mr. zilla goes to town

Sunday, January 23, 2005

worlds colliding

The view from planet Bin Laden, from Der Spiegel by way of Salon:

Now safely returned to the arms of his Parisian family, Malbrunot said that he and Chesnot slowly began to realize that they were "living on planet bin Laden." References to "Chief Osama" abounded, he said, and there was much talk of living by Muslim law. Resilient, tough-minded and good-looking, Malbrunot, 41, became an instant celebrity in France the minute that he and Chesnot, 38, disappeared. Now, a month after his release, he offered a curt assessment of where America's Iraq policy is headed: "Straight into a wall."

"These people will not surrender," he said. He was referring not only to the estimated 15,000-17,000 members of the Islamic Army in Iraq, which kidnapped him and Chesnot, but also to the dozens of other Islamic fundamentalist groups fighting in the country. "They have time, they have weapons, they have money," Malbrunot said. "And they are fighting at home. I am afraid it will only get worse and they will get more and more power. It frightens me."
The view from planet Bush, Norman Podhoretz in Commentary magazine (via A&LDaily):

Suppose, then (as I do), that in a year or so, a duly elected coalition government is in place in Baghdad; that it is guided by a constitution guaranteeing political freedom and minority rights; that the economy is improving; that Iraqi soldiers and policemen have taken over most of the responsibility for dealing with a severely weakened insurgency; that the number of American troops has been reduced to the size of a backup force; and that fewer and fewer Americans are being killed or wounded. What then? Will the realists and their liberal allies bow to this reality? Will they be mugged by reality?

Damn, that's a lot of suppositions, Norm. I suppose the upcoming election is going to work like some kind of magic pixie dust across the land that frightens away all the trolls? Just like the deaths of Saddam's sons did? Just like the capture of Saddam did? Just like the dissolution of the CPA did? Just like the destruction of Fallujah did? On the latter here's what General Muhammad Abdullah Shahwani, Iraq's intelligence chief, said to Chris Allbritton on 4 January:

Did the American military operations in Fallujah lead to a decrease in terrorist operations?
It became less only in Fallujah.

And in the rest of Iraq?
In gangs war which acted by the terrorism groups we can't get the results as we get in the organized army war, or the traditional war. The goal from Fallujah operation was to destroy the terrorism gangs or to capture their members but the results in Fallujah we could not capture the terrorists or kill their leaders, we did not see or hear about capturing or killing any big leader of terrorism, all the leaders of the terrorism have left Fallujah before the operations started already.

And they went working in other sites or hiding outside Fallujah in each fight there is a goal and the goal of Fallujah operation was to destroy the terrorist and their leadership but the goal was not done actually in spite of the full controlling of Fallujah.
I'll be honest, despite being aghast on a daily basis at all that this war has lead to (sometimes straight into my inbox, as I mentioned on Friday), part of me is prepared to suspend judgement for five years on the whole debacle; Rome wasn't rebuilt in a day. On the other hand, Today's Iraq is not Japan or Germany in the 1940s, today's Iraq is not Afghanistan in 2001, its probably closer to Afghanistan in 1981. And in the meantime there's a whole lot of lying, and a whole lot of dying, that senior members of the Bush administration should be held to accountable for.

But getting back to Podhoretz, I think The Poor Man Sounds summed up well this kind of view:

[After 9/11] a lot of people found certainty and security by making themselves believe that the universe had suddenly become a totally different place, where the President - yesterday, by everyone's admission, a man of no particular accomplishment or substance - had become this messianic figure, capable of resolving the world's most tortuous and least resolvable problems with one neat and decisive stroke. With such a figure, you don't have to worry about the corrupting influence of power, and a prudent doubt is not a virtue, but something close to heresy or sin. Naturally, such a great and good man requires great and diabolical enemies, and these enemies became anyone who doubted - liberals, Democrats, foreigners, reporters, academics, professionals, whoever. It makes you feel better. It's intoxicating. But it doesn't have much relation to reality. When reality conflicts with fantasy, you can either abandon the fantasy, and deal with the hangover that follows, or burrow deeper into fiction. And the harsher the reality, the nastier the hangover, and the deeper you need to go to avoid it.


  • Planet Bin Laden enters our vocabulary

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:51 pm  

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