Michael J. Totten

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Mutiny in Kuwait

This is not good.

KUWAIT CITY - A command tent at the 101st Airborne Division camp in Kuwait was attacked early Sunday with grenades, and 13 soldiers were wounded, six seriously, military officials said. An American soldier was detained as a suspect, the Army said.

The soldier is assigned to the 101st Airborne, and the motive in the attack "most likely was resentment," said Max Blumenfeld, a spokesman for the U.S. Army V Corps. He did not elaborate.

The soldier who allegedly did this is a Muslim. It is possible his religion has nothing to do with this. It is possible he isn't even guilty.

Either way, there may be a bigger problem here.

Someone on TV (I apologize for forgetting who it was) said the majority of Islamic clerics in the US military are Wahhabi. I have no idea if this is true or not, but if so it is alarming.

Wahhabism is the fanatical sect of Islam from Saudi Arabia. It is the walking, talking living example of Islamofascism. If it really has infiltrated the military, heads need to roll right now.

Until "Wahhabism" becomes a household word, we will not even begin to address the root cause of this war. Islam is not the problem. Neither is terrorism per se. What we are really fighting against are the two strands of Islamofascism; the secular Ba'athism of Syria and Iraq, and the theocratic fanaticism spreading from Saudi Arabia and Iran.

A year and a half after September 11, most people still don't get this. It is the first war in history where we can't even name our own enemy.

Photo Blogging

Great photography at the Herald-Sun.

Basra Photo Gallery

The southern Iraqi city of Basra will soon be liberated.

The town has some potential. Iraqis will get to share their oil wealth soon, and will likely spare a little cash to fix the place up. Photos from Iraq4U.

Another Kind of Shock and Awe

Via Sean LaFreniere, who has a lot more great photos.

Welcome to the Real World

Even the hard-core anti-war folks can figure out the truth if they look hard enough. (Via Andrew Sullivan.)

A group of American anti-war demonstrators who came to Iraq with Japanese human shield volunteers made it across the border today with 14 hours of uncensored video, all shot without Iraqi government minders present. Kenneth Joseph, a young American pastor with the Assyrian Church of the East, told UPI the trip "had shocked me back to reality." Some of the Iraqis he interviewed on camera "told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start. They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny. They convinced me that Saddam was a monster the likes of which the world had not seen since Stalin and Hitler. He and his sons are sick sadists. Their tales of slow torture and killing made me ill, such as people put in a huge shredder for plastic products, feet first so they could hear their screams as bodies got chewed up from foot to head."

They went to Iraq so the other peaceniks don't have to. Send your peacenik friends the link to my site, and save them a trip to Baghdad.

Iraqis Meet the Americans


Iraqi conscripts know who their enemy is. (Via Pathetic Earthlings.)

IRAQI conscripts shot their own officers in the chest yesterday to avoid a fruitless fight over the oil terminals at al-Faw. British soldiers from 40 Commando’s Charlie Company found a bunker full of the dead officers, with spent shells from an AK47 rifle around them.

Stuck between the US Seals and the Royal Marines, whom they did not want to fight, and a regime that would kill them if they refused, it was the conscripts’ only way out.

I can't even imagine Americans doing this. Has it ever happened in our history?

Just one more reason why we are the good guys in this fight.

The Unholy Trinity

History Turns Again

The liberation of Iraq is a geopolitical earthquake. Baghdad is the epicenter, and the shockwave may alter the course of human history as much as the implosion of the Soviet Union.

Joe Katzman has a vision of the future. He says what he calls neo-colonialism may become the next big thing. The issue will divide the left, and it will divide the right.

If he can call it something else...perhaps neo-Wilsonianism, or something like that...sign me up now. I'm on board.

The Problem is Terrorism

Hugh Mackey is not too bright.

The logic of our attack on Iraq is deeply flawed. If this turns out to be the military equivalent of a walk in the park and if, as intelligence reports suggest, Saddam Hussein's army is a shadow of its former self (and even its former self, to judge from the rout that followed its retreat from Kuwait, wasn't too flash), then, clearly, Saddam was never a serious threat to the security of the world.

No one ever said Saddam's conventional army is the problem. Where on earth has this guy been for the past year and a half?

