Twin Turds

No matter what one’s feelings are about the U.S.’s involvement in Iraq, it’s hard not to believe that the world is a little bit better place today with Uday and Qusay dead. These two turd-loafs pinched from the arse of Beelzebub did more evil before 9:00 am than most people do all day. I’m sorry, but there just aren’t enough shoes in all of the Middle East to throw at their vile, hirsute corpses.

There’s a feeling of disappointment, though, for a couple of reasons. First, we didn’t capture them alive, so we won’t be able to get any new information from them. Second, they died too simple a death. (Of course, I suppose there isn’t a death cruel enough for these two, so perhaps this second disappointment is just an exercise in vengeful futility.)

One can only hope that the next ones on the hit list are big daddy turd-loaf Saddam and his sister Osama.

Bunker-Busters to the Rescue!

Some news agencies are reporting that Saddam Hussein’s body now may be reduced to a collection of bloody shreds at the bottom of a pile of rubble, along with the shreds of his sons Qusay and Uday, those wacky chips off the old block. (Sons Ebay and Duvet are reportedly still at large.)

I suppose this is what Americans are looking for — a single, simple photographic image (like the ones of Mussolini hanging) that will reassure them that this is a simple process and we’ve won because we got the bad guy.

If only it were that simplistic. The death, capture, or exile of Saddam Hussein and his cronies will only be the beginning.

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

There’s a subject that keeps surfacing whenever the war in Iraq comes up in my discussions with friends and co-workers. It has to do with outcomes of this war.

It looks pretty clear that the U.S. will prevail and that the so-called ‘coalition of the willing’ will have the opportunity to build the foundation for a new government in Iraq. But what about those pesky weapons of mass destruction?

There are two scenarios:

The first scenario is that we scour the country and do not find any compelling evidence of nuclear or biological weapons. (This, of course, still would not mean that they were not part of Saddam’s regime, just that we haven’t found them or that he moved them to some allied nation or offshore. But for all intents and purposes, they don’t exist.) In this case, for all the world, the U.S. looks like it has gone into this endeavor looking like the revenge-seeking bullies that so much of the world has portrayed us to be. Our international relations are permanently damaged.

The second scenario, on the other hand, is that the coalition does find such weapons. In this case, we will have a gloating president and a public that is stirred into patriotic frenzy by this perceived vindication. Worldwide, the cliche of Americans being arrogant is borne out by our actions. Our international relations are permanently damaged.

Oh, yes. This second scenario virtually guarantees another 4-year term for the Bushster.

And let’s face it: either of these scenarios virtually guarantees that we will have more terrorist activity against the United States and U.S. interests, both at home and abroad. We may be able to unseat a dictator through brute force. But the application of such force only incites the Al Qaeda’s of the world into action.

Get that duct tape ready.

Conspiracy Theory of the Day

O.K., so here’s that ‘divided Europe’ post.

Many have pondered how George W. could be so seemingly oblivious to the diplomatic consequences of his actions, especially the severing of ties with some of our strongest and oldest allies. Now, I’m the last to defend the French, because some of the stupidest things I’ve heard said in recent weeks have come from the lips of Jacques Chirac and his posse. But George W.’s actions have triggered a change in the status of the French from benign narcissists to hostile obstructionists.

If one were of a cynical mind, one might speculate that W. is being calculating. In W.’s belief system about the new world order, it seems to be a given that the U.S. will prevail in Iraq and all will go back to normal. But a few years down the road, doesn’t it also stand to reason that W. might think it’s in the U.S.’s best economic and political interests to have a divided Europe? In a post-Cold War era, the E.U. itself is the only viable economic competitor for the U.S. The stronger the bonds are within Europe, the bigger the threat is to U.S. dominance in the world. So, on some level, it makes perfect sense that the bumbling Bush, when faced with the reality that his attempts at so-called coalition building were failing miserably, might think there was a distinct fringe benefit to him. The legacy of his actions, by intent or by mistake, would conceivably position the U.S. more strongly in the world.

Now, of course, this line or reasoning could also backfire louder than a Scud missile. And maybe it has already. Because, yes, officially we may have France and Germany at odds with Spain and the U.K., and — oh, yes — Bulgaria. (No offense, Bulgaria — it’s just too easy to use our alliance with Bulgaria as a punchline.)

But those alliances are only the official governmental ones. Polls in both Spain and the U.K. reveal that the vast majority of citizens of those countries are opposed to being involved in the war. That may translate into long-term solidarity among the European nations.

Hope we all live long enough to find out.

