i've been spending a disproportionate amount of my time surfing, culling info from a all sorts of news sources, including a lot of weblogs. my friends think i'm unnecessarily wasting my time, i think i'm spending it in the best possible way. to repeat a cliche, these are very difficult times and as a muslim i feel a responsibilty to educate myself as much as possible about this war. i believe in the concept of freedom and democracy as defined and practiced in the west, but the events that are going on make it harder every day to see the actions of america, britain and the "coalition of the willing" to be purely for the good of humankind. peter arnett, formerly of the cnn and more recently reporting for the nbc was fired for granting an interview to iraqi television and offering them "comfort and support". this cnn article talks about arnett's alleged act of treason. from al jazeera's banning, to this latest incident, there is no denying the immense fear the media and corporate america has of being branded unpatriotic. image, after all, is everything here, you slip once and you are dead with. fox new, rather shamelessly, and in it's usual brash style, has started using the arnett incident in its promotions. arnett has now been hired by a british tabloid, the daily mirror, a paper of low, if any, repute. admitted, arnett may have allowed himself to
be used by the iraqi propaganda machine, but the reaction to the episode illustrates how sensitive the americans are to any influential journalist suggesting the war is not going the way it was planned. several articles quesition how many american lives must be sacrificed to spare iraqi civilian casualties. the conclusion of course is that american lives are much more precious than those of iraqis, iraqi civilians are merely 'collateral damage', american lives lost are the only ones that matter. how can right thinking people accept these arguments? as has been pointed by senior commentators, this war was stared on the following broad assumptions,
i) the iraqis all hate saddam hussein, they will come out in the streets and welcome the americans as 'liberators' and not 'conquerors'
ii) the iraqi soldiers will refuse to fight
iii) the war will get over in a very short while, some predicted a 'cakewalk'
as it turns out, these assumptions have proved, by and large, to be very erroneous and represent a poor understanding of the political situation in iraq. the economy bounced up in the first few days of the war when some iraqi regiments surrendered en masse. now, with increasing resistance and 'asymmetric warfare', the economy and the war plan are both facing a badgering. recently, the president, in response to a reporter's question about how long the war was supposed to last, replied rather testily, 'as long as necessary'. in face of overwhelming doubt and a fair number of setbacks the administration continues to profess that the war is going according to plans, everything is rosy and very soon there will be happiness and democracy in iraq.
i really have no doubt who's emerging victorious from this conflict, my concern lies with it's long term effects, the continuing hatred for americans in the arab world and the horrifying prospects that entails. the short termed thinking that has brought the war upon us will have long and terrible consequences, not only for my generation but for the one that follows ours. the idea of imperialism and world dominance ended with the second world war and if the current american administration believes it can win the world with force and death, it is very sadly mistaken.