And is it just me, or does it sound like this guy wishes the war were more violent?

Friday, March 21, 2003

An Easy Prediction

A liberated Iraqi says to the US Marines

What took you so long?

Just as I predicted back in January.

The Wrong Side of History

Tony Blair may be George Bush's poodle, but Jacques Chirac is Saddam Hussein's Paris Harlot.

Brought to you (and the French) by The Sun. (Thanks to Andrew Sullivan.)

Trouble in the North

Turkey is up to no good.

SILOPI, Turkey (Reuters) - A Turkish commando force of around 1,500 men crossed into northern Iraq on Friday night, a precursor to eventual larger deployment, a Turkish military official told Reuters.

The United States has told Turkey it would not welcome a large unilateral Turkish incursion into northern Iraq, where Kurdish authorities are suspicious of Turkish motives.

Turkey says it needs troops in Iraq to control refugees and forestall any attempt to create a Kurdish state.

Kurdish groups have said they will resist any Turkish invasion.

End of an Era

Liberated Iraqis Hug U.S. Marines

UPDATE: The New York Times took this lovely photo down off their Web site for some asinine reason. But if you click the photo, it will take you to the story where the photo originally appeared.

Two Sides of American Power

Kindness toward innocents.

No mercy for tyrants.

No Description Necessary


The First Marine Division is cheered by Iraqi civilians in the town of Safwan.

Liberation is no longer a hope. It is a fact.

Fission on the Right

The political brawl on the left has been duked out in public, especially on this Web site. A similar feud on the right is starting now, too.

This is a good thing. The mainstream left and the mainstream right are beginning a process of moral and political hygeine, expunging the creeps that corrode and corrupt the respectable and civilized.

In the National Review former Bush speechwriter David Frum opens up both barrels on the right-wing of the Republican Party.

America has social problems; the American family is genuinely troubled. The conservatism of the future must be a social as well as an economic conservatism. But after the heroism and patriotism of 9/11 it must also be an optimistic conservatism.

There is, however, a fringe attached to the conservative world that cannot overcome its despair and alienation. The resentments are too intense, the bitterness too unappeasable. Only the boldest of them as yet explicitly acknowledge their wish to see the United States defeated in the War on Terror. But they are thinking about defeat, and wishing for it, and they will take pleasure in it if it should happen.

They began by hating the neoconservatives. They came to hate their party and this president. They have finished by hating their country.

War is a great clarifier. It forces people to take sides. The paleoconservatives have chosen — and the rest of us must choose too. In a time of danger, they have turned their backs on their country. Now we turn our backs on them.

In today's Front Page Magazine Stephen Schwartz brutally tears apart Pat Buchanan's pal Justin Raimondo, who runs the neo-fascist Web site antiwar.com. (I left out the hyperlink on purpose.)

Dennis “Justin” Raimondo, proprietor of the “antiwar.com” website, has reveled in his status, after September 11, as America’s most exquisite Jew-baiter. This was the individual who, almost single-handedly, conflated a mass of disconnected rumors into the theory that Israel stood behind the atrocities of that terrible day. Since then, this Dennis-the-wannabe-Menace has remained best known for selling that product, while traveling back and forth across a no-man’s-land of neofascist bizarrerie. He also has enjoyed a brief notoriety as an inciter to mutiny in the armed forces, warning that American soldiers should not “die for Israel.”

Fascism and, especially, Jew-baiting, are distinguished from other political phenomena by their unvarying banality. There are no new forms of Jew-hatred, and its purveyors must therefore endlessly troll through the dustbin of history, seeking castoffs to recycle. Dennis Raimondo has added to this the role of historical vampire, digging up long-buried corpses with names like John T. Flynn and Garet Garrett – justifiably forgotten partisans of American defeat in World War II – hoping to breathe the semblance of life into them to further his career as the rescusitator of the “America First” cult. Necrophilia is his eroticism of choice.

The intellectually bankrupt axiom "No Enemies to the Left" is being trashed out of dire necessity.

Ronald Reagan's fat-headed rule that Republicans should never criticize other Republicans in public is also now history.

War is, indeed, a great clarifier.

