....LMB: "How Bad Could It Be?"....

March 18, 2003

On Sunday, when it looked certain that war would be upon us before the next weekend, without even trying, I ran across a horrifying list of news articles (mostly from Antiwar.com) that make the Iraq war look scarier and scarier. And the unexpected discovery of those headlines has continued through today.

War Fears Bring Fundamentalism to Secular Iraq- as war approaches, more and more Iraqis turn to religion for comfort, some to fundamentalist Islam. Meanwhile, Saddam Hussein increasingly uses religious language and metaphor in his speeches, which could help his inevitable downfall into a martyr's tale.

Iraq War Will Be Great al-Qaeda Recruiting Tool- kinda goes without saying. "The American infidels will kill all of us Arabs, just look at Iraq! You must join al-Qaeda and blow things up!"

Kurds Prepare for War with an Old Enemy- one of the hugest possible catastrophes of this war would be potential conflict between the Kurds and the Turks. There is an unofficial region of the Middle East known as Kurdistan, an area populated primarily by Kurds that stretches from southeastern Turkey, through northern Iraq, and even into parts of Iran and Syria. The Kurds would love for this region to become its own state, or at least an area with its own autonomy. The Turks would fight this outcome, and has been fighting its own Kurdish population on it for a long time. There is fear that if the Turks enter northern Iraq, it will lead to a civil war.

Shiite Opposition Vows to Act Independently of US- just another example of how things could take unexpected turns. Not only are members of Iraqi Shiites planning to do their own thing during this war, but they are being blostered by aid and volunteers from Iran. Another wild card.

War Party Getting Ready for New Targets- the same warhawk "neocons" who through their support into the Iraq war in the name of U.S. geopolitical domination are already looking for the next coutnry to invade. Iran? Syria? North Korea? Lybia?

Bush Has Audacious Plan to Rebuild Iraq in a Year- "audacious" is the journalistic word du jour, apparently. This article is disturbing for two reasons: 1) the idea that Iraq could be rebuilt in a year shows me that either Bush does not understand the situation in Iraq, or that he has no real intention of rebuilding Iraq. The country was bombed to fuck 12 years ago, and due to the sanctions, not too much was rebuilt. Add to that the additional damage caused by a decade of sanctions, and the upcoming assault, and I cannot imagine how this rebuilding could be done in a year. 2) the rebuilding plan seems to consist of giving money to American corporations to go do the work, with a tiny portion going to non-profit humanitarian organizations. Of course, the goals of the two parties differ--profit vs. helping people-- which could lead to work done at cross purposes. In addition, I worry about how much input the Iraqi people will have into the rebuilding. Iraqi man: "We need to rebuild the water purification center." American businessman: "Hogwash! What you need is a couple of Taco Bells!"

History's deadliest night of airstrikes will start the war- stop me if you've heard this one... and if you've ever read this site before, you have.

Baghdad Ready to Take Up Arms- "'Only for Americans are they buying the weapons,' insisted Nadhir Qahtan, 35, the owner of a gun shop in Mansour who said business, especially for ammunition, has doubled in the past few days. But privately, customers and gun store owners hint at the anarchy they believe is likely if government authority collapses. That anarchy, perhaps more than the government itself, may pose the most serious challenge to U.S. forces that attempt to enter Baghdad, where residents boast that every family has at least one assault rifle and one pistol. Many Iraqis expect bloodletting, score-settling and lawlessness in the weeks ahead."

Sectarian tensions rise in Iraq as US attack looms- "A war to topple Hussein could unleash a revolt of Iraq's long-repressed Shiites."

Iraq Arming Troops With Chemical Weapons- well, I wouldn't be surprised if this one was untrue, but it is a scary scenario.

So it goes.

And let's finish with two longer, multi-faceted predictions for the outcome of the Iraq war and beyond, starting with Robert Fisk:

American and British forces use thousands of depleted uranium (DU) shells – widely regarded by 1991 veterans as the cause of Gulf War syndrome as well as thousands of child cancers in present day Iraq – to batter their way across the Kuwaiti-Iraqi frontier. Within hours, they will enter the city of Basra, to be greeted by its Shia Muslim inhabitants as liberators. US and British troops will be given roses and pelted with rice – a traditional Arab greeting – as they drive "victoriously" through the streets. The first news pictures of the war will warm the hearts of Messrs Bush and Blair. There will be virtually no mention by reporters of the use of DU munitions.

