Monday, March 31, 2003
Ear-ticklers # 5
The Diplomatic & Mass Media Fronts:
“[Caribbean] Cockroach doan’ business in [global] Fowl fight”?Clipped 03:03:31a
In the clippings below, the Arab League diplomatic/propaganda strategy and the associated media games are exposed. Includes a brief discussion of the underlying clash of civilizations. However, this is also very relevant to the Caribbean, especially Jamaica, which has now been isolated in the region as other Caricom members backed away from making strong remarks on the Iraq war in the UN.
For, as that earthy proverb puts it: cockroach don't business in fowl fight. One would have hoped that Jamaica would have learned from the 1970's that such an unwise cockroach soon becomes fowl food.
But prudence is not the only issue. For the underlying dynamics may be subtler than our local pundits let on. So, please scan the clippings highlighted below.
Even more bluntly, we need to reflect on why we "never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." For, it seems we have a history of being systematically in error. Therefore, let us soberly reflect on the quality of our analysis, discussion, deliberation and decision-making.
The underlying themes are:
• The Arab League, in fear of the wave of democratic reform announced by GB as his onward ME policy, are closing ranks to defend one of their own – a fellow tyrant -- by launching a UN offensive.
• The US military strategy, though low in materiel and men, is clearly a breakthrough success, however, if the world opinion can be stirred as Baghdad is subjected to siege, the resulting wave of media-stirred revulsion can amplify the AL’s efforts in the UN, and those of France.
• But, on the contrary, the US strategy, if vigorously carried out, may well lead to exactly the breakthrough envisioned by GB
• Further, it turns out that the Iraqi people, in significant numbers, do in fact see the invasion as an act of liberation and an opening for hope for a real future: they want the war, argues a former peacenik who is an Assyrian Christian based in Japan.
• As of this morning as well, Peter Arnett has been fired by NBC/MSNBC in the aftermath of an Iraq TV interview in which he claimed credit for the antiwar movement in the US and stated that the US strategy is a failure currently being rewritten in the “pause” in the campaign. (One wonders why someone with his track record of false stories and propaganda masquerading as journalism would be again employed by a reputable news organization after he had to be dismissed by CNN for a story in which he falsely alleged that US forces had used nerve gas on its own POWs in Laos, and had reportedly drawn the editorial inference from this that the US was in no position to comment on Iraq and chemical weapons.)
Against this backdrop, it is worrying to see Jamaica again over-punching its weight on the international stage: apparently, only Jamaica, of the Caricom delegation, has issued strong statements in the UN regarding the war, in the face of US warnings. Have we not learned from the 1970’s that cockroach doan’ business in fowl fight? (For, then, we were heavily engaged in cold war rhetoric, on what should have been evident even then was the wrong side of history. And yet, we are currently engaging in support of the arab tyrants and islamists! Is this again a case of “never miss[ing] an opportunity to miss an opportunity”?)
Okay, happy reading.
----------------- HEADLINES ---------------------
March 28, 2003, 8:35 a.m.
Taking Care of League Business
A response to the Arab League at the U.N.
By Walid Phares
Taking the war to the United Nations, the Arab League, this week, has called on the Security Council to stop the U.S.-led operations and withdraw from Iraq. Following an Arab foreign ministers' summit a few days ago, an offensive strategy was put in place on the diplomatic front. Led by Syria, and supported by the hard-core regimes in the region, the move aims at isolating and eventually defeating Washington — in New York . . . .
The rightness of America's war
Posted: March 31, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern
The italicized section is a half-column from a reader from Arizona, who submitted this under the guidelines of my challenge in January. It's quite good, actually, and my response follows.
Invading Iraq doesn't protect our liberties – it weakens them – permanently. The Apache pilot swore to defend the Constitution, yet serves in an undeclared, unconstitutional war after Congress again shirked its duty . . .
While I very much agree with the writer's core beliefs, I take issue with his conclusions, which, in my opinion, stem from some flawed assumptions . . . . Islam, from the very beginning, has been a religion of conquest. Modern Islamic terror began in Kashmir after the partition of India, migrated to the West during the French Algerian War in 1954, and has since slaughtered people from the African Sudan to the Zurich airport. America is hated because she is the most powerful part of the Dar-al-Harb, and will be attacked until she either submits to the Dar-ar-Islam or defeats it . . .
Dead man plotting
Posted: March 31, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern
. . . Every battle death is a tragedy and a loss. But America is winning this war. Only if you predicted a "cakewalk" is this a quagmire.
Gen. Tommy Franks' war plan is straight out of Clausewitz and MacArthur. In war, said Clausewitz, strike hard at the enemy's center of gravity, be it king, army or capital.
In Iraq, all three are in Baghdad, and Franks sent his Marines and 7th Cav up the Baghdad road on day one . . . . Franks bypassed Basra, Iraq's second city, to head straight for Baghdad . . . . Yet, the great question left is not whether Baghdad falls, but when . . . . For this war is not only being fought on a military front, where Saddam cannot win. It is being fought in the hearts and minds of hundreds of millions of Islamic and European peoples, many of whom violently oppose what they see as U.S. imperialism. Every day that the Iraqi regime and Revolutionary Guard are not broken is a victory for Saddam . . .
The enemy's megaphone
Posted: March 31, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Tom Marzullo
Well, surprise, surprise, surprise ... Peter Arnett is broadcasting his special brand of ego-driven, anti-American rhetoric from Baghdad once again, having been rehabilitated from his ashes and sackcloth by the "green"-driven National Geographic, and now seconded to the National Broadcasting Corporation.
For those not familiar with the symbol most closely describing the real-politik of the "greens," beyond a doubt, it would have to be the watermelon. A thin patina of green coats the exterior with a slightly bitter, hard, white rind supporting – while inside, it is red solidly to the core.
Yes, I know: Why don't I tell you how I really feel? But if one looks at some of the policy decisions made by the "greens," perhaps some justification might be found for this apparently less-than-charitable assessment . . .
I Was Wrong!
By Ken Joseph, Jr.
How do you admit you were wrong? What do you do when you realize those you were defending in fact did not want your defense and wanted something completely different from you and from the world?
This is my story. It will probably upset everybody - those with whom I have fought for peace all my life and those for whom the decision for war comes a bit too fast . . . .
The feeling as I crossed the [Iraqi] border was exhilarating - `home at last, I thought, as I would for the first time visit the land of my forefathers . . . . The first order of business was to attend Church. It was here where my morals were raked over the coals and I was first forced to examine them in the harsh light of reality.
Following a beautiful `Peace` to welcome the Peace Activists in which even the children participated, we moved to the next room to have a simple meal.
Sitting next to me was an older man who carefully began to sound me out. Apparently feeling the freedom to talk in the midst of the mingling crowd he suddenly turned to me and said `There is something you should know.` `What` I asked surprised at the sudden comment.
`We didn't want to be here tonight`. he continued. `When the Priest asked us to gather for a Peace Service we said we didn't want to come`. He said.
`What do you mean` I inquired, confused. `We didn't want to come because we don't want peace` he replied.
`What in the world do you mean?` I asked. `How could you not want peace?` `We don't want peace. We want the war to come` he continued . . .