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Chronicles of War: It Will Last as Long as It Lasts
An ongoing log of the experience of the Iraq war along with links to further resources including how the media is covering the war.
By Ed Knudson
4/15/03 The National Museum of Iraq has been ransacked; see the story at the Christian Science Monitor; and the library too. American soldiers were asked to come, but they refused. Still, no weapons of mass destruction have been found.
4/10/03 Day Twentythree, Thursday What perhaps will be the major image of the Iraq war was seen on television yesterday, the toppling of a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, with jubilant Iraqi citizens stomping on the remains of the statue. The question is what will be the long-term meaning of this war in the minds of Americans, what kind of country are we becoming as military victory is celebrated? So far no weapons of mass destruction, the threat of which was used to justify this war, have been found.
4/2/03 Day Fifteen, Wednesday U.S. forces are pushing closer to Baghdad as Terry M. Neal of the Washington Post asks Will Iraq War Create Long-Term Problems for U.S. in Middle East? He talks about popular opinion in the Middle East and the neoconservative arguments for the war.
4/1/03 Day Fourteen, Tuesday In a letter to the editor in my paper Edward C. Robinson says that the Iraq war is doing just what the 9/11 terrorist attack was designed to do, to elicit a response from the United States that would help galvanize the Islamic world against it, making peace more and more impossible in the area. He is against blindly supporting the president. He quotes Nazi official Hermann Goering who said during the Nuremberg trial: "...the people can always be brought to do the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to greater danger."
3/31/03 Day Thirteen, Monday It is now certain that the famous hawks in the administration, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, really did believe that Iraq would fold quickly as American forces approached, which led so many people to support the war in the first place. Were they intentionally misleading the American people, or are they so committed to their ideology that they cannot consider the facts. Tim Reid in the UK Sunday Times tells the whole story. Rumsfeld wanted a "war on the cheap". He says: "The political pressure on Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, increased dramatically after new allegations that before the war he repeatedly demanded and succeeded in getting the number of ground troops sharply reduced, in the face of frequent warnings by his military advisers that such a plan was dangerous and reckless." Cheney believed "the streets in Basra and Baghdad are sure to erupt in joy".
George Bush only wants to get information from subordinates in which he already believes: "CIA analysts brief journalists continually that their warnings that Iraqi Fedayin units would use guerrilla tactics against coalition rear units, and that the regime of President Saddam Hussein would not crack easily, were dismissed. They pointed to a report sent to government officials in February, which they claim was “softened” as it moved up the chain of command."
The Fox News Network is not at all what it claims to be "fair and balanced". It is a cheerleader for war. Let your views be known to them. Call Fox News at (212) 301-3000 and email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I received an email about how nations become sacred objects in the minds of those who gain their identity from participation in the nation: As long as someone is suffering or dying, then we know that the sacred object is alive. The nation is a god that feeds on the blood of sacrificial victims.
3/30/03 Day Twelve, Sunday - Media coverage of the war is being discussed, especially related to how the media is reacting to the fact that the war is taking longer than Americans had been told to believe. Networks have apparently given in to administration pressure not to present photos of Iraqi victims. Media consultants are telling their network clients that viewers don't want to see war protest demonstrations. A major newscaster says Americans only want to hear supportive war stories. At my church today my wife taught a Sunday School class of six thirteen year olds who were about split in their views on the war. In other words, there could be discussion among opposing views. Church may be one of the few places where people with different views actually talk with one another, except for congregations of the religious right who have made political views a test of Christian faith.
It is so hard to hear of injury and death of American soldiers. It causes such a heavy heart. No one should have to die for an unnecessary war. In spite of the fact that George Bush knew the country was divided, that the nation could be severely torn apart again like in Vietnam, he has gone ahead arrogantly with this war and created the conditions for meaningless sacrifice. That is a terrible deed.
How many must die before the American people will begin to seriously question this war. How many of our troops would have to die? How many Iraqis would we have to kill before the people will say to George Bush: "Bring the troops home!" Would it be 10,000, 20,000, 30,000? How many civilians would we have to kill, bombing Baghdad, before we would come to believe that this war is worse than the threat of Saddam Hussein? That is a good question for anyone who supports this war. Just war theory does not condone a war where the benefits are less than the costs.
I was happy to see that the evangelical magazine Christianity Today is taking a moderate view toward the war, raising serious questions and looking at the war quite differently from the religious right.
3/29/03 Day Eleven - Yesterday a bomb hit a market in Bahgdad killing 58. Troops are facing a lot of resistance on the road up to Bahdad. There are 250,000 troops in the area now, another 100,000 to 120,000 will arrive soon. Here is a good UN map. Talked with a friend last night who thought the war illegal, an act of aggression not unlike when Hitler invaded other countries. Candadians are hesitating to travel south to shop, hurting local economies in places close to the Canadian border like Grand Forks, North Dakota. ZNet is a source of protest information. At the National Security Archive there is a photo of Don Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein when the U.S. supported Hussein. The Project on War Alternatives has a War Report page.
3/27/03 Day Nine - The war is now eight days old. On the radio today I heard one of the generals said this war will last as long as it lasts. This was in response to questions that are coming up now about how long the war will last. The impression was given by Don Rumsfeld and others that the war would be very short. Rumsfeld denied that he had said any such thing. But I know in my mind I was thinking this could be a very short war. Saddam Hussein would not be able to withstand the military might of the United States once it was decided to attack Iraq. However, the Iraqis are offering much more resistance than I thought they would, and some are now saying the war could last months.
I remember that the Vietnam war was lost by the United States because we could not bring ourselves to bomb the cities of Vietnam in a wholesale manner. Now, will the Bush administration decide that Baghdad has to be totally destroyed in order to remove Saddam Hussein? I believe the American people are finally a good and decent people who would not accept such a horrible action.
Under-reported by corporate media, during the weekend after the Bush invasion of Iraq, March 21-23, over 5 million people protested in anti-war demonstrations around the world.
Greece, Athens - 500,000 - 700,000 Spain, Barcellona - 500,000 - 750,000 Spain, Madrid - 500,000 USA, New York City - 300,000 Turkey, Diyarbakir - 250,000 UK, London - 250,000 - 500,000 Canada, Montreal - 200,000 - 250,000 Italy, Rome - 200,000 Spain, Sevilla - 150,000 Netherlands, Amsterdam - 120,000 Greece, Thessaloniki - 120,000 Australia, Adelaide - 100,000 Canada, Toronto - 100,000 France, Paris - 100,000 Germany, Berlin - 100,000 Pakistan, Lahore - 100,000 Spain, Vigo - 100,000 Portugal, Lisbon - 90,000 - 100,000 USA, San Francisco - 75,000 Sweden, Stockholm - 50,000 - 80,000.
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