Archive for March 23rd, 2003

The command post has moved, or is trying to

March 23, 2003

The Command Post has moved to a new server and the link I provided the other day is not working yet. For those of you that want to keep tabs of the news out of Iraq through what still is the best source I have found, here are two links that are currently working:

The stupid reality of naive human shields

March 23, 2003


Reading the following account by one of the so-called “human shields” in Iraq:

was shocked when I first met a pro-war Iraqi in Baghdad – a taxi driver taking me back to my hotel late at night. I explained that I was American and said, as we shields always did, “Bush bad, war bad, Iraq good”. He looked at me with an expression of incredulity. As he realised I was serious, he slowed down and started to speak in broken English about the evils of Saddam’s regime. Until then I had only heard the President spoken of with respect, but now this guy was telling me how all of Iraq‘s oil money went into Saddam’s pocket and that if you opposed him politically he would kill your whole family. It scared the hell out of me. First I was thinking that maybe it was the secret police trying to trick me but later I got the impression that he wanted me to help him escape. I felt so bad. I told him: “Listen, I am just a schmuck from the United States, I am not with the UN, I’m not with the CIA – I just can’t help you.”. Of course I had read reports that Iraqis hated Saddam Hussein, but this was the real thing.

I can only wonder what prompts supposedly intelligent human beings to just leave and join others in reckless action based on preconceived naïve ideas. What do they expect? For all Iraqi’s to love their President just because he is Iraqi? Saddam Hussein has been in power for over two decades, during which he fought a war with Iran, he invaded Kuwait and now the country is once again engaged in a war due to his refusal to get rid of a number of weapons, some of which like the Scuds, have already surfaced and others, such as chemical weapons, may yet be found or have been found already. But in the middle, Saddam Hussein has also used chemical weapons on his own people, starved them and even had his own family members shot for treason. But a Jewish photographer from the US, who lives in London, is surprised to learn that some Iraqi’s don’t like Saddam? How naive can you be?

I guess three years ago I would have even thought the story was simply fake, another propaganda publication by either the British or US Government. But now, after what we have been through in Venezuela, I know this guy is for real, much like those that still believe and repeat that Chavez won with 80% of the votes, the number coinciding with what they think is the percentage of poor in Venezuela, number that they parrot away making it the “truth”. And these same people somehow find it hard to believe that the poor are now mostly against Chavez, after their purchasing power has been decimated in the last four years, despite the fact that Chavez still gloats that he himself was responsible for high oil prices. These same poor people have seen crime shoot up in the last four years, all social programs for the poor disappear (yes, all, not a single one remains in place). These people with barely enoughmoney to eat daily, now have to provide “special” payments to the free Government schools their kids attend; otherwise classes simply can’t take place. The poor can also see that not a single accusation of corruption has resulted in any conviction or jailing and that even assassinations are simply forgotten after a few months. Despite this, Chavez continues to say that he is governing for the poor, while the truth is that he is governing to preserve himself and those that surround him, only the “process” is important, let the economy be destroyed, if it helps defend the process. But somehow, naïve activists, reporters and even US Congressmen defend Chavez, because of what they think he represents, without paying much attention to what he really has done or has stood  for.  Thus, it is not surprising to me to see these “human shields” visiting Iraq and saying it is surprising that some Iraqis are anti-Saddam. If we ever have an election, which I still have serious doubts about, they will likely be very surprised that Chavez lost it. They may even think that the opposition cheated or that the powerful oligarchs financed an anti-Chavez campaign that was impossible to stop. On the other hand, maybe I am the one being naive and simply too optimistic as usual, and ten years from now some of these people may be coming to Venezuela as human shields. Who knows?