Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Yesterday I went and read a bit of, the web site of my hometown newspaper. It was a little weird. It's one thing to see a poll that shows 42% of Americans believe Saddam was behind 9/11 and over half think Iraqis were among the hijackers and Saddam is aiding al-Qaeda. It's quite another to read quotes from serious people seeming to take that sort of thing for granted being printed without comment. I'd say the first two statements above are definitely not true, and the Saddam-al-Qaeda links look really tenuous at this point. The Bushies were happy to tout that they found documents linking Ansar al-Islam to al-Qaeda, which no one seriously doubted. However, they appear to have nothing linking the group to Saddam. As Juan Cole pointed out (, Ansar al-Islam was in the Kurdish-controlled area anyway, not Saddam's Iraq. The fact the administration is grasping at such straws leads me to belief there's really not much there.

Back to the main subject, people who have family and friends fighting in Iraq are people whose views and opinions I can at least respect, though I wish they'd grant the same respect to people who know innocents on both sides of this conflict and might take a different view. What I can't stand are the people who have no personal connections to all this whatsoever and just rant, regardless of what side they're on. To be honest, the anti-war protestors who put up all the anti-military signs are just as bad as the people insisting opposition to the war is treason - both seem to be doggedly pursuing an ideology without regard for the intricacies of the actual situation.

At least the actual war news is better this week, regardless of the spin. The fact we're already in house-to-house fighting in Basra without the worst-case scenarios coming true is a good sign, as is the positive trend in the tone of reports concerning the Iraqi reception of our troops and the news that there are now small numbers of Iraqis fighting alongside us. I still hold out hope of a sudden breakthrough, but we'll see. And then, winning the peace was always going to be the toughest part of all this.

That aside, it's April...which means I'm already starting to miss people who will soon be leaving. Last year the effect was kind of delayed, as most people I knew who were leaving stayed around for the summer, but I'm not sure that will happen this year. April is the cruelest month...


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