September 17th, 2004


Operation Enduring Freedom

They interviewed the Canadian journalist Scott Taylor the journalist who was recently held prisoner and then released in Iraq on the CBC program 'As It Happens' a couple of nights ago, and he said things that are NOT getting reported anywhere in the US Press that I read, watch, and listen to.

You can listen to the interview here.

The thing that I found frightening in what he said: 1) After he was captured, the Iraqi police saw him and laughed and joked with the people holding him captive. 2) That he was passed around between Insurgent groups, so he was held by former Baathist, and Ansar Al Islam, the Iraqi Al-Qaeda affiliate.

This is a huge deal -- not only are there large areas of Iraq that are 'no go' for the Americans and the 'government of Iraq' that we've installed, the people resisting our presence and the new Iraqi government are coordinating and apparently friendly with each other. How are we going to EVER get out of there without leaving a civil war that will end with a dictatorial regime WORSE than Saddam Hussein running things?

The most likely scenario is that Ansar Al Islam, former Baathists, Muqtada al-Sadr, and Iranian Shiite proxies will all seek their own level and control parts of the country, while fighting among themselves for control of the whole country. Anyone who cooperated with the Americans there will have a huge target painted on their backs.

That's what is REALLY happening. Bush and Cheney, on the other hand, are spinning a fairy tale completely divorced from reality when they talk to the country. On that basis alone, I don't see how anyone could rationally decide to vote Republican in November. The question is not whether could Kerry do any better. The question is could he possibly do any worse, even has he tried? Whatever people want to say about him, he will at least START from an actual understanding of the facts on the ground in Iraq. He might not have any good choices, but at least he won't base his policies on fantasies.

Garrison Keillor in a surprisingly scabrous attack on Bush et al lamented that we had no Mark Twain around. I lament his absence all the time too, though as a substitute we have Kurt Vonnegut, who is every bit as cynical and disheartened as Mark Twain was at the end of his life. But anyway, this Twain quote is disturbingly apropos to the current sitch:

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."