I hope the stock market gets hammered.
I hope the Iraqis set fire to as many
oil fields as possible. I hope oil prices
in the United States surge and shortages
persist. I hope the antiwar protestors
become disobedient. I hope the economy
never recovers. I hope Iraq doesn't have
weapons of mass destruction. I hope our
troops make it home alive.
This is the only way to drive home the
point that war is brutal no matter who
the enemy is. After the bombs dropped
on Baghdad and hundreds of Iraqi soldiers
surrendered to U.S. and British troops,
the pundits on CNN,
News and MSNBC
reported that the war could end within
"Nonsense," I said.
This war would be an easy victory for
the U.S. and its allies, the cable news
outlets said. Kind of like watching the
Los Angeles Lakers pummel the Los Angeles
Clippers. Reaction here to the commentaries
and the real-time images was swift. The
stock market soared. Oil prices plummeted.
It appears that the outcome of the war
is measured by how well the Dow Jones
Industrial Average performs.
Since last Wednesday, I have been glued
to the television, watching in shock and
awe how the pundits on the cable news
outlets reported on the conflict like
it was some sort of sporting event. The
television and print reporters covering
the war failed to ask any questions about
Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction
and where they were hidden. It's as if
the media forgot the reasons the Bush
administration said we were invading Iraq
in the first place.
Then last weekend, the realities of war
set in. A few military helicopters crashed.
US and British soldiers died. On Saturday,
a dozen American soldiers were captured
and may have been executed in an ambush
by Iraqi soldiers, which was aired on
an Arab news station. President Bush warned
that if U.S. soldiers were executed it
would violate the Geneva
Convention and that those responsible
would be prosecuted for war crimes.
Excuse me for being cynical, but for
a president who only last week promised
to eradicate Saddam Hussein's regime and
everyone who fights on behalf of it, why
would Iraqi soldiers abide by the rules
of war? What's the incentive? The way
they see it they're dead men walking.
Reaction here to the two dozen U.S. and
British casualties in the four-day war
has been anger, frustration, even disbelief.
And the ground war against Iraq's elite
Republican Guard - which promises to bring
even more U.S. and British combat deaths
- hasn't even started yet.
What this proves is that the public can't
and won't accept the loss of U.S. life
in exchange for the Bush administration's
goal of overthrowing Saddam and liberating
the Iraqi people. Nor should they.
Sure, the US will prevail. We will win
this war. Saddam will be history. Iraqi
people will be free. But it will come
at a cost. Only when the reality of war
sets in, when mothers lose their sons,
wives lose their husbands and children
lose their parents will people start to
question the motives of invading a country
that so far has proved to be nothing more
than a nuisance to the US - certainly
not a threat.
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