UPDATE: Sparkey at Sgt Stryker comments, and makes a fair point.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Wallowing in Fantasy

I generally have a high regard for my fellow human beings. I assume the best about people unless there are obvious reasons not to.

It gives me a blind spot, but I'll take it. It's easier to make friends this way, and easier to keep them.

For the first few days after September 11, I was thrown off balance and said incredibly stupid things. I thought we must have done something wrong to make Osama bin Laden despise us.

I actually gave the bastard some slack. Those who deny they excuse him today are full of it. I know the mentality. I shared it with them briefly.

I figured he must have a reason; pure human evil doesn't exist. He had to have a grievance in there somewhere. Terrorism is political, right? What does he want? And does he have a point?

I watched the news, read the papers, and remembered the Holocaust. My fellow human beings are not always angels. Some people really are monsters. This isn't a caricature, and you don't have to be a Hell-believing Christian to grasp it.

I bought books of Middle East history, and I've long since lost count of how many I've read. After just a few days I got it basically right. Everything else I've learned in the meantime is just more flesh on the bones.

Some people still don't get it. I can't believe it. I really can't. But it's true.

Bala Ambati has no patience. And he pulls no punches.

Sugarcoating and whitewashing Islamic fundamentalism has become a pastime for an odd assortment of loony leftists, so-called self-proclaimed "moderate" Muslims, warmed-over ex-Communists and perennial anti-Americans. The Sept. 11 aftermath witnessed these terrorist apologists blaming the CIA or Mossad for the attacks, spreading the idiotarian and bigoted canard about 4,000 Jews missing work that day, and simultaneously saying it was just punishment for the U.S. Those guilty of imbecilic dissonance demonstrate refusal to deal with inconvenient facts and damning reality. Rather than expressing contrition for these lies or mercifully shut up, they switched to blaming the attacks on Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "globalization", or U.S. "imperialism", further proving themselves untethered from fact.

Their logical leaps and contorted convolutions never cease, now excusing the mass murder of Australian tourists in Bali on resentment over repression of Palestinians. The suicide bombing of a bus in Manila, torching of churches and worshipers in Nigeria, and throat-slitting and beheading of unveiled Kashmiri women are also no doubt due to resentment over repression of Palestinians. When will this weirdly wicked farcical falsehood yield to the truth, which is uttered by Islamic fundamentalists themselves? When a French oil tanker was rammed by explosives, the Islamic Army of Aden declared, "We would have preferred to hit a US frigate. But it is no matter-the French are also infidels." It is time to take fundamentalists at their word--they want to kill or convert all "infidels" to their perverse brand of Islam.

Time to go to school, folks. You've had a year and a half to figure this out, and it really isn't that hard.

Dead Man Walking?

If Saddam hasn't been atomized by a bunker buster, he is still in quite the pickle right now. Even if he gets out of his hole, he is going to have to find another one.

Andrew Cockburn shows that even thirty years ago he knew how much he was hated.

IN EARLY 1969, less than a year after his Baath Party seized power, Saddam Hussein spoke to an aggrieved family who complained that one of their number had been unjustly executed. Spurning a suggestion that they settle for diaya (blood money), they demanded justice and retribution.

“Take the money,” Saddam said quietly. “Do not think you will get revenge, because if you ever have the chance, by the time you get to us, there will not be a sliver of flesh left on our bodies.” In other words, should he ever fall from power, there would be too many others queueing up to tear him and his fellow Baathists apart.

If he's alive, he's still dead.

A Quiet Opening

The war started barely twenty-four hours ago, and already it feels like a week.

The first strike in Baghdad may have cut off the head of the snake. Saddam's address on Iraqi TV was possibly recorded earlier. Elite members of the Republican Guard are reportedly negotiating surrender.

This could all be untrue. The fog of war, disinformation, and just plain uncertainty are constant features of war journalism.

If we're lucky and all this is true, the Shock and Awe assault we have all been waiting for may never even occur.

A short war, low casualties, a freed nation, and embarassed peaceniks. What wonderful news if it all turns out to be true.

But don't count on it. We may still have a long slog ahead.


