Sunday, January 26, 2003

Those foreigners are all over the place, I think I know what it should be called: War Tourism. betcha they will be out of here faster than you can say ‘Iraqi-peace-team’ when things get a bit too hot.
It must have been a slow day for news people because the Mutanabi Street was full of them, or Iraqis selling second hand books have become important news items. At least three news teams were filming in that crowded street with their Iraqi minders shooing people away from the cameras. Later on I walked thru Al-Rasheed and Al-Sadoon and they were all over. Not news teams this time but the War Tourists, some of them even carrying backpacks which have [Iraq peace team] written on them in gold marker. And I guess we will be getting more tourists soon. Come on, have a couple of days on us. They will be accommodating you in Al-Rasheed Hotel for free and you get the official sight seeing tour, a couple of lunches with people you can tell your kids you met, when they are shown on CNN and you get to be on TV singing “give peace a chance” in front of the UN building in Abu Nawas (don’t miss the excellent grilled fish - masgoof - while you are there, the restaurants have a good view of one of the oldest presidential palaces).
I know they all mean well, but I really don’t think coming here and getting photographed with Iraqi officials is helping their “cause”. Do thy really want to stand up and risk their lives for this regime. If you are so in love with the situation here, be my guest let’s trade places because if it is a “cause” for you, for me it’s my life and the way I have to go thru it.

Al-Muhajaba’s blog brought to my attention an article written by an American-Iraqi jurist, Sarmid Al-Sarraf. Her site isn't loading today for somereason, i would have linked to the post( Here it is, it works now). The article is on a site I can’t access (my new hobby is collecting pages I get access denied messages from) so she kindly emailed it to me:
It is Immoral to Oppose War in Iraq and Not Simultaneously Address Saddam's Crimes Against Humanity
If you ask me I think War is going to happen and the various NGOs are not going to change this. I am not counting on them to stop the bombs falling on my house. So if they are going on marches would they at least check themselves for what they are asking for? I give you another Iraqi, this time a former member of the Iraqi Communist Party now in the UK:
Dozens of nations have chemical and biological weapons. None has deployed them, except Saddam's regime, first against the Iranian forces, later against Iraqi civilians. Governments should be held responsible for such crimes. Ironically, the United States let Saddam get away with no punishment for the actual deployment of chemical and biological weapons back in 1988, but it is now adamant about confronting him for a possible deployment of such weapons in the future. This is the logic of preemption. Yet there is no law, domestic or international, that permits a prosecutor to go after an ex-convict for a future, would-be offense. There is every law to bring a culprit to trial for actually breaching human norms in the first place.
or as Al-Sarraf puts in at the end of the article:
but I can see why a lot of these people won’t go for that. Shout this a couple of times and I am sure your organization won’t get travel permits to Iraq. Of course both Al-Sarraf and Jabar suggest solutions which are not as attractive as they think they are, Jabar says:
Here's what I think ought to happen. One, threaten Saddam with indictment. Two, give him an alternative for safe passage at the same time; this may create a crack in the ruling class-clan. Three, send a list of thirty or so of his aides who are persona non grata and demand that they leave the country with him. This ought to convince the rest of the class-clan members that they are not threatened en masse -- only those who were most responsible for the offenses of the regime. Four, encourage this class-clan to oust Saddam into exile and sweeten the deal by offering a mini-Marshall plan. This mini-Marshall plan would be made available provided power was transferred to a civilian, interim government.
And what? leave us with the rest of the “class-clan” to slug it out between them? While the north of Iraq becomes the Free Republic of Kurdistan and the south eaten up by Iran? –before you ask, yes I do have a problem with Kurdish independence. This is Iraq, it lies between the Zagros mountains in the north and the Gulf in the south. We have lived together in the past and we will in the future, just because we have a loony government now doesn’t mean my Kurdish neighbors hate me. If there is one ba’ath party slogan I am prepared to keep shouting after all this is over it is [Kurd wa Arab Mutahideen] Kurds and Arabs United, but I digress. There is of course one argument which would shut me up for 5 seconds. Some of these organizations are doing as much as they can to help, and they would not be able to do it if they weren’t on good terms with the government. Then again I don’t really believe that the result justifies the means, but sometimes compromises have to be made. And maybe I should just shut up and say thank you…but I won’t. I mean thank you for all that has been done but at the moment and in the current situation try reconsidering the human-shields idea.

Eh, whatever. It is too depressing anyway. Let me give you something fun to read:
U.S. Weighs Tactical Nuclear Strike on Iraq
Yes Stefan, I know you told me already. I just didn’t believe it.and thanks for the funny subject line; [time to say goodbye]. I think I will be watching The Day After again, to check for hints on how to survive.

and another inetersting article from the Christian Science Monitor:
As of the specter of civilian casualties, Private Gritz, like many soldiers have no clear answer. “………The Iraqis strap kids to tanks. What can you do?”
Oh god I think Iraqis are a bunch of barbaric animal people, which makes it OK to kill them, because they don’t have feelings anyway. The article is really good; you can feel the reporter running with the soldiers
”Eeeee!” Female clerks held hostage in the post office shrieks US troops storm in.
dear oh dear. This is almost like playing C&C Renegade. I wonder if they will be waiting for the “mission accomplished” line flashing in the sky.

And another read (you can tell I don’t have much work to do besides preparing for Operation Office Evac):
Apparatus of Lies
Saddam’s Disinformation and Propaganda 1990-2003
Say what you want, but every government has its propaganda machine. And if the US propaganda was not so effective certain polls wouldn’t turn out such weird results[I lost the link and can't find it]. But what I find especially tasteless is the use of the Amiryah Bunker as a “case study”. That was a civilian bomb shelter; don’t tell me about the 10 army officers sitting in a room there.
………selected civilians had been admitted to the top floor at night, while the Iraqi military continued to use the lower level as a command and control center
what a load of bull. “selected”? whole blocks of houses in amiriyah were empty after their residents died in the shelter. People would come at night because Baghdad was bombed mostly during the night. Drag your mattress and spend the night there, it had emergency power generators and hot water. Let me tell you something really nasty, when the bombs hit the water tanks in the lower floor burst. You got grilled and smoked upstairs, boiled downstairs. That would put you off bomb shelters for the rest of your life. Nukes or no nukes.