Sunday, March 23, 2003

Flowers or guns?

As I write, Tony Blair is on the BBC accusing Saddam of crimes against petroleum.

And there’s an awful lot of bitching about showing American POWs on tv. Which has certainly intimidated CNN et al from showing them, so I’m not sure what the big deal is, especially since I saw Iraqi POWs on tv just yesterday. Maybe American soldiers all believe that cameras steal their souls. Whatever, I don’t think a country experiencing massive bombardment is really going to worry about such princess-and-the-pea sensibilities. This is also a country that still has Iranian POWs held since the 1980s (and vice versa), so maybe being asked some sarcastic questions (“Did Iraqis greet you with flowers or guns?”) isn’t the worst that could happen, is all I’m sayin’. At least they don’t have Joan Rivers shouting Who are you wearing? at them.

That said, I want to see the goddammed footage that the rest of the world can see, and which US generals and Rumsfeld and Tony Blair and everyone else bitched about endlessly. *That* made it news. Someone at CBS said that they have to be careful not to be used for propaganda purposes. A little late for that, bucko. Have you yet seen anything that resembled news come from one of the “embedded” (up Rumsfeld’s ass) reporters, anything that illuminated the situation in any way at all? And someone at ABC that footage of the dead soldiers isn’t newsworthy. There may be other perfectly legitimate reasons not to show it, but that isn’t one of them (actually, I could give the dead ones a miss myself). Al Jazeera’s website is curiously unavailable.

As I understand it, the provision of the Geneva Conventions is something about being protected from insults. Being put on tv? Americans will do anything to get on tv. How could it be more insulting than Survivor?

The US has managed to take down a British Tornado, because an aeroplane looks so much like a Scud missile. Actually, I read months ago that the British hadn’t done enough to prevent friendly fire incidents, i.e., to properly identify themselves electronically to the Americans. MPs were saying this would be a problem. So this was foreseeable, and foreseen.

The US has also evidently killed ITV correspondent Terry Lloyd, tanks opening fire on him. It was a mistake. They were actually trying to kill surrendering Iraqi soldiers instead.

Still no dancing in the streets. Maybe seen through those green night-vision thingies. Line dancing to please their new Texan overlords, and lap dancing for the soldiers.

It’s Day 4 (Day 5, surely, but CNN says Day 4, so it must be true) and when Rumsfeld spoke today, once again suggesting to Iraqi soldiers that they might want to be good little boys and surrender, I saw a certain annoyance at their failure to do so, and the idea beginning to penetrate, oh so slowly, that maybe they don’t actually see us as liberators. Because the Bushies have actually fallen for their own rhetoric, as the very best con artists so often do, which is why Rummy could keep talking about Iraqis surrendering as acting with “honor” and why they assumed (as in Bush’s botched ultimatum Monday, as I previously discussed) that all Iraqis see Saddam exactly as they do, and would invite American occupiers in the minute he left. I’m worried that Iraqis will at some point validate this delusion by actually dancing in the streets, not because this is a re-run of the liberation of Paris but because 1) the bombing has stopped, 2) after many years of sanctions someone may actually feed them, 3) they’ve had years of experience sucking up to dangerous well-armed rulers and know what is expected of them.

Watched a bit of the Basil Fawlty Oscars (don’t mention the war), but once you’ve seen Jennifer Lopez’s nipples, the evening’s pretty much done, isn’t it?

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