Day by Day

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

From the Files of "Why?"

As in "Why can't the press in this country actually report what's going on in Iraq when a paper in freaking LEBANON can?"

Disaster has been prophesied, self-servingly, at every turn: The war would be protracted (it wasn’t, and most Iraqis had no direct experience of it); tens of thousands would die in the battle for Baghdad (they didn’t); and now, in the words of a British Arabist, “even the most optimistic and moderate Iraqis fear the very real prospect of civil war.”
Not those I know. Not yet.

You think you'll ever see that in the New York Times? Nope. Not as long as they can try to discredit Bush.

The voice of Iraqis who supported war over continued tyranny has been hushed from the very beginning. Organizers of the great anti-war demonstrations in Britain confiscated banners saying “Freedom for Iraq” and seized photographs of the victims of Halabja, the Kurdish town where Saddam’s army gassed 5,000 civilians. No space was given to people like Freshta Raper, who lost 21 relatives in Halabja and wanted to ask: “How many protestors have asked an Iraqi mother how she felt when she was forced to watch her son being executed? How many know that these mothers had to applaud as their sons died ­ or be executed themselves? What is more moral? Freeing an oppressed, brutalized people from a vicious tyrant or allowing millions to continue suffering indefinitely?”

Why didn't we hear about these people during the coverage of those anti-war protests? Nah, no left wing bias in the press here! Eric Alterman, your proctologist called. He found your head.

In mid-summer, I spent over a month in Iraq. What I found there did not correspond to what was being reported ­ most crucially, that the liberators were widely perceived as occupiers. That simply wasn’t true. In Baghdad, where US forces had permitted widespread looting (although not as much as reported) and where security and services were virtually nonexistent, attitudes toward the Americans were mixed. But even in Baghdad, even with Saddam and his sons still lurking in the shadows, the sense of relief at the toppling of the regime was palpable.

Quagmire! Another Viet Nam! Bullshit!

It is worth stating the obvious, so momentous is it: For the first time in almost half a century, Iraq has no executions, no political prisoners, no torture and no limits on freedom of expression. Having a satellite dish no longer means going to jail or being executed. There are over 167 newspapers and magazines that need no police permit and suffer no censorship, over 70 political parties and dozens of NGOs. Old professional associations have held elections and new associations have sprung up. People can demonstrate freely ­ and do.

Which is something that France, Germany and the UN didn't want. Independant thinkers don't make good subjects.

Silent Running had the scoop, as well as a quote from some asshat named Jacques Derrida. Read what Derrida has to say, if you can. It was summed up very nicely in the comments by Rabidfox. "In this case, all those words to say: "Sep 11 gets into the way of what I want to believe so it isn't important and you shouldn't think it's importan either."

Hell, that sums up quite a bit of the Donks in this country.

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