But in Baghdad, reporters will be covering the bombing raids that are killing civilians by the score and then by the hundred... By now, in Basra and other "liberated" cities south of the capital, Iraqis are taking their fearful revenge on Saddam Hussein's Baath party officials. Men are hanged from lamp-posts. Much television footage of these scenes will have to be cut to sanitise the extent of the violence.

Far better for the US and British governments will be the macabre discovery of torture chambers and "rape-rooms" and prisoners with personal accounts of the most terrible suffering at the hands of Saddam's secret police. This will "prove" how right "we" are to liberate these poor people. Then the US will have to find the "weapons of mass destruction" that supposedly provoked this bloody war. In the journalistic hunt for these weapons, any old rocket will do for the moment...

Baghdad is surrounded and its defenders ordered to surrender. There will be fighting between Shias and Sunnis around the slums of the city, the beginning of a ferocious civil conflict for which the invading armies are totally unprepared. US forces will sweep past Baghdad to his home city of Tikrit in their hunt for Saddam Hussein. Bush and Blair will appear on television to speak of their great "victories". But as they are boasting, the real story will begin to be told: the break-up of Iraqi society, the return of thousands of Basra refugees from Iran, many of them with guns, all refusing to live under western occupation.

In the north, Kurdish guerrillas will try to enter Kirkuk, where they will kill or "ethnically cleanse" many of the city's Arab inhabitants. Across Iraq, the invading armies will witness terrible scenes of revenge which can no longer be kept off television screens. The collapse of the Iraqi nation is now under way ...

And finally, a long essay on the subject by "retired U.S. Army Special Forces Master Sergeant Stan Goff", which is too long for me to excerpt here, but is worth a look.

My own prediction is that the war itself will be fairly quick and painless (for the Americans), while the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis will be swept under the rug as best as possible. As Fisk describes, I imagine there will be a speedy capture of a city so that the U.S. can declare victory and begin a propaganda assault which comforts Americans by showing how we liberated these people. Then caches of weapons of mass destruction, both genuine and fabricated, will be discovered, showing Americans the wisdom of our attack and "prove" that the anti-war protesters were wrong all along. Many will surely recant.

I really don't know how the fighting in northern Iraq will play out between Turkey and the Kurds. I'm going to guess that U.S. forces will try to separate the two, and then bribe Turkey into withdrawing... for now.

I am curious as to what will happen to Saddam Hussein. Will he be killed in the attacks? Will he flee? Will he commit suicide rather than be captured?

Then we enter the post-Afghanistan phase. The U.S. military will occupy Iraq and oversee the "rebuilding," in whatever form that might take (I'm fairly certain it will include the construction of several military bases for U.S. use, or the refurbishing of existing bases for U.S. use). The various rivalries and divisions within the country will start to intensify into outright violence. I can't say for certain, but it seems that al Qaeda might begin to enter Iraq to strike at U.S. targets in Iraq. The U.S. will try to cobble together a coalition of pro-American Iraqis to rule the "transitional government," most likely individuals that don't really represent the Iraqi people. Over time, the Iraqi people will begin rebelling against the occupation, and against the American puppet government.

But then, I am a very cynical and depressed person. I can't rule out the possibility that the war will be a quick win, and that contrary to all I've heard, the Iraqi people will be ecstatic, and that the rebuilding will be a success, and that the new government will be a beacon of democracy. That's the best we can hope for. But I don't think we can honestly expect something so rosy.

Posted by Jake at 02:18 PM | TrackBack (0)

Also, for your reading (dis)pleasure, Mr. Mailer is in the house:


"Come on, come on, you said you'd drive me crazy...

Come on, come on, holy Roman empire..." keeps running through my head.

Posted by: Shawn at March 18, 2003 07:37 PM
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Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.

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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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Mission: Mongolia

Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:


What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

What went wrong: still missing some ingredients, and possibly had one wrong, rice vinegar. Way too much lemon and chili.

Result: not entirely edible.

Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

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