Saturday, April 12, 2003

The looting of Baghdad's cultural heritage
High class: "Once there is American blessing they have got a market for these antiquities and it becomes open season. The last thing we want is condoned looting."
Low class: Baghdad seethes with anger; Officials with crumpled spirits fought back tears and anger at American troops, as they ran down an inventory of the most storied items that they said had been carried away by the thousands of looters who poured into the museum after daybreak on Thursday and remained until dusk on Friday, with only one intervention by American forces, lasting about half an hour, at lunchtime on Thursday. The Baghdad museum, despite the fact that it is the attacking army's responsibility to protect it. (The US & UK aren't signatories, but the US does have a resolution about it--but several coalition members are. We've had this problem before... and the Iraqi National Library has been destroyed, too.)
However, we had high priortiies: American troops were sent to break up a tile mosaic of the first President Bush on the floor of the lobby. Until the mosaic was destroyed today, the likeness of Mr. Bush was stepped on dozens of times a day.
This was a scene of humiliation, not liberation. We must do better.

Friday, April 11, 2003

Winning the peace
It can be a real challenge to maintain control afterward. Looting has taken Baghdad ("Freedom's untidy", says Rumsfeld, "Stuff happens"), and the city lies in chaos, hampering humanitarian aid. "The liberators, with the guns in their hands, forgot to bring clean water, food and medicine."
The entire event is being hailed as an equivalent of the Berlin Wall falling... but even a quick glance of the long-shot photo shows something more akin to a carefully constructed media event tailored for the television cameras.
In the last country we liberated: There have been no significant changes for people; the Taliban are returning.
US Foreign Policy, other than Iraq
US foreign policymaking groans under the weight of extremism, cynicism, ignorance and the obsession over Iraq

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

The hand that kills seldom turns out to be the hand that feeds.
'Arabs should be in the forefront in advocating and participating in the rebuilding of a fellow Arab country in all spheres.' (editorial)
Will democracy work in the Middle East?
'Although nearly the entire world pays lip service to democracy, there is still no global consensus on the self-expression values—such as social tolerance, gender equality, freedom of speech, and interpersonal trust—that are crucial to democracy. Today, these divergent values constitute the real clash between Muslim societies and the West.'

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

U.S. policy could prove strong incentive to acquire nuclear weapons (analysis)
'The only apparently credible way to deter the armed force of the U.S. is to own your own nuclear arsenal.'
Egyptian intellectual speaks of Arab world's despair
'Never have America's Arab friends, he said, 'felt so estranged from the United States.'

Monday, April 07, 2003

Oakland police fire rubber bullets at anti-war protesters
At least a dozen protesters and six longshoremen injured as police fired into the picket line to disperse the crowd. A video from the protest shows police firing on protestors as they're leaving the protest.
Contrasting coverage of the siege of Baghdad
From Al Jazeera...
'With the battle coming to engulf the entire city, fear-stricken civilians generally stayed indoors. The city streets looked lot emptier than what it has been ever since the start of the invasion nearly three weeks ago.'
And from CNN...
'U.S. Forces swept into Baghdad... sending a message, in the words of a top U.S. general, that Saddam's regime is gone.'
Why did the road to Baghdad get longer?
'The enemy has a vote in what happens on the battlefield.' From The Council on Foreign Relations.
Carving up the oil in Iraq
'The idea that the United States can go in and run Iraq for any length of time ignores . . . the sensitivity that Iraqis have had in the past about the control of their oil fields. It's a key part of Iraqi nationalism.'