Of course the media is full of more news of Czarist America's war on Iraq. I guess the only important detail is how many innocent people have died. I'd say that we've now passed Al Qaeda in that category. Very conservative estimates say we've already killed more than 300 Iraqi civilians. These estimates are conservative in the sense that they are carefully confirmed reports of cases where American weapons actually did the deed. More realistically, the numbers must be much higher, even vastly larger if we consider the long-term effects of the sanctions. However, Iraq is much smaller than America, less than 1/10 the population, so on a per capita basis, those 300 deaths are proportionately larger than the 3,000 deaths America suffered on 9/11.
Apparently the war is not the cakewalk that Dubya and Rumsfeld had been selling. We're sending another 100,000 emergency reinforcements, and sandstorms and Iraqi resistance fighters and guerrilla tactics are all making things very awkward. Turns out the Iraqis don't love us after all. Even the many of the Iraqis that dislike Saddam apparently dislike the US even more. Cost estimates continue to skyrocket, but that's probably just making the secret bad news public. Bottom line is that there's absolutely no way for Dubya to get out of the mess now. Of course, from HIS special perspective, this is no mess at all. Though overall the war is a disaster, including a financial disaster, some people do manage to make large profits, and those people happen to be his special friends, and they'll gladly provide the money he needs to stay in power. Actually should be a bargain next time, since he's going to be the perpetual war president and the elections will be fully rigged.
Well, Dubya is finally getting his war on, but first, a forgotten word on the old topic of Al Qaeda. Yeah, remember them? The guys who actually attacked us? Wanted to add a few words of confusion about that recent arrest of the high Al Qaeda honcho. Still not even sure if he is actually alive, and pretty sure they haven't started any fancy show trials yet. No sign of the body, but he never qualified for habeus corpus, anyway. However, there was an official US Government announcement explaining the kinds of torture we were "allowed" to use. In quotes, because no one else gets to tell us Amerikans anything about what we are and are not allowed to do. Officially, the torture would be limited to "relatively minor" stuff like sleep and light and food deprivation, though they admitted they would exploit torture targets of opportunity. In that context, they mentioned another Al Qaeda leader who was shot a few times during his capture, and they thought it fitting and appropriate to deny him any pain relieving medications during his interrogations. With regards to the high Al Qaeda honcho who might or might not be alive and under torture somewhere, they definitely admitted to capturing his young children, and explained that they would be interrogated very humanely, using child psychologists and all that stuff. Nevertheless, remember that this is just the stuff they are officially admitting to, and it's pretty obvious that they are vigorously slanting things their way. Just look at some of the lies about Iraq. Pure and utter balderdash. On the torture topic, they didn't mention anything about adding drugs to the food, but that's because they're sure they can eliminate that evidence, and even the torturee can't prove anything about the drugs. Also nothing about the transfers of prisoners to less squeamish governments that are willing to take care of the "proper" tortures at arms length from the "good and moral" Amerikans.
Meanwhile, back to Dubya's war. Actually seems to be starting off relatively slowly, and apparently even with extreme concern about minimizing civilian casualties. Two most likely explanations are that Dubya has realized he is committing war crimes and wants to minimize the number of counts against him, or that he's hoping (and no doubt praying) to get lucky and drop one on Saddam's noodle. Assassination is such an ugly word! Let's just call it an act of god. (Yeah, I think it MUST be a little "g" god in Dubya's case. No way a just God could be involved in any of this.) The Bushies are calling it a decapitation strategy, but not much chance it's going to work. Quite obvious that Saddam's counterintelligence boys are going to flood the channels, and that's one of the places where the defense has a fundamental advantage.
I feel like adding some comments about the anti-war protests, but that's got nothing to do with Dubya: See no peace, hear no peace, speak no peace. Act war. However, seems more useful to comment on yet another Bushish moral inversion: Lawyers as better politicians? Yeah, you read it correctly. In general lawyers are the scum of the earth, greedy game players who exploit the rules and other people's problems, and I generally regard it as a big problem that almost all politicians come from that bad crowd. However, when push comes to shove, at least the lawyers have SOME respect for the rule of law. Dubya started his national career by riding roughshod over the election laws of Florida (and double roughshod over the will of the voters), and now he's doing the same to international law, only more so.
It's not that I think the UN is perfect or anything, but when you look at the bottom line, they did manage to avoid any really major wars for more than 50 years, which is probably the all-time record. I'm making allowances for technology there. Yes, far fewer people died in earlier wars, but those still were the most major wars they could manage in those times, given the available killing technologies. These days we can take out an entire city with one bomb. And the way Dubya is going, that's what's going to happen--but Dubya is sure that he'll be safe enough in his bunker, and in political terms, that will really consolidate his grip on power.
So what are the Bushies going to do with the power? Still not clear. They could still go down the Nazi road, but let's hope not. Certainly they can't be thinking of a Napoleonic empire. Try to compare Dubya with Napoleon without falling off of your chair. Actually, I think the model they are most likely following is Czarist Russia, with the extreme gap between the serfs and the ruling class.
Lots of things continue to happen, and STILL can't figure out what to say about them. I feel like digressing to a piece on the marks of a real journalist... As an outline:
Lots happening, but not much to say about it I guess. Even what news there is seems confusing and misleading. For example, recently they reported that the number two leader of Al Qaeda had been captured, but he apparently turned out to be dead. Still not clear if he was killed in the raid, or after the raid, or maybe before the raid, or what. Enough rumors flying around for him to turn up alive, actually. I hope not, but who knows? Anyway, it's unlikely they could have gotten anything out of him. At least not if they wanted enough pieces left for a show trial.
Yesterday there was a big anti-war demonstration in Hibya Park, and I went for a while. I didn't stay for the march to Ginza, but I sat in the theater for a while. One report said there were 40,000 participants, though with my own eyes I never saw more than about 15,000. However, I went to the library before the march actually began. I was wearing a "Dubya's political weather forecast: Moral inversion with a 100% chance of WAR" sign. Truly absurd situation that leaving Saddam alone appears to be the lesser evil now, but Dubya has specialized in messing things all of his life. Just bigger messes these days.