September 02, 2002
"It It Were Done When 'Tis Done, Then 'Twere Well It Were Done Quickly"
I want to connect some interesting recent developments in the Blogosphere. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find links for most of these, but they are all well-known. (Let me know in the comments and I'll add the links.)
Consider these four facts:
- Various bloggers have expressed extreme impatience at the pace of the Iraq campaign, wondering what's holding up an all-out invasion, and even (Bill Quick) threatening to vote Democratic in November if Saddam Hussein is still alive and his armed forces intact.
- Two or three bloggers have quoted a news story about a Russian legislator who predicts that Iraq will be invaded on September 11th, as a very practical commemoration of the first anniversary. The U.S. commemorated the first anniversary of Pearl Harbor by launching the battleship New Jersey: this would be even more appropriate.
- At least one blogger has pointed out that Bush is scheduled to address the U.N. on September 12th, which would be a good time for a speech of explanation and justification of an action just begun.
- Quite independently of all that, various bloggers have predicted, despairingly, that September 11th will feature a loathsome 24-hour multi-media wallow in 'feelings', cheap psychodrama, and fraudulent commemorative art on a scale surpassing even the death of Princess Diana: "How did you feel when you saw the towers collapse? Are you angry that some Frenchman claims it was an American missile that blew a hole in the Pentagon? Will it make you feel better to hear a song about September 11th, sung by Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, and Lee Greenwood?" (Answers: "How the Hell do you think I felt? Ditto. And nooooo, anything but that!")
I haven't seen anyone connect this last fact to the other three. It seems to be one more reason to accelerate the campaign, if that is militarily feasible. If Iraq is invaded on or slightly before September 11th, we will be spared all or most of the emotional wallow that the networks have planned for us, and can instead turn to straight news coverage on CNN and other networks, Pentagon press conferences, and talking heads discussing military events and short-term forecasts. In short, more Donald Rumsfeld, less Connie Chung and Lee Greenwood. One more reason to get the show on the road?
Posted by Dr. Weevil at September 02, 2002 12:02 AM
I know I'm at least one blogger who noted (and speculated on) the timing of Bush's UNGA address.
"Tell me Jim, why the heck are we rolling in the Iraqi desert right now?"
"So the folks back home don't have to witness schmaltzy Sept. 11th coverage and weepy reminisces."
"Comforting thought - ah fuck, somebody fucking shot me!"
"Hey, way to take one for the team!"
"If I have to hear Lee Greenwood sing that fucking song one more time, I will pray to God that the next one's fatal."
"Well Bob, that's why we're here."
It needs to be done.
I'm as anxious as anyone.
But I hope we go when we're ready, and not before. I know, call me a big fat weenie.
I don't place any sinister intent on Bush's speech Sept. 12. The UN has always held their summits in September, but last year immediately after the attacks it was postponed to November. However, