need that still thrashes in the mud of our monkey brains.

Priceless artifacts that recorded this millennia-long struggle for emergence and transcendence were destroyed in the space of a few hours during the orgy of looting that swept Iraq in the conquerors' wake. Although, in Baghdad, a few ordinary American soldiers tried to intervene at first, they were quickly ordered away by their superiors [sic] and forced to stand idle while mobs of destitute Shiites -- brutalized by former CIA asset Saddam Hussein, by punitive sanctions that devoured their society and strengthened the hand of their oppressor and by days of indiscriminate bombing that blew their loved ones to bits -- smashed the heritage of our human commonality.

But let's be fair. The Oval One's occupiers did manage to secure two important buildings in the midst of the rampage: the Interior Ministry, with all of Saddam's juicy intelligence files -- why let good torture go to waste? -- and, of course, the Oil Ministry. In fact, the file-grab has already produced a shocking revelation: It seems that Moscow and Baghdad were sharing intelligence in a joint effort to combat Osama bin Laden -- you know, the guy whose "close connection" to Saddam was the main reason that the terror-rattled (and deliberately deceived) American public finally supported Bush's war of aggression.

Unfortunately for that rattled and deceived populace, the chaos in Iraq will only mean more repression in the Homeland. For it confirms the deepest fears of the Bushist ruling clique. They believe that the veneer of civilization is wafer-thin, that a single terrorist attack can crack it -- thus the panicky discarding of civil liberties after Sept. 11. A few more such blows, they think, will shatter American society to pieces. So, measures even more draconian will now be promulgated. Last week, the White House began moving to have the "emergency" powers of the notorious Patriot Act made permanent. Secret arrests, centralization of personal data, classification of citizens into ranks of "security-worthiness," unrestricted surveillance and more -- all are in the works or even now being implemented.

That's how little faith these so-called super-patriots really have in the United States. It is they, not the dissenters, who despise their own country, who believe it's too weak and unworthy for freedom.

Of course, their concerns aren't completely unfounded. For the breakdown we saw in Iraq is indeed an ever-present risk for vastly unequal societies, where the rich and powerful commit crimes with impunity while the poor and powerless fill the jails. Where rulers practice the most blatant deceit, lie and cheat their way into authority, propagate absurd myths about themselves, paint their common thuggery in the colors of patriotism and religion. Where, above all, they set the ultimate example of lawlessness for their people: launching wars against countries that haven't attacked them, teaching that killing, corruption and ruin -- not law, not communion, not transcendence -- are the supreme expressions of civilization, the basis of human society.

It's a dangerous lesson, especially for people shaken by disaster: war, repression -- or terrorist attacks. That's why the Bushist clique is worried. True, they are also physical cowards -- dodging wars they were glad for others to fight -- and weaklings as well, dependent on sugar daddies and crony contracts to make their way in the world. Such timorous specimens would naturally underestimate the resilience of American society.

Yet perhaps they have reason to worry. Perhaps what they see in Iraq's desolation is not just the ruin of an evil regime they once gladly succored -- but the kind of moral rot they are now engendering by their own example.

Perhaps we should all start worrying.

© Copyright 2002, The Moscow Times.

http://www.moscowtimes.ru/stories/2003/04/18/120.html
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steissd
 
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Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 01:38 pm
Noteworthy, the source of quotation(Moscow Times). Have you got anything from the French and Arab media to strengthen your position? Russians have lost this war, just as French did, and the only thing for them left is to vilify the winners...
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Violet Lake
 
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Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 01:56 pm
Hi steissd, it's nice to know that I can always count on your response Smile

The "winners" in this war don't need to be vilified for one to recognize them as villains. Their actions speak for themselves.
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edgarblythe
 
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Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 03:40 pm
I voted yes with qualifications. A nation that could produce Lincolns, FDRs, Mark Twains, Martin Luther Kings, Bob Dylans and Ray Charles can't be totally hopeless.
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 03:52 pm
and huddie leadbetter
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edgarblythe
 
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Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 04:41 pm
I got some kick-ass ledbelly, dys.
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Sofia
 
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Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 05:25 pm
The article, IMO, was BS.
Not just some bias, or partially biased, but nutty fruitcake, spit flying from sputtering mouth biased.

Floyd's assertion that the guarding of Interior Ministry wasn't as crucial as a museum would be laughable, if the message behind it wasn't so savagely inhumane. The Interior Ministry houses files of tortures, possibly locations of Iraqi citizens and US/Kuwaiti/Kurdish soldiers or citizens, whose families don't think joking about it is quite so funny. ..."why let good torture go to waste...?" I can't believe there are people who think antiquities are as important as human beings, who may be alive somewhere in Iraq, or as important as putting a long-suffering family our of their misery by telling them the information found in the files they recovered from the Interior Ministry.

Floyd and his article suck, IMO.
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au1929
 
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Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 05:40 pm
The Moscow times. Let he who is without blame cast the first stone. It is amazing a nation with as much blood on it's hands as Russia has suddenly become a white knight.
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Violet Lake
 
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Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 06:57 pm
It is a biased essay, and full of invective, but it's true. Sometimes I like my truth red hot... so sue me Wink

Sofia wrote:
Floyd's assertion that the guarding of Interior Ministry wasn't as crucial as a museum would be laughable, if the message behind it wasn't so savagely inhumane. The Interior Ministry houses files of tortures, possibly locations of Iraqi citizens and US/Kuwaiti/Kurdish soldiers or citizens, whose families don't think joking about it is quite so funny. ..."why let good torture go to waste...?" I can't believe there are people who think antiquities are as important as human beings, who may be alive somewhere in Iraq, or as important as putting a long-suffering family our of their misery by telling them the information found in the files they recovered from the Interior Ministry.


I didn't read all that into it. On the contrary, I thought the point he was making throughout the entire essay is that the people are more important than anything else (people that need security more than having their oil wells secured). They could have protected the Interior Ministry AND the museums, libraries, and hospitals among other things...

I suspect you don't like the essay because it's a hard enough pill to swallow without the invective Wink
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Sofia
 
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Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 07:09 pm
Violet--You said:
I suspect you don't like the essay because it's a hard enough pill to swallow without the invective
________________________

You suspect incorrectly. I didn't like the 'essay' because it was BS.
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Violet Lake
 
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Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 07:13 pm
Invectives aside, what else do you dispute about it?
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timberlandko
 
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Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 09:05 pm
Agenda-driven spin is agenda-driven spin. I don't much go for it whether it spins to the left or the right, up or down. Commentary and opinion are not reporting and analysis. Some folks don't seem to be able to make that distinction. A great deal of misunderstanding and ill will are thereon attendant.
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Violet Lake
 
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Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 09:18 pm
I agree... that's why I put the word "opinion" in the title.

Sometimes pieces like this inspire the best debate, but they definitely make it more difficult to manage.
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maxsdadeo
 
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Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 09:38 pm
The article does more to point out the hollow, and insignificant stance that those who opposed the war now find themselves defending:

A "looting" of the treasures of the Iraqi people that in all probability was an inside job or pulled off by Saddam or professional thieves?


Truly, truly, pathetic.
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Violet Lake
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 09:58 pm
The point is that whoever was responsible was allowed to get away with it. There was also a great deal of destruction, and from what I understand, the museum's records were also completely destroyed.

I don't share your opinion that the anti war stance is hollow or insignificant.
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maxsdadeo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 10:12 pm
The point is this, Violet. Saddam had been stealing his countrymen blind for the last 25+ years.

There is no indication whatsoever that those artifacts that were displayed prior to the liberation of the coalition were even REAL, so I find the argument, based entirely upon conjecture and assumption, that the US "let it happen" to be ridiculous on it's face.

We have won the war.

With your help, we can win the peace.

But if we must pause and reflect upon such trivial matters such as these, it will take quite a bit longer.
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timberlandko
 
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Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2003 12:07 am
An Anti-War Stance need not be hollow or insignificant. When a proponent of a stance resorts to hollow and insignificant argument, little service is done the cause of that stance, whatever the stance.
There is a vast difference between reasoned, informed principle and impassioned, ideologically defined agenda. Of decidedly untrivial aspect is the emotional baggage encumberiing the issue of Peace vs War.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2003 12:20 am
Other than silly ad hominems (yeah, "the Russians can't ever have a point can they?") and arbitrary accusations that the article is BS can any of the detractors spend the time to document their dissatisfaction with the article? Sure it's mostly invective but calling it invective without making any attempt to support your claim is also just invective.

Emotional baggage and argumentum ad misericordiam are undesireable but you risk being the pot by dissmissing it without mentioning its logical fallacies. Note: I just gave ya all a head start with the first one.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2003 12:22 am
BTW, there are plenty of ways to carp the article. I'm not trying to suggest that they will be hard to find, just that some support to your discord be given.
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maxsdadeo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2003 12:34 am
Ok, craven just one for you.

Quote:
not even by no-bid, $7 billion reconstruction contracts to Dick Cheney's Halliburton.


There are only two firms in the world with the experience to do what needs to be done.

And the other is French.
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