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The Flag of the World

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2003


Not a worst case scenario
Yesterday I complained about those who would complain about anything being longer, harder, tougher or fiercer "than expected," mainly with the two words "by whom?" I touched on the fact that what we were seeing was far from the worst case scenario, and much, much closer to the best case scenario many of us were hoping for (not expecting, hoping for) before the war began. I'd like to expand on that a little today. At the behest of a very intelligent professor who is (or was, at least) against the war, I read an article a while ago outlining the terrible things that could happen once this war started, as listed by some general that I think took part in Desert Storm. I only read it once over, enough to see it was nothing I hadn't heard before, and have since tried to find it online--rather unsuccessfully, as I don't even remember the man's name. As I recall, he suggested that the chance of the horrific scenario that he described actually taking place was "better than half." Well, it should be obvious now that this has not happened, but I'd like to go over a few specific points.

The Arab Street: Obviously, there have been no open revolts in any Arab countries--I think we would have heard about it. There have been some messy altercations, as is to be expected. I do find it ironic how many of the protesters, in Cairo, at least, are from the American University there--but Oxblog's got a correspondent who says that it's not likely to get worse. The chances are still there for this to become a problem at a later date--at anything resembling a military occupation of Iraq, for example--but it's hard to imagine it getting truly out of hand. For any riot to be anything more than a bloody mess, and actually "destabilize the region," there needs to be a truly destabilizing force, rather than a mess of angry college students. And for there to be a truly distabilizing force, there needs to be a leader, and I, at least, have seen no sign of such. As OxBlog's correspondent says, they seem to be driven by "the testosterone of frustrated male students trapped in a stagnant society" as much as anything else.

Israel going beserk: This was a very clearly stated fear--Iraq would lob some missiles at Israel, and Israel's "right-wing government" (the one phrase I remember distinctly from the article, used as if "right-wing" was a synonym for "trigger-happy, insane and evil," which too many, of course, think it is) would turn Baghdad into the world's largest mirror. Through a quick, very surprising strike through Jordan, the US military has nearly entirely eradicated that possibility.

Nasty urban warfare: Well... war is nasty, urban warfare too, and we've been involved in some. But the fear that Iraqi towns and cities would somehow morph into Vietnamese jungles has proved unfounded, so far. There are a few reasons for this. You can go around towns, for one. The uprising in Basra certainly helps forstall this sort of thing. And now, many Iraqi troops, including many in the Republican Guard appear to be hightailing it out of Basra and Baghdad on some sort of suicide mission. They may not realize that it's a suicide mission, but it likely is. Conversely, it's probably a deep desire of many of those troops to get out of cities, where they can't surrender nearly as easily, and out into the open spaces, where they can. Again, Baghdad could prove ugly as sin in this area, but the worst-case urban warfare scenario has certainly been forestalled.

NK taking this opportunity to lose its mind: This seems like a valid argument, and is, perhaps, bolstered by today's news that they are pulling out of standard talks with the UN command which monitors the armstice that ended the Korean War. On the other hand--seriously, how much do you think got done at those talks that couldn't get done from some nutjob's podium in Pyongyang? Near as I can tell, this is more of the same crazy talk out of North Korea, which has, like the barking of a dog at night that you eventually just stop hearing, ceased worrying me. That, in and of itself, is worrying, but not too badly. The war started conveniently at the same time as war games in the South, giving us some leverage there. Besides, NK seems to have adopted a slightly more hysterical version of Saddam's victimization tactics. This is harder for them to do, because the US has no intention of doing anything stupid that would involve getting Seoul nuked. They'll get theirs, but not the same way Saddam will get his. Fit the demise to the dictator, I always say.

There are more horrific possibilities, of course, but those are the ones I can think of--and the ones that, praise God, haven't happened yet.
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