Coded gray.

Wednesday 5 March 2003

Saddam set in stone

Pic of the day: Set in stone ...

Saddam's final victory

Imagine that you are watching a movie. The two main characters are a gangster and a police officer, and the supporting cast are the various gang members and policemen. Over the course of the movie, the gangster has attacked all of the rival gangs in the neighborhood, and some civilians have also been killed in the shootouts that followed. As the movie nears its end, the gangster is surrounded by police forces. He is still holding his gun, but he is outgunned and outmanned. The police officer demands that he drop the gun. He hesitates ... everyone watches in silence ... then he drops the gun. The police officer walks up and shoots him in the head.

Now, who will be the hero of the story? Where will your sympathy lie when you leave the theater? Most people will tend to forget the total death toll and shift their allegiance to the villain, because of the treachery from one who was supposed to be the good guy.

With careful precision, Saddam Hussein is making this movie run on all the world's news channels, and I wonder if it may be too late to stop it. The American war machine is not something that turns on a dime; it is likely to attack Iraq in the middle of March no matter what. There are probably already detailed time tables circulating down the ranks of the officers. And meanwhile, Iraq destroys its medium-distance rockets, one by one. Never mind that these would be pretty much useless against an invasion force. The emotional effect is going to be the same: First you destroy the weapons, then you are attacked and lose. People will remember. They will remember for centuries to come.

***

I am impressed. I will be even more impressed if the "allies" find a way out of this dilemma. Given that the Anglo-American alliance is led by George W. Bush, it may be more correct to say that I would be astounded. The only hope, as I can see it, is to find some caches of really bad forbidden weapons. If not nukes, then smallpox or anthrax or some such. And to do so in a way that absolutely excludes the possibility of it being planted. This is pretty hard to do during a war and with your soldiers all over the place. I mean, it is hard to make prove it isn't planted, when you got your people all over the place. It would be so much better if the UN inspectors found it first. But so far, Saddam seems to have enough control to avoid that. And the US super spy satellites and secret agents and what not have been unable to direct the weapons inspectors to one single hideout so far unable or unwilling. I hope they just don't know, because if they choose to go there after, it will be too late.

They say the victors write the history books. I guess they did. But lately, CNN has taken over the job. Then again, perhaps the only victors of this conflict are CNN and its kind. For like all wars, it is fought mostly in the hearts. To quote Napoleon: "There are only two powers in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit."


Yesterday <-- This month --> Tomorrow?
One year ago: TV: Friendly fire
Two years ago: GURPS, lojban etc
Three years ago: Deep, dark secret
Four years ago: Magiciens sans frontieres

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