maandag, maart 31, 2003

More Greetings For "The Liberators"

"They made a mistake coming here to fight a people who have faith and who are not afraid to die," said Ahmed Aziz Ahmed, a 38-year-old grocer turned Baath Party militiaman who said he can't wait for his chance to confront U.S. and British invaders. "They think that they can kill Saddam Hussein and rule us," he said with a laugh. "But we are all Saddam Husseins."

Just two weeks ago, on March 16th, with America on the cusp of war, Meet The Press was able to stage an interview with the abstemious and anodyne oil baron-cum-Vice President of the most disasterous Administration in recent American history, Dick Cheney.

What I remember most about watching this interview was thinking what a treat it was that Mr. Cheney was finally able to come out of hiding and grace the nation with his presence on the eve of war to tell the American people, in his indefatigable magniloquence how happy they should be that he and his kooky sidekick, George Bush were brave enough to stand up to that evil dictator Saddam Hussein and send all those Americans off to the desert to liberate those plebeian Iraqi sufferers from their horrible fate and make the world safe once again for democracy and freedom loving peoples everywhere. What a confident man that Dick Cheney was.

"...from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators..." Mr. Cheney prophesied in between coughing spasms.

Tim Russert, moderator of Meet the Press, continuing to press the issue, boldly forced the issue, asking Dick Cheney:

"If your analysis is not correct, and we’re not treated as liberators, but as conquerors, and the Iraqis begin to resist, particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?"

But Mr. Cheney, a man whose confidence knows no bounds when it comes to sending the children of OTHER democracy-loving Americans off to die for his oil profits, did not waver in his belief:

"Well, I don’t think it’s likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators. I’ve talked with a lot of Iraqis in the last several months myself, had them to the White House. The president and I have met with them, various groups and individuals, people who have devoted their lives from the outside to trying to change things inside Iraq. And like Kanan Makiya who’s a professor at Brandeis, but an Iraqi, he’s written great books about the subject, knows the country intimately, and is a part of the democratic opposition and resistance. The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that."

If I were a DJ and this were a turntable instead of keyboard, I would scratch that line over and over again:

"The read we get on the people of Iraq is THERE IS NO QUESTION but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein and THEY WILL WELCOME AS LIBERATORS THE UNITED STATES WHEN WE COME TO DO THAT."

...No question. They will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that.
We will be welcomed as liberators.
We....liberators...will be welcomed....
Welcome Liberators! Welcome!

It's a catchy phrase alright. Now, let's see what's been liberated to date:

At the time of this writing, according to the Iraq Body Count Project, Dick Cheney and George Bush have been able to "liberate" between 450-600 Iraqi civilians from their oppressed lives under Saddam. They must certainly be happier now than when they had to live under that oppressive dictatorship, especially those among the "liberated" who were children. They must be really happy because, let's be honest, would YOU want to live an entire life of oppression under and evil regime without being liberated by The Bush Administration?

So many of my conservative acquaintances, all of whom not only became infatuated with the war on Iraq but all of whom irrationally and bellicosely shouted down questions about why it was necessary to invade Iraq and called people "un-American" or "Unpatriotic" for daring to ask to see The Emperor's New Clothes, used to try and remind everyone how lucky they all were that a great Christian like Bush was around to lead America to greatness. They would tell these "unAmerican" people with their "unAmerican" questions, that they were lucky they weren't living in Iraq because if they were living in Iraq, Saddam Hussein would have stuffed them into sausage grinders or gassed them or raped their mothers and daughters just for daring to question him. I want to tell them all how woefully misguided the rest of us were. If I'd have known the liberation was going to be this easy, if I had known that Dick Cheney was something on par with Jeane Dixon when it came to predicting the future, that the Iraqis would trample themselves in their rush to thank America for liberating them, I'd have never questioned the Administration to begin with. We were silly. Impetuous. Just a bunch of liberals re-living the 60s I suppose. A bunch of commies and hippies who won't just shut up and support the troops.

I can tell you one thing for certain, George Bush and Dick Cheney certainly support the American troops. After all, they cared enough about those troops and the spouses and children of those troops that they thought how neat it would be if those troops would be liberators instead of invaders. They care enough about those troops that when some of the liberators die, Dick Cheney and George Bush personally deliver the bad news to the families of those troops who died to liberate those poor Iraqis from that evil dictator Saddam. They care because Dick Cheney and George Bush have sent their own children in harm's way to save America from tyranny and liberate the oppressed Iraqi peoples. I know George Bush cares. He cares so much that he cut veteran's benefits from the budget to support the war.

Human Rights Watch estimates that Saddam has been responsible for the death of as many as a million Iraqi citizens over the course of his tenure, since 1979, when he was first took power as the Iraqi president. That's one million killings divided by 24 years, which, if you round up, comes out to about 42,000 killing per year. If we consider the figure of 600 Iraqi civilians killed by "friendly" liberating fire in 12 days of war, that comes out to about 50 killings per day Worked out over a year, that's only about 18,250 killings per year or, about 23,750 fewer Iraqis killed per year.

So you see, Dick Cheney is right. American troops are liberators. Look at all the lives they're saving! This is a real bargain! The Iraqis should be rolling in the dirt with gratitude. And yet, curiously, they're not. The Bush Administration says this is because Saddam Hussein is scaring all of them and not letting them come out for liberation. This of course, the same Saddam Hussein the Bush Administration says "may or may not" be dead already.

Of course, if Iraqis, as noted by Mr. Ahmed at the top, are "all Saddams" then it won't really matter much who America kills or who they liberate. It seems that the liberating business just got alot more difficult. Good thing America has a man like Dick Cheney who knows better than the Iraqis, how they react when they are liberated.

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