Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Well, I found myself distracted from work yesterday by following a thread on Iraq on one of the writer lists I belong to. Reading the highly articulate arguments of these keen observers of life, politics and the world was fascinating, if often quite depressing given current trends. At first I felt a bit guilty for not spending more time on work, since as usual I am behind, but then decided that staying up on what is happening in the world, and more importantly thinking seriously about its implications, is probably a useful way to spend my day. In the long run, whether or not I deliver a paper at a particular conference this summer is important only to myself and perhaps the 30 or so potential audience members, whereas the world is headed in a dangerous direction that may mean the death of hundreds of thousands, and the collapse of democratic ideals.... Perhaps the world would be less likely to fall into troubled times if more of us were paying attention, and were less caught up in the day to day trivia of our own personal careers and lives.

I am reminded of a story of the Hollywood writer who attended a meeting of producers during the Berlin crisis and was shocked that no one there was paying the least attention to the news. The world appeared on the brink of war, probably nuclear war, between the US and Russia and all these producers could think about was whether some frivolous movie was on schedule or not. After listening to the discussion for an hour he couldn't stand it any more, and stood up and said "What's the matter with you people?! Don't you know what's happening in the world?! Have none of you been following the news from Berlin?!" To which the head of the studio turned white, and said, "My God, you're right! Why didn't I see this before? Felix is filming in Berlin!This Berlin thing could put him WEEKS behind schedule!"

The following has been circulating for weeks on the internet, and I do not know the author, but for those who haven't seen it before, I offer the following:

it gets a little tired after the first few verses, but what the hey....

(to the tune of "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands"...)

If you cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq.
If the markets are a drama, bomb Iraq.
If the terrorists are frisky,
Pakistan is looking shifty,
North Korea is too risky,
Bomb Iraq.

If we have no allies with us, bomb Iraq.
If we think someone has dissed us, bomb Iraq.
So to hell with the inspections,
Let's look tough for the elections,
Close your mind and take directions,
Bomb Iraq.

It's "pre-emptive non-aggression", bomb Iraq.
Let's prevent this mass destruction, bomb Iraq.
They've got weapons we can't see,
And that's good enough for me
'Cos it's all the proof I need
Bomb Iraq.

If you never were elected, bomb Iraq.
If your mood is quite dejected, bomb Iraq.
If you think Saddam's gone mad,
With the weapons that he had,
(And he tried to kill your dad),
Bomb Iraq.

If your corporate fraud is growin', bomb Iraq.
If your ties to it are showin', bomb Iraq.
If your politics are sleazy,
And hiding that ain't easy,
And your manhood's getting queasy,
Bomb Iraq.

Fall in line and follow orders, bomb Iraq.
For our might knows not our borders, bomb Iraq.
Disagree? We'll call it treason,
Let's make war not love this season,
Even if we have no reason,
Bomb Iraq.

Okay, not exactly profound analysis, but I find it interesting that at least a portion of the American public is not taken in by the media and is prepared to be quite critical of its own foreign policy. Though I am often surprised that anyone could find Bush arguments credible. I find the repeated attempts to link Saddam to Al Quadia absolutely astounding. That's like accusing the Black Panthers of having links to the KKK. Saddam has to be almost as high on their hit list as America itself. Saddam spent years suppressing his own sunni minority, murdering fundamentalists, and waged a ten year war against Iran's fundamentalist government. He is a technocrat and represents everything Bin Laden is opposed to. Saddam is a nasty piece of work, but invading Iraq on the pretext that it is part of the fight against terrorism is just plain ludicrous. Looks pretty much like another incubator story to me -- the only way to motivate American voters into intervening in the internal affairs of a nation halfway around the world that most Americans would have trouble finding on a map is to tell them that it had something to do with 9/11. Because otherwise, why would anyone care?

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