Minutiae
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"So. Our ancestors clawed their way out of the caves, fought behemoths with their bare hands; survived earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, meteor showers and plagues, all so their descendents could sit on the road and wail."
- Pundita

Friday, March 21, 2003
Is
that what's going on? Did we decapitate the government in the first few hours of the war?

posted by Rachel 3/21/2003
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Surprised? No.

posted by Rachel 3/21/2003
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Oooh
ouch. I think this is going to get really brutal after the fighting is over. Who was in bed with whom and for how much.

posted by Rachel 3/21/2003
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Oh the delicious
irony... Blix says that the Scud missiles Iraq fired at Kuwait are a violation of UN agreements. Really? You think?
"Even though he wanted more time for inspections, Blix said yesterday that he didn't know if he could ever be sure that Iraq wasn't hiding the illegal missiles.

"I could not guarantee that we would come to clear conclusions even after some months more," he said."

Update: Dan has pointed out that they apparently weren't Scuds. Early reports sometimes get details wrong. The point is that Saddam was prohibited from having missiles that can reach his neighbors after the first Gulf War. So they're illegal regardless.

posted by Rachel 3/21/2003
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Interviews in the Guardian with Iranian students.

posted by Rachel 3/21/2003
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A PBS
interview with some Iraqi-Americans in Michigan.

posted by Rachel 3/21/2003
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Man. This has got to be terrifying for the rest of the world, not just Iraq. We are once again demonstrating that we have the strongest military in history. If we really want to, there isn't anyone who could stand against us. Maybe China but that's more a matter of numbers than skill or technology.

When we were going into Afghanistan the talking heads gravely warned that it was no Iraq, it had been Russia's Vietnam. The word quagmire was invoked over and over again. And it was over in 6 weeks. Then we turned our attention to Iraq and were solemnly warned that it is no Afghanistan. Each time we have been warned that the "Arab Street" will rise up in fury against us.

I think it terrifies and infuriates most of the world every time they see us exercise this unprecedented power. Not because it's brutal- we spend millions of dollars per bomb on weapons that will utterly destroy a bunker and leave the hospital next-door standing. But because it is absolutely unopposable. They want us to listen to what they say because that's the only hope they have of influencing what we do. We are the hyper power and the gap is only going to get wider.

The rest of the world does not understand the American character. We are ridiculously slow to rouse. We much prefer driving SUVs, eating McDonalds, and making money, to conquering or oppressing other people or even getting involved in their messes. Sure we have flaws and we make mistakes, but we generally fix them ourselves. We constantly aspire to perfection, to be a moral people. We are the fat, happy, ignorant, idiots, that the world thinks us 99% of the time, but when the cause is sufficiently important, when we have assured ourselves that there is no realistic alternative and that no one else is going to deal with the problem, then we move mountains.

Not only does the rest of the world not understand our character, they donít understand our motivations. When else in history has a nation with this kind of power not been imperialistic, not conquered everyone they could? Weíre happy chugging along in our capitalist prosperity-generating machine, buying toys and watching RealityTV. (Another reason for hatred is that the capitalism that drives our success is philosophically anathema to much of the world. Ėahem France-) And to really add to the terror, we change the leadership of our country every 4 years. The rest of the world sits on pins and needles every 4 years wondering who is going to lead the hyper power. (I suspect one of the reasons that Europe hated Bush was that they recognized that he isnít someone they can sweet talk or threaten, and weíve just seen that. He isnít one of their kind of people.)

So you have a group of people many many times more powerful than the rest of the world, who the rest of the world doesnít understand, and who doesnít always listen to the rest of the world. I think that explains the reactions weíre getting from everyone but our closest allies. I think some of our allies do understand us, and some just want to be on the winning side. Either way donít expect world opinion to improve even if the war is over in 2 weeks and even if we prove that Saddam had WMDs. Itíll just make everyone more scared of us.

posted by Rachel 3/21/2003
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