Iraqi sandstorm slows US “wave of steel”
Before the war began, military planners called it “the eureka moment”: The instant that the Iraqi civilian population, brutalised by decades of life under President Saddam Hussein and his secret police, realize his regime would not stand and instantly switch their allegiances. Some reports from the last couple of days suggest this might not happen; for some odd reason, seeing bombs rain down on their country has not predisposed ordinary Iraqis to view incoming soldiers which much good feeling.
Or, as a former Canadian dip in Kuwait told CBC Radio this morning, it’s not yet clear Iraqis hate Mr Hussein more than being invaded by Americans.
From Nate Thayer in Baghdad: “The atmosphere on the street gets more and more menacing every day. There are groups of people chanting anti-American slogans. The military presence has increased dramatically. Outposts and bunkers are on every corner. Roadblocks are set up on all the main streets. The oil trenches ignited over the weekend continue to burn—casting a literal black cloud over the city. Iraqis assume that American forces will encircle Baghdad, and they are preparing for a siege.”
(Mr Thayer is reporting from Baghdad for Slate; I’ve found a kind of vivid colour and realistic feeling in his reports that I haven’t found elsewhere. Who knows if he’s right.)
Our tax money at work: The CBC’s Don Cherry — this CP article says makes $700k/year, more than anyone else at the public broadcaster, including Peter Mansbridge — is in hot water for his pro-war rant on Hockey Night in Canada last Saturday night. The CBC are playing it safe: They say Mr Cherry is not in hot water because of his opinions, but because HNIC is not the appropriate forum for a discussion of the war. Ron “Tonto” MacLean is also in trouble for egging Mr Cherry on.
What did the President know and when did he know it? Mother Jones gives us a good overview of the forged documents that were anything but proof Iraq tried to buy nuclear bits from Niger.
Can you tell the difference? I cannot tell the difference: The American administration is, quite rightly, quite pissed over the Iraqi government parading captured American PoWs in front of Iraqi TV and al-Jazeera. So why did the US distribute pics of Taliban and al-Qaeda members hooded and shackled to the belly of a military transport?
Also in Slate, movie critic David Edelstein puts into words what I vaguely felt about Michael Moore’s rant at the Oscars: “My anti-war friends thought that Moore was great while those in my own — feverishly ambivalent — camp weren’t so convinced. It would have been different, I think, if a non-blowhard had gotten up there and bellowed, “Shame on you!” — had put his or her career on the line to say that Bush was a liar. But that kind of boorish grandstanding comes too naturally to Moore, a man who didn’t have the intellectual honesty to add that Saddam Hussein is a “fictitious president,” too — and one who has killed a lot more people than George W. Bush and his father combined. Nothing has ever shaken my faith in my own politics like having Michael Moore in the same camp. When he invoked the Dixie Chicks, I’ll bet they wanted to stick their heads in an oven.”