Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Fooled jah in Fallujah... 

Cease fire? Nope, fooled ya!

U.S. aircraft and tanks pounded targets in the besieged Iraqi city of Falluja on Tuesday, just hours after an American deadline expired for rebels to hand over their heavy weapons, witnesses said.

It is impossible to say what one would/should do in this situation. Clearly, those recalcitrant Shiites in Fallujah are not saints, regardless of what Sadr says. But, that is my point. Being in Iraq places you in a no-win situation in which heroes of the people are instantaneously created just by wagging fingers at the invaders. And your actions cannot be justified on either side...you cannot let American soldiers be targets, but at the same time you cannot hope to maintain moral high ground when extirpating terrorists results in myriad civilian deaths. Welcome to the Middle East, "W", apparently you haven't been following the events in Israel since, oh, 1948 or so.

At the funerals of five people killed, mourners chanted "Long live Sadr!" and slogans against the United States and its allies on Iraq's interim Governing Council.

Adding to the U.S. burden, most Spanish troops in the occupying force who had been based in and near Najaf left Iraq on Tuesday in a withdrawal ordered by the new government in Madrid, where opposition to the occupation runs high. U.S. troops have had to replace the Spaniards in Najaf.

A Spanish government source said Spain would discuss with anti-war allies Germany and France on Wednesday finding a solution to the conflict in Iraq within the United Nations framework.

What "W" has done by failing to gain UN approval of the Iraq "action" is more than simply isolating the US from its allies. It has also removed the moral veneer from any actions taken in Iraq. Having to respond to every freak like Sadr eventually rubs you in the same muck from which Sadr spawned...and rightfully so. It is for this reason you cannot lightly go to war. Especially since the one in Afghanistan has been left tragically unfinished. It's just not right.


Monday, April 26, 2004

Women's Rights...just not right! 

OK, nearly all of us accepted the fact that going into Afghanistan was the right thing to do. It was where the Al Qaeda (I'll-a-hate-ya) was training; women's rights were in the toilet; and it was second to Somalia on the list of large, ungoverned dangerous areas on the planet (some would now say the U.S. has surpassed Somalia on this list, but I'm not going there...).

If that is so, then why haven't we finished the job there? Here is the latest horrific account, provided by Faolin...

Women confirm their hell on earth by burning themselves into the next life!

In post-Taliban Afghanistan, despite a new constitution enshrining women's rights that the Western-backed government passed in January, this remains a depressingly familiar story.

Zahara is one of many women to attempt a fiery suicide rather than be trapped in an unhappy marriage or denied the opportunity to make something of their lives.

In the past year, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission has recorded at least 110 cases of self-immolation by women in just five parts of the country.

There have been no fewer than 56 cases in Herat, a Western province ruled by a hard-line Islamist accused of continuing "Taliban-like" restrictions on women.

Rights workers say the phenomenon reflects a culture of violence, discrimination and broken post-Taliban dreams. They also say the problem could be far worse than the statistics show.

In other words, we have not completed the task in Afghanistan! What does it take for "W" to wake up? He is now embroiled in the dry version of Vietnam next door in Iraq, and he's forgotten about those crazy, non-knitting Afghans? Hello, "W", didn't you at least read/get coached on the Tillman tragedy?

Now we are trapped between Iraq and a hard place. Bush is discovering that have to finish one battle before beginning the next. And we are paying the price. A friend of mine mentioned yesterday that at least if "W" wins the next election he'll have to be in power while the U.S. position in Iraq--and Afghanistan--further deteriorates. I suspect, however, he has already done enough to ensure a miserable place for himself in history.


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