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03/22/2003 Archived Entry: "Baghdad is burning"
On the Political Front:
Baghdad is burning. British pilots seemed jubilant about the fact. For information as events unfold, I recommend accessing foreign sources such as The Middle East Times. For those who prefer audio reports and a more sanitized take on things, Talk Radio News has three reporters on the front lines, each of whom provides audio reports that are immediately posted on the Internet.
The world is going mad.... On the other side of the world, North Korea has accused the US of "preparing a pre-emptive strike on its nuclear facilities," using the campaign in Iraq as "cover." Also of concern are the estimated 1500 Turkish troops who have crossed into Northern Iraq where their historic enemy, the Kurds, are expected (by the US) to become autonomous. Unless US troops intervene, a war within a war may well develop. Even with intervention, "civil war" may be inevitable with one of the prizes that everyone wishes to grab being the Northern oil wells. Currently, Turkey's refusal to allow US troops to use Turkish land facilities has created "a vacuum" into which Turkish troops can move freely, which is undoubtedly a large part of why America was denied "land privileges." Of course, US troops could be flown in en masse and I expect this will occur. Meanwhile, Iran is warning the US to respect its airspace in the wake of US rockets hitting and oil refinery depot in its southwestern territory.
Protests are erupting around the world: In Yemen -- where protests are rigidly controlled by a totalitarian state -- police clashed with antiwar demonstrators who tried to storm the U.S. Embassy in the capital city. One police officer and three protesters (including an 11-year-old boy) were killed. A crowd of abou 30,000 protesters chanted, "Death to America!" In Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon people have taken to the streets. More than 150,000 people protested in Athens, Greece, where a four-hour nationwide strike called in opposition to the war brought the country to a standstill. In Asia, demonstrators took to the streets in Australia, Japan, Malaysia, India, Thailand and China. In Thailand, a resort owner is refusing to have Americans as customers.
In the United States, antiwar protests continued in major cities, including San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Baltimore and Atlanta. Protesters held a "die-in" outside the White House. Nationwide, more than 250 people were arrested. Meanwhile, a third American diplomat has resigned over the US's foreign policy.
The pricetag of war... David Francis of the Christian Science Monitor writes, "In 1966, the Pentagon offered an estimate of what the Vietnam War would cost. When America pulled its troops out in 1973, the tab was 90 percent higher - $111 billion." The remainder of Francis' article is an excellent analysis of the money drain known as "Operation Iraqi Freedom." A Reuters story provides some details on how Bush intends to pay for the war...and for the peace. As Nick Gillespie of Reason Magazine writes, "Peace is Hell." At least, this one will be.
On the Personal Front:
That ASSG (All-around Spiffy Sorta Guy) Chris Sciabarra sent me a link at which we can all keep up with his latest projects. I intend to check it often because Chris is the most prolific person I know. How does he manage to keep the quality so high at the same time?
Thanks to Gordon for alerting me to the fact that The Sci-Fi Channel will be running a movie based on the first two novels in Philip Jose Farmer's "Riverworld" series -- one of Brad's favorites (at least, the early books in the series) -- tonight at 9:00 PM, EST. Gordon adds, "It is being billed as being "from Alex Proyas" (director of "The Crow" and "Dark City") --- although a visit to the website shows that he was only one of the executive producers, and the actual director was Kari Skogland. While it is difficult to believe that a film could do these books justice, the treatment SciFi did of Frank Herbert's "Dune" novels (which I had always considered utterly unfilmable) were sufficiently good that it gives me some small hope..." Also my thanks to Gordon for the following image of Bush.
As a concluding thought... This blog is accomplishing one of its main goals. Old friends are discovering it and writing to me. In the last hour, I just received an email from a girlfriend for whom I've searched and searched. Now a note is in my inbox saying "Where the hell have you been?"
Best to all,