October 4, 2002
KILLING THEM SOFTLY:
The Stones of Baghdad
(NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF, October 4, 2002, NY Times)
[W]hile I found few people willing to fight for Saddam, I encountered plenty of nationalists willing to defend Iraq against Yankee invaders. And while ordinary Iraqis were very friendly toward me, they were enraged at the U.S. after 11 years of economic sanctions.
"You see this?" asked a seething university president, waving a pencil in the air. "It took 15 months just to import pencils for our students." (The reason was both bureaucracy and the possibility that graphite could be misused for weapons.)
Worse, U.S. bombing of water treatment plants, difficulties importing purification chemicals like chlorine (which can be used for weapons), and shortages of medicines led to a more than doubling of infant mortality, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
In addition, every Iraqi knows that Basra is suffering a surge in cancer, childhood leukemia and grotesquely deformed fetuses. Some foreign and Iraqi specialists blame American use of depleted-uranium shells during the gulf war, and most Iraqis take this as established fact.
"We blame the U.S.," sputtered Dr. Amir Nissa, an obstetrician in Basra. "It was the U.S. that put in sanctions against Iraq. Every Iraqi blames the U.S. 100 percent."
So if Saddam thinks the average Iraqi is going to miss him, he's deluding himself. But if President Bush thinks our invasion and occupation will go smoothly because Iraqis will welcome us, then he too is deluding himself.
Presumably unintentionally, Mr. Kristof here makes the case for war. This is so because no one, so far as we're aware, who opposes war actually proposes that Saddam be allowed to develop weapons if he so desires. Sanctions therefore are his lot and the anger of the Iraqis at the United States will continue to grow and to fester for so long as the sanctions regime endures.
Posted by Orrin Judd at October 4, 2002 11:43 AM
in a sort of related issue I hear no one speak of, we want to keep Saddam from getting WMD in order to save ourselves and allies from mass death. Well, what about the MASSIVE death from removing Baghdad from the map, which is exactly what the Israelis will do if WMD go off in Tel Aviv, and I wouldn't put it past us, either. I don't think we (or they) would need "proof", we'd just say "We know who did it.... what, YOU wanna piece of this too??"
Millions of Iraqis will die if this madman fulfills his insane dreams. But remember, America is "the real threat". Fools.
Here's an entirely tangential issue I've been wondering about. Given Israel's size and their need to make the threat of massive retaliation watertight, it seems to me they would want to have some part of their nuclear stockpile and a delivery system located outside the country. So where is it? Turkey? India?
Kristof, who famously proved he could not decipher his own countrymen and who published in a famous newspaper some of the most ridiculous statements about the Midwest ever committed to print -- just about 2 weeks ago -- is now just as much an expert on Iraq, a place whose language he does not speak, whose religion he does not understand (or even mention). Where does the Times find these nitwits?
"In addition, every Iraqi knows that Basra is suffering a surge in cancer, childhood leukemia and grotesquely deformed fetuses."
Is this like "everyone knew" that DDT was harmful to humans?
Or like "everyone knew" that the Jews were what was keeping Germany down in the 30s?
Hell, I'd be more likely to blame Iraqi birth defects and childhood cancers, if they are
, in fact, increased, on Hussein's biochem testing than on depleted
What about the argument that a pre-emptive strike sets up a bad precedent for future global-political turmoil. What if, using the same arguments we now are using, Pakistan decides it needs to pre-emptively strike India??
Or China pre-emptively strikes Tiawan?
Iraqis blaming the U.S. has an element of survivor bias. If you are an Iraqi criticizing Saddam you won't survive long.
It would be appropriate at this time for us to inform the world that any attack on our allies--including specifically Israel, India, Taiwan--will be considered just cause for us to retaliate.