Well, as I write this Saddam Hussein might be dead.
His 48 hour warning was up tonight at 5 pm PST, but nothing happened. Well, there were more protests (Wilshire was closed to traffic, during rush hour because of the protests!) But no war.
But then I got home from work and turned on the TV. And it was everywhere.
ABC. NBC. CNBC. MSNBC. CNN. Fox News. Channels 5 and 9 had CNN. ABC Family ... well, no, not ABC Family ... they had the Usher concert, so I can see why they didn't preempt that. C'mon, it's Usher! But even MTV was doing their part, they had John Norris explaining it to the kids.
I ended up settling with KCET, the local PBS station. They had a feed from BBC World. I chose the BBC over the American networks not because I think the BBC would be more partial, or even because I like getting news from reporters with accents (although yes, that is true). I chose the BBC because they didn't have one of those annoying news tickers scrolling on the bottom of my TV. God, do I hate those!
But no matter what station I picked, the news was the same. Even the wording. The phrase of the hour? "Target of Opportunity". Apparently we had one, so we lobbed two or three dozen ... dozen ... Tomahawk cruise missiles at a bunker outside of Baghdad. Oh, and for good measure we had some stealth bombers drop a few 2000 lb bombs on it, too.
CNN was the first to report that we were going after Saddam. That he was the target in the "Target of Opportunity". Soon all of the other news stations followed. How they knew it was the real Saddam and not one of the eight or nine body doubles I don't know, but damn, with that many missiles and bombs you'd think we could have gotten two or three of them at the same time!
And I'm still not sure how this attack, clearly in aims to "decapitate" the leadership of Iraq, is not called an assassination. Is it an assassination if we pay a cook to poison him? Is it an assassination if we send in the Delta Force behind enemy lines, with only fishing wire and a razor blade? Is it an assassination if we drop $50 million dollars worth of bombs on his head?
No doubt Bush will say that this is war, and the 1977 Executive Order signed by President Ford forbidding assassinations of foreign leaders doesn't count. Maybe he'll play dumb and say he'd never heard of it - hell, 1977 was around the period of his "lost youth" ... right? Wasn't he high on coke then?
I think it's clear through my sarcasm (and that last paragraph) that I don't really stand with President Bush on this issue. (Not that I stand with President Bush on many issues, but that's beside the point). In the history books this presidency, this very year, will play a key roll in the new chapter on the United States' association with the world. This is a turning point.
September 11, 2001 was the end of one chapter, the post-Cold War chapter. We have Reagan seeing the end of the USSR, Bush the First's attack on Iraq, eight years of relative peace - well, unless you count Republican dirty tricks and impeachments, turmoil at the polls in November of 2000, a royal screwup, and Bush the Second's rise to power. And then September 11th.
Maybe, after all is said and done, North Korea and the one little scuffle we've had with them so far (Axis of Evil and all) will be more important. In the long-run they might be the big bad. But that's next year. For now, Iraq is it. And thus Bush has completely turned his, and all of OUR, backs on the rest of the world. He's playing cowboy, and taking our country down with him.
See, I feel that it's not the United States' place to be policing the world. That's what the UN is there for. By going against France and Russia and China, we're making some big enemies. If Tony Blair gets booted from office, then England will probably turn its back on us, too. And I really don't want the end battle to be Israel and the United States versus everyone else.
That's why I'm skeptical of this war. Not of the troops, I can't say enough (nor can any dissenter of Bush's policy) that I'm 100% behind our troops. I know that I'm not willing to put my body in the line of fire to defend our nation, so I have the utmost respect for those who are. I support the troops.
It's just their leaders I'm not sure about. I think that this war is about two things - oil and revenge. We have a Texas oilman in office, with energy company cronies as far as the eye can see. Back in 2000 I thought the biggest threat Bush et al posed was drilling the shit out of Alaska. But no - they have their eyes on a bigger prize: Iraq's oil.
That and revenge. Hell, on September 27, 2002 Bush came out and said, "After all, this is the guy who tried to kill my dad." I mean, c'mon. It's clear. Even if he didn't say it, it's clear. We have no links between Saddam and any terrorists. The guy hasn't invaded anyone lately. We don't even know if he has the "weapons of mass destruction" to attack anyone. Why, after a full decade, would the United States attack Saddam again?
It's really weird, last night the movie "Armageddon" was on TV. I watched the opening with the meteors hitting New York City. There's this one joke during the destruction to lighten the mood. A cab driver, witnessing this immense destruction, says, "Saddam Hussein is bombing us!"
It was so outrageous it was funny. Saddam could never bomb us! Five years ago Saddam Hussein was a punchline. He was such a non-threat after the glorious and victorious Gulf War seven years earlier that the mere mention of him got huge laughter in theaters all over America. Well, him, and the horrible special effects. But Clinton was president and there was no war in the middle east. There wasn't even a threat. Saddam was a joke.
"South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut", the feature film of the South Park TV show, came out in 1999, the summer after "Armageddon". In this movie Saddam became a main character. The movie opens with a newscaster, "It's been six weeks since Saddam Hussein was killed by a pack of wild boars, and the world is still glad to be rid of him." The camera descends into hell, and we see Satan.
And Satan's gay-lover.
So now Saddam wasn't just a joke, he was the joke. You might even say the butt of the joke.
It's weird how a regime change, legit or not, can make a man go from punch line to front line in a matter of months.
But tonight Saddam might be dead. God only knows what that creepy dictator will do next.
I was talking about President Bush.
Last Updated on: March 19, 2003
© 2003-2004 Joshua Paul Edwards
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