micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2003
I awoke Sunday morning at roughly 7:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and, shortly after a quick breakfast, booted up the computer to check the news. I was just about to open the web browser when I thought, "nothing has happened. You'll just way time and would be better off just watching The Simpsons Micah," which is what I did.
Shortly before 9 a.m. I got a call from a friend, bbs, who wanted to know what I thought about the news. Not knowing what "the news" was, I asked, but dancing in my head was a vision of the Bush Administration finally being exposed as the dishonest assholes that they are. Perhaps some document had been revealed, I thought, or Bush had gone back on the sauce, got drunk and admitted at least some aspect of their mendaciousness.
But that was not to be and I had to settle for the news of Saddam being captured.
Was I disappointed?
In a word, yes.
I have serious misgivings about this. As despicable as U.S. President George W. Bush is, his bad deeds pale in comparison to those former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Viewed on an equal scale, both deserve contempt but Saddam deserves far more. However, I suspect that the dichotomy found in their records stems from different political cultures more so than temperament.
In a story filed yesterday, Reuters reports that witnesses say that the U.S. military responded to a pro-Saddam rally in Tikrit by "beating and arresting some protesters."
The Press Association reports that U.S. Lieutenant Colonel Steven Russell said, "They [the protesters] were reminded that protests are not authorised and that participation in protests is punishable."
Commenting on these stories, Eric Garris of antiwar.com notes, "there are numerous reports of anti-Saddam demonstrations that are not being broken up, even though they are also not authorized. Many of these protesters are freely firing guns in celebration without any arrests."
Ironically the Coalition Provisional Authority has promoted the fact that a recent Gallup Poll indicates that the vast majority of Iraqis living in Baghdad want "freedom of speech" and "freedom of assembly."
Perhaps, whenever all the dust has settled, the residents of Baghdad will those freedoms under a government approved by Uncle Sam, but this appears unlikely to happen if the residents of Baghdad get out of line.
The logic behind this conditional freedom is the same as that behind the invasion and occupation of Iraq as a whole. The U.S. doesn't want absolute power -Rummy could care less who runs the drains in Basra- but it does want control of some areas such as the general form of the Iraqi economy and political system, the capabilities of the Iraqi military and what Iraqi media can say. And, if these stories are correct, the U.S. (in the form of the Bush Administration, which doesn't seem all that bothered by this incident) wants to limit want Iraqis can say and protest.
This model appears to have also come to the U.S. Michelle Goldberg's salon.com story "'This is not America'" contains plenty of details on law enforcement's repressive response to a recent protest of a Free Trade of the Americas summit in Miami. The details are too numerous to list here but the basic message is that The Iron Heel can appear when it is requested. Demonstrations of support for military interventions are unlikely to trigger it, however.
The late comedian Bill Hicks was born 42 years ago today.
"They don't want the voice of reason spoken, because otherwise we'd be free," Hicks says on a 1993 recording found on Rant in E-Minor (Rykodisc, 1997).