We seem to have exhausted interest in deconstructing the Bible or the writings of Madison and Jefferson. So back to the news analysis:
The US military in Iraq are nearing the end of the initial phase of their conquest of Falluja. The plan seems to be to cut off the city, clear it block by block and then start setting up a stable local administration there. One should be forgiven for wondering why this wasn't the plan a year ago. One should also be forgiven for suspecting that the Bush administration wanted to delay a nasty, ugly fight until after a closely fought election.
Speaking of nasty, ugly fights. A US Marine was filmed shooting a severely wounded Iraqi prisoner in the head and then jokingly saying, "He's dead now." Great image. I heard about the story on NPR this morning and saw an edited version of the video on CNN this morning. However, the story is being buried deep in the nested bowels of the news network websites. You can read the CNN version of the story here. BBC version here.
Now, I'm not naive about war. This sort of thing (shooting of unarmed, wounded prisoners) happens in war. It is part of why war is generally regarded as a horrible, waste of life, property and sanity. It is also exactly the kind of thing that those of us who were opposed to an invasion of Iraq predicted would happen and those supporting the invasion in Iraq denied would happen and still insist are exaggerated by liberal press that is out to get Bush. And let us not forget that as terrible as it is that a US soldier committed a war crime against Iraqi prisoners, this also effects the soldier in question. He is probably a perfectly normal guy, well brought up, with loved ones and a life waiting for him in America somewhere. But now this young man will have to live with a terrible crime that War has brought him to commit. Even if he is acquitted, will he ever be the same? What of his comrades who witnessed the event? Now multiply that many many times and ask it again.
Pro-war folks seem to have an idealized view of American troops. Americans never commit war crimes. American soldiers only shoot bad guys, never miss and usually let the bad guys get the drop on them first. Then the happy, well adjusted American G.I. get surrounded by crowds of excited local children who receive handfuls of Hershey's chocolate bars. This is, of course, nonsense. The problem is that about 50% of Americans believe it, or rather feel they NEED to believe it.
It is against this backdrop that Bush has appointed a replacement for the outgoing Secretary of State, Colin Powell. The new Secretary of State will be Condaleeza Rice. This appointment probably won't result in any changes in foreign policy. US foreign policy has long been dictated by a group of "Neo-cons" based in the VP's office and the Defense department. What Rice's move to the State department will do is end the squabbling between that department and the Department of Defense.
One thing we can see from Bush's new cabinet appointments is that each time he has had a chance to "reach out all Americans" Bush has refused to do so. His appointments in Justice Department, State Department etc have been clear signals that he intends more of the same. As I have said before, Bush's idea of reaching out is to invite his opponents to change their opinions.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 1:25 PM