Portland Anarchism

During rush hour in Portland, Oregon today, a band of anarchists marched through the streets waving upside-down American flags, and burned another flag in the street. I saw two people carrying giant flags, one with the words "End America" painted on it, the other with slathered with "Riot."

A splinter group surged onto one of the bridges that span the Willamette River downtown and tried to shut it down. Riot police charged ahead to keep them out of traffic. The march leaders carried a large home-made shield emblazoned with the slogan "All Bets Are Off." They violently charged the police and knocked several officers and their motorcycles down.

The police wielded their riot sticks and beat the front line. Backup officers arrived and doused the anarchists with cannons of pepper-spray.

The anarchists then backed down. One officer was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

One of my anti-war colleagues called the anarchists "despicable."

Here is how Indymedia "reported" the same event. They claim the police started the violence, but they are lying. I watched it happen. (I have reversed the order of the timestamped entries for readability.)

6:03 pm At the Steel Bridge 75-100 protestors are being cut off by police from the rest of the march.
6:05 pm Around 12 horse cops and 16-18 riot cops are advancing on the smaller crowd.
6:14 pm KBOO report SW 1st & Everett near the Steele Bridge. "A couple hundred are trying to cross the bridge" and 50-100 cops are trying to prevent this. The smell of pepperspray is in the air. Sights of people who have been sprayed... A fire truck has obstructed the view. Much of the crowd is now heading toward the waterfront
6:18 pm Looking at the Steele Bridge from the Waterfront, protesters are leaving the onramps to the Steele Bridge and seem to be regrouping and marching away. Lots of people were peppersprayed and the cops were hitting protesters through their banner, and there were some hitting them back! A sad sight of a deaf man who started screaming and who was then peppersprayed.
6:20 pm KBOO reports that Ch 2 news reported that SWAT team was deployed from East side of Steele Bridge.
6:23 pm Someone on the Steel Bridge says that cops started beating people with their sticks and the people started fighting back, with the result of one cop having a bloody face. Cops broke out the pepperspray, started pushing people off the ramp, when 25-30 people sat down on the ramp for around 10 minutes, and now are gone.

Never trust anything Indymedia "reports."

I may sometimes be wrong when I post to this blog, but I promise you I never lie.

Lotsa Moustaches

Saddam and his doubles.

The De-Ba'athification of Iraq

The current state of the Planning Ministry in Baghdad.

The Western Way of War

A British commander gives this talk to his troops. (Via Andrew Stuttaford.)

We go to liberate not to conquer. We will not fly our flags in their country. We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own. Show respect for them. There are some who are alive at this moment who will not be alive shortly. Those who do not wish to go on that journey, we will not send. As for the others I expect you to rock their world. Wipe them out if that is what they choose. But if you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory. If someone surrenders, ensure that one day they go home to their family. The ones who wish to fight, well, we aim to please...As for ourselves, let's bring everyone home and leave Iraq a better place for us having been there. Our business now is north.

We are not terrorists. Thank you.

One Way To Look At It

John Derbyshire writes in The Corner:

Since apparently SH & Co. intend to hang tough, what we really have here is what police call a hostage situation. The hostages, of course, are the Iraqi people. Did not SH wonder aloud the other day how many Iraqis we are prepared to kill? Seen from this point of view, those "leadership strikes" are the equivalent of a police sharpshooter trying for a headshot.

That's a pretty decent analogy. And it makes sense that the same people who hate the police are protesting the war in the streets. Ah, consistency.

An Honest Protester

Who Cares What China Thinks?

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said:

We strongly urge relevant countries to immediately stop military action.

I strongly urge the Chinese dictatorship to immediately stop military action in Tibet. Or shut the hell up.

Maturity Test

Anti-warriors, don't lash out in anger at the society that has rejected your views. Be like Eric Alterman. (Via Instapundit.)

For me, the antiwar movement such as it was, is over. We lost. It’s time to wish the best for our soldiers and the victims of this war focus on building a better future.

That said, you have your right to protest, even the right to be a jerk about it. But don't expect to be popular.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003


Richard Cohen writes one of the best columns of his career. It starts this way:

I am reproached by my e-mails -- dismissed as a fool, condemned as a warmonger. How could I, a supposed liberal, support the war in Iraq? I have several reasons, but the most important has to do with a recurring dream I used to have. In it, I am entering Auschwitz.