Talking Turkey

Thinking about this war makes me think about the ulterior motives of some of the players in this epic international drama.

Let’s talk Turkey. So Turkey chose to lose out on $30 billion in payments from the U.S., all because they didn’t want to play host to America’s troops on the northeast border of Iraq. That also happens to be the region where the Kurds reside. The Iraqi’s, at Saddam Hussein’s request, used chemical weapons on those Kurds in that area. (These are the people who W. is referring to when he repeatedly says that Saddam Hussein ‘used chemical weapons on his own people.’)

The Turks claimed that they were afraid that these people — outcasts in both Turkey and Iraq — would demand their own state if U.S. troops created too much of a stronghold in that area.

American forces are now attempting to encircle Bagdhad, coming from all directions except the northeast. It’s the missing spoke. Wouldn’t it stand to reason that, if Saddam’s Republican Guard is facing imminent destruction (which we are all promised that they are), that they would attempt to make their escape from Bagdhad to the northeast, where resistance is likely to be the lightest, because of Turkey’s decision not to allow troops there? And wouldn’t it also stand to reason that, as one last desperate act of defiance, the Republican Guard and other forces loyal to Saddam would attempt to take out as many Kurds as they possibly could?

That scenario makes a tidy little package for Turkey. They miss out on a few aid dollars, but they get their neighbors to the south, the Iraqis, to do their dirty work of getting rid of that pesky Kurd problem.

This is not a good time be a Kurd. (Is it ever?)

Next ulterior motive: a divided Europe.

Conflict About Conflict

I cannot remember a time in my life when I have been so conflicted about the world situation.

On the one hand, you have a dictator who, by all accounts, is as despotic as they come. (I won’t reiterate the ‘used-weapons-of-mass-destruction-on-his-own-people’ rhetoric, lest I sound like the George W. tape loop.) Clearly, Saddam Hussein is not a nice guy and, clearly, everyone seems to agree that he should no longer be in power. But he’s surely not leaving power of his own free will anytime soon.

On the other hand, we have a President whose singleness of vision rivals my dog’s. (She is simply incapable of keeping more than one thought in her head at one time, so if you offer her a toy while she’s eating a treat, she gets way too confused. This trait is endearing in an Australian cattle dog, but not so desirable in a world leader.)

George’s narrow focus has been such that he has managed to alienate our long-standing allies in ways that no one could have imagined. By announcing right out of the starting gate his intentions to unseat Saddam, he set up international opposition to his plan from the outset. This is a man for whom the word ‘schmooze’ is too Jewish to have entered his consciousness.

No matter what one feels about the impending war, the argument could easily be made that George could have gotten everything he wanted, if he had only had a little finesse in the beginning of his process. If he had worked behind the scenes with foreign leaders to build consensus prior to announcing what his intentions were, he probably could have even gotten the stinky old French on board. But, instead, he treated the world like it was just one big extension of Texas, and he galloped onto the international scene with six-guns a-blazin’ and with diplomatic skills in short supply.

Consequently, we now go blithely marching into Iraq with the world polarized, leaving a trail of jilted international friends in the dust behind us.

Oh. I forgot. Maybe I’m overreacting. I mean, after all, we’ve got Bulgaria on our side. Whew. Thank God for that. Now we can sleep at night, knowing our soldiers will be safe. If we’re lucky, maybe we can also have the formidable armed forces of Monaco and Luxembourg on our side, too.

War Jitters

Everyone seems to be mumbling the phrase ‘war jitters’ these days. What a bizarre understated choice of words for the profound complex web of emotions that is blanketing our consciousness. It makes it sound like we’ve all just had one too many mocha lattes.

So let me relate the ‘war jitters’ dream I had the other night. First, I’ll relate the dream, then I get pseudo-Freudian with my interpretation.

In the dream, I was out in an unfamiliar field in my SUV (a gas-stingy Honda, by the way), with three people who I didn’t really know. Suddenly, we came upon a couple of men with a camel. The camel started kicking the side of the SUV. The two men with the camel did nothing to control the camel, so the man in my passenger’s seat got out and tried to restrain the camel. The camel started kicking him. The rest of us jumped out of the vehicle to try to save the man. We got the camel to back away and stop. As I turned back to face the SUV, I could see that it was extensively dented but not destroyed.

OK. So here’s the Freudian part (which I didn’t put together until many hours later). The SUV is the symbol of America; the camel represents the Middle East. A person that I didn’t really know was being hurt in some unfamiliar place, as soon as he left the protection of ‘America.’ In the ensuing battle, America was damaged but not destroyed.