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03/23/2003 Archived Entry: "1/2 way to Baghdad"

On the Political Front:

Basra is taken; there is still fighting in Basra. The Turks are in N. Iraq; no Turksh troops have crossed the border. With news stories directly contradicting each other, here are three founts of alternate news about Iraq: the War Blogs -- a group of bloggers who keep close tabs on breaking news from a multitude of sources; antiwar.com; and, Al-Jazeera for the "other" side of the war. For those brave enough to venture into news sources in Arabic, this site offers translations from Arabic to English. Let's hope it is more accurate than Babelfish.

Does the US media which broadcasts live the bombing of Baghdad, the smoke of burning oil wells over Iraq, the surrender of Iraqis with hands on their heads...do those journalists not realize the impact they are having on the Muslim and the Arab worlds? One journalist on-the-scene reported on American troops who were cheering as bombs barraged Baghdad, a city of 5 million people. The journalist then went to get some food and found the Arab cooks/kitchen-workers sobbing as tho' they were children and not grown men. If that grief turns to anger, then the arrogant broadcasts and commentary about "our boys" as those boys decimate an already devastated nation -- defeating/killing Arabs and Muslims as they go -- will stoke an unquenchable hatred of America within the Islamic world for decades to come. I just heard a journalist on CNN chuckle as he described the overwhelming strength of an air strike. Are they insane? How would Americans react if a foreign nation chuckled over the blitzkreig bombing of Chicago or New York? Do they believe that Arabs and Muslims are less human and less likely to feel grief, outrage, a drive for revenge? I sit here watching the ultimate "reality show" and I am ashamed to be a member of this species.

For just one glimpse of the impact, this story out of Vancouver.... "In shaken tones, Iraqis living in Vancouver express horror at seeing their city pounded by bombs and worry over the fate of family and friends left behind."

That's just one hideous aspect of those broadcasts. Another: "Operation Iraqi Freedom" is far from the smooth, high-tech triumph that the American media would have you believe. Although this story reports the downing of a British jet by an American Patriot missile as unconfirmed, I am hearing the confirmation as I type this sentence: friendly fire. Meanwhile...unfriendly fire occurred within the American ranks. An US soldier, "thought to be a Muslim, lobbed three grenades into tents housing commanding officers from the 101st Airborne Division at Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait. One soldier is dead, the number injured has been reported variously as ranging from 11-16.

Reporting on the antiwar movement is no less accurate. Tim Robbins [not my favorite guy politically but good on the war] said he was at the huge march in London two months ago. The BBS initially reported it as 500,000 people. CNN then claimed it was 150,000. A few hours later, the London Police called the organizers and said it was at least one million. What did CNN do? They "reported" it as 500,000 - 50% less than the police estimate. Politics at the Zero Blob has a fuller report on the Hollywood protest at which Robbins spoke. A sampling of other protests...1/4 million in New York City; 200,000 in Montreal.

What interests me most at this point (for whatever reason) is the situation with the Turks and Kurds in N. Iraq. Saddam is not even dead, Baghdad has not even surrendered and the two historic enemies are positioning themselves. According to reports by a British journalist who on the scene in N. Iraq, Turkish troops are in the area and have hemmed in the Kurds on three fronts. The Americans never remotely had the situation under control.

On the Personal Front:

Life on our farm remains in stark contrast to everything I see on television or read in the news. The slow melt of snow has replenished the parched wells in this area but it has not been slow enough to prevent tiny, temporary lakes from forming near our barn and by the stream. The dogs slap through a particularly large one on their way to the fence bordering my neighbor's property where they execute the necessary daily ritual of putting her dogs in their place...namely, on the other side of that d*mned fence. Then Sam and Fiona sprint back into the house wet and muddy and very pleased with themselves.

My neighbor is an interesting woman. During WWII, her family was interned in work camps in Northern Ontario because they were of Japanese descent; being Canadian-born and innocent of all wrong didn't keep her parents from having all their goods confiscated and their children raised in a prison. The US is currently holding "suspicious" foreigners from "terrorist" nations in detention camps -- e.g. immigrants from Iraq who has applied for immigration. How long before certain categories of Arabs or Muslims are imprisoned down there, even if they are American-born?

I just learned that a good friend has acquired my bad habit. Welcome to blogging Kirsten!

Best to all,

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