Wednesday, April 14, 2004

The Midnight Hour: Pumpkins, Occupations, and "Darkness Everywhere"

Col Lounsbury covers several editorials about the Iraq situation coming to a head.

Things are steadily but surely degenerating in Iraq while the President stands confident in his stance toward handling the "tough weeks" of the on-going crisis. (MSNNC) Bush stated these things in his news conference and address to the nation. (via Kevin Drum)

You can tell because Dickey at Newsweek who treasures his tough-talking salted world-wise ways expresses what for him is abject panic.

***
Nobody really remembers the long goodbyes. Looking back on Somalia, on Lebanon, and even on Vietnam—the most tragic American military adventures before Iraq—popular imagination recalls U.S. forces rushing for the exits right after bloody encounters with the enemy. But the truth is, we hung on. We wanted to save face. We wanted to create what was called, in Vietnam, a “decent interval” between horrific events on the ground and the admission that these wars and the policies that took us into them were failures. In Iraq, even if nobody’s saying it openly, that search for a face-saving interval has begun already. It remains to be seen how decent it will be.
***

It's grim. After we immolate Fallujah and try to snap up ham handedly Sadr, it could get real real bad. Even here in America, the Admin is losing right-wing conservatives - Novak, Perle, O'Reilly, etc. -as well as many others backpedaling on the President. Even the Weekly Standard is screaming at Bush "Win Now!!!" and to do what it takes rather than assuming everything is going fine. However, the President is disregarding his own allies at this point, and you have to think that Tony Blair is furiously counseling against this course of action. Blair and Straw did against the original invasion schedule, but eventually gave in when he saw Bush couldn't be persuaded, just as Straw is cautioning us now though they clearly intend to stand firm by Bush. (Guardian_UK)

We're on the verge of losing several coalition partners, even "our own whores" in Col's terms on the IGC bucking us, Brahimi and Annan saying we're basically on our own, and even moderate pro-Western Arabs everywhere turning on us.

This is shaping up to be in dizzying speed a foreign policy disaster greater than Vietnam. It's pure hubris. The Romans had an old saying, those whom the gods would destroy first they drive mad.

We see that progression here, with the President pressing on and on despite the friendly advice of many, and pushing toward what will be a tragic end. It will be all the more tragic in retrospect because we have a chance now to turn back, the Administration did agree to a truce and negotiations, but they will not be flexible and the signs that are coming out are that they are going to push this to the bitter end.

Tonight in the address to the nation, I caught the briefest glimpse of humility in Bush as he took questions. However, he still seems entangled with the advisers who are urging him down a disasterous path.

If he doesn't turn from this path then bitter it will be, and not so much an end as a castrophic dawning of a new era of American legitimacy and authority having been destroyed.

But it is not the end of hope. Even if the Administration insists on replaying the debacles of Waco and Ruby Ridge only a thousand times worse, it is not too late to salvage this situation. Only it is as long as we keep the same guys in charge. (CSM)

You see, the oldman is crazy - but crazy like a fox. These guys in charge, they're crazy - crazy like a bull in a china shop given a sharp prick in his privates. There's a difference and it seems awful that we're going to have to experience it first hand.

***
With a US Apache helicopter hovering above, Kadher Fudella took her children and began to run. She did not stop until she reached the highway, along with scores of other refugees, flagging down cars headed to Baghdad.

"My children tried to run away and the helicopters chased them," says Ms. Fudella, breaking into tears. "Families were running through the streets.... Windows were broken, and many, many people were dead."
But, like many other refugees from Fallujah, this family is critical. "We have no hope. Half of our family is in Fallujah, and we don't know anything about them," says Mr. Abid's wife, Hakima. "There's darkness everywhere."

The family fell silent, until their son Mohammed Adnan added his take, that the US has only magnified the problems. "Before it was a small, specific group that fought the USA," he says. "Now it is every family. They all want revenge."
[emphasis added]
***

A darkness is clouding the minds of our leaders, leading them in their arrogance to destroy the hope of our future. In this time where darkness is growing, let us pray for our leaders to come to their senses, and avert this terrible crisis. For if we push this through to the bitter end, then surely God will judge us for having failed to show mercy to our fellow man.

This is not what America stands for, and this is not what America is, and yet now we are being led into temptation by the deadly sins of pride, vanity, and wrath. We do not have to destroy others utterly to show we are strong, we do not have to subjugate them utterly to gain their respect, and we need to ask ourselves if this is indeed what God and his son Jesus would have us do. Easter has just passed us, and the redeeming message of sacrifice, suffering, and compassion should not abandon our hearts so soon.

The oldman is down to praying. He'll hope that you'll join him in such orison.

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