Here’s another piece in this mosaic whose overall picture I can’t yet see.
It’s Brian Averett’s Triple A Rock Shop website, where, amidst his the businesslike listings of cabs and rough and equipment, Averett has written a page of “people stories” about his two sets of rockhound adoptive parents.
The first set, John and Marge Little were an elderly white couple who did lapidary work. Brian Averett was a 6’3” 255-pound half-Indian construction worker who came to them with his first two thunder eggs. Somehow they became inseparable. Averett later got to know some friends of theirs, George and Anita von Brandt, who also wound up adopting him. I can’t explain why I find this affecting without sounding stupid.
I’m thinking about this stuff right now because George Herbert Walker Bush’s idiot son is scaring the bejeezus out of the rest of the world, and trying to start a war of aggression we don’t have any right to be pursuing. Didn’t we use to believe we were the good guys? What kind of heroes will we raise up among ourselves if we start doing things like this?:
800 missiles to hit Iraq in first 48 hoursThat’s not the style of bombing you use when you’re specifically going after Saddam Hussein, or industrial facilities that might produce weapons of middling destruction, or the Iraqi military. If US planners expect to leave no safe places in Baghdad, they’re planning to hit the civilian population.
The US intends to shatter Iraq “physically, emotionally and psychologically” by raining down on its people as many as 800 cruise missiles in two days.
The Pentagon battle plan aims not only to crush Iraqi troops, but also wipe out power and water supplies in the capital, Baghdad.
It is based on a strategy known as “Shock and Awe”, conceived at the National Defense University in Washington, in which between 300 and 400 cruise missiles would fall on Iraq each day for two consecutive days. It would be more than twice the number of missiles launched during the entire 40 days of the 1991 Gulf War.
“There will not be a safe place in Baghdad,” a Pentagon official told America’s CBS News after a briefing on the plan. “The sheer size of this has never been seen before, never been contemplated before.”
… George Bush has been displaying increasing impatience with the pace of inspections and is eager to start the bombing. But according to UN sources he has resigned himself to the fact that the US lacks enough votes on the Security Council to wage a military campaign.
No one should ever be eager to start a bombing campaign like that, no matter what the cause or circumstances.
What the devil is that man eager for? What is he getting out of it? These are strange doings for a draft-dodger, a deserter during time of war, who’s still such a physical coward that his security apparatus shuts down everything for miles around when he makes one of his infrequent and carefully staged “public” appearances.
(Maybe he wants to start the bombing because, thanks to the UN inspectors, he can now be sure that Iraq can’t hit back. That is more his style.)
We can’t do this. Militarily we may be the strongest country in the world, but we’re not stronger than the rest of the world put together; and we don’t have legitimate cause to go to war.
The UN inspectors haven’t found much of any significance, and they haven’t even gotten to finish their inspection. The United Nations hasn’t passed a resolution in favor of war. We haven’t got the votes in the Security Council. Iraq hasn’t attacked us. Meanwhile, Dubya & Co. have been squandering our international credibility. The Afghan conflict is still a mess and needs huge amounts of cleanup. We’ve got egg all over our face from that business with North Korea. We’re alienating our allies at an appalling rate, and publicly announcing that we intend to bomb Iraq to flinders can only speed up that process.
I find the proposed method of attack profoundly disturbing.
It sounds to me—especially with a name like “Shock and Awe”—like they’re essentially planning to use cruise missiles as morale weapons. That’s a style of use, not a class of weapons. By way of illustration, daisy cutter bombs are good for clearing the vegetation off a big patch of jungle floor without blowing a crater in it, so you can land a helicopter there. However, it is also true that if you drop them on troop concentrations, other troops nearby will suffer a massive loss of morale. At that point, a daisy cutter becomes a morale weapon.
I’m no expert in these matters, but to the best of my understanding, the virtue of morale weapons is that they motivate the opposing troops to drop their gear and head for home. That means you don’t have to fight them, and they don’t have to stick around and fight you and get shot up in the process. Too bad about the guys who were nearby when the daisy cutter touched down, but in terms of overall numbers it beats doing a live-ammo reenactment of Verdun.
I could be wrong, but that’s my understanding.
The trouble with using morale weapons against the general population is that they’re already at home. This creates a very different effect. Maybe you get a scenario like Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where they’re so horrified that they stop fighting. On the other hand, maybe you get something more like the London Blitz, or the Siege of Leningrad.
This is bad. This is so not like us.