Go read the rest of it.

A Just War

Now that the war I've advocated has begun, I admit I feel a bit guilty. War is horrible. People are dying because we are killing them. When you get right down to it, I don't feel comfortable being in favor of it. Maybe this is good. If I were too certain, too pleased to see we are at war, there might be something wrong with me.

However. I do know Saddam Hussein's regime is a threat. How much of a threat is debatable, naturally, because what he may or may not do in the future is obviously speculative. (Though it is more predictable than the pollyannas who haven't studied him allow.) Either way, no serious person can say he is no threat at all.

What makes me feel better about it is a lot less speculative, and is becoming more concrete by the day. The Iraqi people will thank us. They will. We are not committing atrocities against them. Some people don't believe that. They will learn in time. It is counterintuitive; who would want their country bombed by foreigners?

Here is some telling commentary by John Burns, found via Andrew Sullivan.

Iraqis have suffered beyond, I think, the common understanding of the United States from the repression of the past 30 years here. And many, many Iraqis are telling us now, not always in the whispers he have heard in the past but now in quite candid conversations, that they are waiting for America to come and bring them liberty. It's very hard though for anybody to understand this. It can only be understood in terms of the depth of the repression here. It has to be said that this not universal of course... All I can tell you is that as every reporter who has come over here will attest to this, there is the most extraordinary experience of the last few days has been a sudden breaking of the ice here, with people in every corner of life coming forward to tell us that they understand what America is about in this. They are very, very fearful of course of the bombing, of damage to Iraq's infrastructure. They are very concerned about the kind of governance, the American military governance, that they will come under afterward. Can I just say that there is also no doubt - no doubt - that there are many, many Iraqis who see what is about to happen here as the moment of liberation.

This, ultimately, makes it all worth it. It is what America is all about. Freedom. Human rights. Revolutionary liberal democracy.

Coups are sometimes called Revolution From Above. Think of this as Revolution From Abroad.

Let's say the threat from Saddam is overestimated, that he's just a paper-tiger. Let's say we war hawks are just being paranoid and are overreacting to September 11. Evidence points the other way...but even if we're wrong about the threat, even if this war were not so necessary, good will come from this intervention regardless.

Freeing the Iraqi people is not the primary reason for war. But if anything is the opposite of collateral damage, this is it.

A Voice of Liberation

The United States has seized control of the Iraqi radio waves.

A new Arabic speaker, a free Iraqi, is broadcasting.

This is the day we have been waiting for.

Game Over

Saddam's 48 hours have passed.

Bad News

The Bush Administration has made a lot of mistakes, and this one is by far the dumbest, the cruelest, and the most dangerous.

Of all the eruptions that a U.S.-led war on Iraq may unleash, none is more urgent to address than that between Iraqi Kurds and their Turkish neighbor. Turkey stands poised to enter Iraq with military might to prevent the Kurds from making any move toward statehood, with control of the city of Kirkuk and its oil-rich environs seen as the key. The Kurds, in turn, have threatened to transform their native land into a graveyard for Turkish soldiers. Whether the United States will be able to keep them apart is an open question.

Who's the smart guy who thought this one up?

If the idea was to turn the Kurds against America, or force two NATO members (Turkey and the US) into conflict, great job. We're all set to go.

Are We Too Powerful?

Oliver Willis worries about the psychological ramifications of easy war. I'm not sure what to make of this myself. I don't wish the war were going to be harder. That would be deranged. But I share his discomfort. There is something not-real and vaguely unsettling about it.

Then again, we might get terrorized at home as soon as the war starts. It won't seem so easy then.

Right-wing Jihad

Pat Buchanan is ranting about Jews again. In an article called "Whose War?" he says the "Israeli connection" to the "War Party" has been "exposed." He even uses the term "cabal."

Pat Buchanan denies he is anti-Semitic.

Thieving Anarchists

The creeps at Indymedia in my city are stealing American flags from people's porches and are replacing them with this.

Stupifying Idiocy

At a time when a coalition of democratic nations prepares to overthrow a fascist dictatorship, some people still think the democrats are the real fascists, and the genocidal tyrant is a poor mewling victim.

