Friday, April 11, 2003

Shock and Awe ®

Bush’s judicial appointees are getting wackier. For example, William Pryor, Alabama’s attorney general, nominated to the 11th Circuit. Pryor thinks Roe v Wade is "the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history." He indicted Barnes & Noble for selling art books (which he considered child pornography). He says he became a lawyer so he could fight the ACLU. He is against the separation of church & state, supports prayer in public schools and has said “God has chosen, through his son Jesus Christ, this time and this place for all Christians ... to save our country and save our courts.” He supported Ala.’s ban on sex toys and practice of tying prisoners to “hitching posts,” supports executing the retarded, endorsed a bill to let anti-abortion lawyers represent the state against minors trying to get judicial overrides of parental notification. Naturally he supported Ala’s nutty chief justice when he put up the monument to the 10 Commandments. (Later:) the Post has an editorial against Pryor.

On the artificiality of tv views of the big statue-toppling, click here.

This is a must read, because it shows what happens to a story if you pull the cameras back just a little. The scenes of jubilant crowds becomes a few dozen people in a circular plaza with US tanks at every entrance. As the site says (it’s an exaggeration, but not by much), this was a military propaganda exercise that the world’s media lapped up. I wouldn’t make such a big deal about imagery if this war wasn’t such a massive psyop. Even the NY Times has the absurd headline “In Statue’s Fall, Vindication of a Strategy.” It’s been like this since the beginning, with Rumsfeld addressing himself to Iraqis at every briefing, and a bombing strategy described exclusively in psyops terms as “shock and awe.”

Of course for all we know it worked, since it’s only through the grace of, well, someone Iraqi, that the siege of Baghdad wasn’t the weeks-long bloodbath that the Iraqis still retained the ability to make it. In other words, we still don’t know why we won. Some are saying that the very uniformity of the withdrawal, from the Republican Guard right down to the minders for foreign journalists, suggests that some form of command & control still exists.

OK, more information, suspicious as hell: the flag that soldier draped over Saddam’s face was one that flew over the Pentagon on 9/11, which as 60% of Americans--the number is increasing--know, was the day Saddam personally attacked the US. The Pentagon claims it’s just a wacky coincidence that that particular flag happened to be there.

Speaking of being liberated through the power of symbols, the people of South Los Angeles have been freed from the stigma inflicted by the C word.

Uh, that’s “Central,” in case you didn’t catch the reference.

A letter in the NY Times complains that US troops traipsing through presidential palaces and crapping in Saddam’s gold toilets, etc., “looks less like an army of liberation and more like the Visigoths sacking Rome.” Well, like Visigoth’s sacking Siegfried and Roy’s house.

Margaret Warner on McNeil-Lehrer asked a guest why the US is picking Iraqis as leaders who are members of the old tribal religious caste. Um, because Bush and most of the Cabinet are members of America’s old tribal religious caste?

Well, the happy Iraqis are celebrating their liberty by looting UNICEF offices. We liberated them, they’re liberating office supplies. And really large truck tires. Still, Robert Fisk says that they’re actually very polite. When a looter puts his hands on an object, it is his; there are no fistfights or arguments. I said some days ago that the British were literally encouraging looting of Baath party offices as a way of demonstrating the loss of control by Saddam. Maybe today’s shopping frenzy wasn’t quite what they had in mind. Or was it? Fisk wonders how a new Iraqi government will operate when all the old government’s offices have been comprehensively denuded. It can’t, of course, but will be at the mercy of the US. Also, all the government files are gone, giving another excuse for both the failure to find WMDs, and the failure to purge the administration of lower-level Saddam henchmen, evidence against whom just vanished. US marine snipers are also shooting at cars.

Something I didn’t see on my tv (from a Guardian columnist): “Early on, a US infantryman was seen grimly returning fire over a sand dune, then turning to camera and complaining: 'They don't seem to realise we're here to help them.' How odd that they didn't.”

I have to think that our declaration of victory yesterday makes the fact that we haven’t done killing people in Iraq look a lot more like wanton bloodshed. Today they’ve been threatening finally to use that MOAB bomb on Tikrit. They won’t, but they don’t really even have the option, because how do you do that after the war is supposed to be over? I’ve even heard vague rumors of dancing in the streets, but I haven’t seen any yet (unless you count the idiot who stamped on the burning portrait of Saddam--he sort of danced as he tried to put his shoes out).

From the business pages: The day after the war on Iraq began, Sony registered the Pentagon term “shock and awe” with the US Patent and Trademark Office to use in computer games.

No comments:

Post a Comment