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04/10/2003 Archived Entry: "Who is Next?"
On the Political Front:
TV news rating are starting to fall because people are experiencing "war fatigue." Many journalists are being pulled out of Iraq -- falling ratings, rising death rates, and the incredible cost of maintaining them on the scene are all contributing factors. Unfortunately, the departure of journalists means the end of what I consider to be the best military reporting -- the Iraqwar.ru Report. Click the "previous" link on the report to read what has been happening in Baghdad.
As Iraq is conquered by Americans and looted by its own citizens, the main question becomes "Who will be next?" Iran, Syria, North Korea... all have been told to "draw the appropriate lesson from Iraq." In some sense, North Korea is the most logical "next" target because of its nuclear weapons program -- and, certainly Pyongyang considers the fact that its nuclear situation is being discussed by the United Nations Security Council as a prelude to war. But the bulk of American military force is already parked next door to Syria. As Pat Buchanan asks, "On to Damascus?" Frankly, I think an attack on Syria is improbable as long as circumstances do not radically change and as long as the transitional government Bush is establishing in Iraq does not become an occupation government. On the other hand, the posturing and justifications for expansion of the war are underway, despite official US assurances that a non-military regime change in Syria is possible. (The very fact that regime change is being discussed is ominous.) On the US side Rumsfeld accuses Syria of harboring Iraqi leaders (which they probably are) and comments, "I think Syria is a good case where I hope they will conclude that the chemical weapons programme (and) the biological weapons program they've been pursuing are things they should give up." In short, Syria is to cease certain military programs. Or what? In response to a direct qustion on whether Syria would be invaded, Rumsfeld answered, "It depends on people's behavior. Certainly I have nothing to announce." On the Syrian side, Syria has said that it would consider any post-war administration run by the United States military in Baghdad as an "occupation government" Then what?
Meanwhile, in Iraq. What we are not seeing on the dozen or so censored cameras that purport to show the reality of approximately 23 million people... Alexander Cockburn reports, "Baghdad's hospitals admit a hundred casualties an hour and have run out of anesthetics. Surgeons try to numb up mangled children with short-term pain-killers, but even these are in dwindling supply. Iraqi families who fled into the desert face 100-degree temperatures and no water. U.S. tanks inflict mayhem and slaughter in Baghdad's streets." The following two stories offer glimpses into what America is not seeing. Please do not read further if you do not wish to be upset...it is not my purpose to sow misery. Descent Into a Charnel-House Hospital Hell and Wailing Children, the Wounded, the Dead by Robert Fisk
On the Personal Front:
Those who have expressed interest in my reports on SARS in Ontario may want to check out SARS Watch, a general website on the subject.
Best to all,