War Could be Short

The collapse of the Iraqi military and the Iraqi regime has already begun.

Masses of Iraqi soldiers are deserting and senior members of President Saddam Hussein's ruling family circle are defecting as the countdown to a British and US invasion reaches its final hours.

In northern Iraq, on the border with Kurdistan, up to three-quarters of some Iraqi regiments have already fled.

In the mainly Shia Muslim south, Kuwaiti border guards are having to turn Iraqi soldiers back - telling them that they must wait until an attack begins before they can surrender.

And in a highly significant development in Baghdad a half-brother of President Saddam, who is regarded as the dictator's closest adviser, has fled in the past week to Syria.

Anyone still think this is going to be a Vietnam-style quagmire?

Saddam in a Nutshell

Saddam restarts his war against the Kurds.

Two Iraqi helicopters fired machine guns and rockets into three Kurdish villages on the front line north of Kirkuk yesterday, in the first shots intended to kill in the coming war.

''There were two of them, one an attack helicopter and the other normally used for transport, attacking the villages where people herding cattle live," Mohammed Fateh, a local Kurdish military commander, said.

Kurdish officers believe that the Iraqi helicopter attack on the three impoverished and half-ruined villages of Bashtapa, Girdalanka and Sherawa in the hills south-east of Qush Tappa was a desperate effort by the Iraqi army to raise the morale of its men and prove that its firepower is still to be reckoned with.

Saddam tries to raise morale by firing machine guns into his own country's villages. Imagine if George Bush ordered a bombing campaign against Dubuque, Iowa to buck up the US troops in the Gulf.

Opening Skirmishes

The first shots are fired.

The War Has Started

By Robert Fox, Defence Correspondent and David Taylor, Evening Standard

19 March 2003

British and American troops were involved in fierce fighting near Iraq's main port today as the war to topple Saddam Hussein began.

The firefight broke out near Basra as men of the Special Boat Service targeted the strategically vital city and the oilfields in southern Iraq.

At the same time allied troops were flooding into the demilitarised zone on the Iraqi border with Kuwait 40 miles away to take up positions for an all-out invasion.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

America at War

William Hague writes about America from England.

I have been lucky enough to travel across most of the states of America. I have sat with old men on their porches in Tennessee, and ridden with young wranglers in Montana in the mountains of the Great Divide. As a politician, I have visited schools in New York, retirement homes in Florida and technology firms in San Diego. And I have to say that it would be hard to come across a nation of people less imperialist by culture, temperament and inclination. America was forged in the first place by the families of Protestant settlers who had a work ethic, a strong sense of right and wrong, and a hostility to governmental power and royal authority. They went to a new land in order to be away from wars, taxes and kings. Their attitudes, reinforced by the waves of dispossessed people who have joined them in succeeding centuries, remain the central characteristics of America today. Americans are still by nature disrespectful of authority, deeply democratic by instinct, very conscious of their freedom, and particularly happy to live in a vast and beautiful land which is free from external threats.

Such people are difficult to rouse to war. If Americans are insular — and many of them are — they cannot be imperialist at the same time. In British and French eyes, their sin over much of the last century has been isolationism: ‘too proud to fight’, as Woodrow Wilson said. Americans have always hated joining in other people’s conflicts. Only unrestricted submarine attacks off their west coast brought them into the first world war, and only a direct attack on American soil in Pearl Harbor brought them into the second, even Churchill’s brilliant eloquence having made little progress with them until then. Once roused, however, they have responded with a mixture of determination, loyalty and generosity that no other nation has ever matched. Without America, France would have lived in a dark age of dictatorship for decades. Without America, Germans could not have rescued themselves from a racist ideology. And without America, Europe’s only alternative to Nazi tyranny would have been communist tyranny. American troops left behind them an independent and democratic Japan, and brought Europe the Marshall Plan — both supreme acts of enlightenment in foreign policy. They share with Britain, but not with other European powers, the distinction of leaving democracy and freedom in their wake wherever they can.

We are the good guys. Saddam Hussein is a genocidal fascist. Never forget that.

You may think this war is a mistake. You may be opposed to it for reasons I don't share. That's fine. There are honorable reasons to dissent.

But no one can tell me America is fascist and imperialist. It is a lie, and it is not honorable.

If George Bush lines the Democratic Senators up against a wall and has them machine-gunned by the Army, let me know. I'll join in calling America fascist.

If we conquer Iraq, enslave its people, and rape it of its resources, shoot me an email. I'll agree America is imperialist and stand corrected in public.

We are about to kill a lot of people in Iraq. I feel awful about it, even though I think the cause is just. It brings me no happiness that a war I've long supported is finally about to begin. When the shooting starts, I will sit and watch it on War-TV and bury my head in my hands. I'll feel a lump in my throat and a clench in my stomach. I will mourn the dead on both sides.

I am not bloodthirsty. I don't like war, and I don't hate the people of Iraq. Not even the soldiers in Saddam Hussein's army. I won't enjoy the sight of falling bombs, knowing human beings are being killed in those explosions.

But I will enjoy seeing an enslaved country liberated from a tyrant. I will sleep a little better knowing those genocide weapons will be disposed by army inspectors. I will smile as aid workers pour into the country to rescue a long-suffering people.

And I hope to see our fiercest critics shamed. We are not the "real axis of evil." We're about to prove it by freeing and rebuilding what Saddam Hussein spent three long decades destroying.

Monday, March 17, 2003

Real Friendship, Real Support

Poland offers to send troops to fight in the desert. They aren't sending many, but it's a nice gesture of actual support.

Someone recently said (I forget who and where) that Poland is more pro-American than America. It might be worth considering Warsaw for your next European vacation, and skipping Paris. It could be a pleasant and rewarding experience.

The Acceleration of History

History is not over.

It feels like the world is unraveling. Old alliances are falling apart, new alliances are being forged. The UN is irrelevant, and so too now is NATO. They were both created at the beginning of the Cold War, and they coasted along on cruise-control after the Soviet Union collapsed. They are creaking dinosaurs from another time. They must bend or break. They cannot survive the coming era as they are. It is no one's fault; it is the result of history and time.

We will never go back to the days of September 10. That era is now gone forever.

History has returned as a hurricane.

Gruesome Days Ahead

Saddam Hussein is reportedly arming his troops with chemical weapons. This is a pretty neat trick for a man who supposedly doesn't have any. If he fires them off, those who have said Saddam has no weapons and has been in compliance with UN Resolution 1441 will have a lot to answer for.

We waited too long to start this. Our delay merely allowed Saddam more time to dig in and prepare to inflict as much destruction as possible. No lives were spared because we waited. More people on both sides will die because we did, not to mention all the Iraqis Saddam has killed while the UN debated the meaning of the word "immediate."

The New Super-flu

If you are worried about the outbreak of the scary new superflu virus in Asia, go read this by Steven Den Beste. It may not be quite the horror the media make it out to be.

Thanks for the relief, Steven. I hope you're right. The tension in the Middle East is quite enough already. The last thing the world needs is a bioterrorism attack from North Korea.

UPDATE: Here is more encouraging information about the virus. It's not that scary. Only a little.

Goodbye to So Much Bullshit

On the eve of war (for real this time) the Hitch reads my mind.

I have been for regime-change in Iraq for longer than Bush, and sometimes think that I believe in it more than he does, and often wish I could feel his pain and field his questions, but the overlooked and impressive fact is this. Here is a man who has become convinced, fairly slowly, in spite of himself.

He was elected as one who opposed "nation-building" and was prepared to lift sanctions on Iraq. He now thinks that it's common-sense to realise that Saddam Hussein seeks a confrontation.

He has intelligence reports which will one day be made public, showing that the "inspectors" have been infiltrated by Saddam.

That wanted murderers are hiding in Baghdad, that there are weapons-sites that the Iraqis believe to be secret.

He reads this stuff every day, or has it presented to him.

Then he reads Chancellor Schroeder saying that Germany would not support an intervention even if the Security Council DID vote for it, and President Chirac saying that peace is always preferable to war (unless French interests are involved, in which case their troops crash off the planes into Africa the very next day) and he thinks, what's so bad about being Texan?

Well, at least there's no bullshit involved.

Copyright 2003 Michael J. Totten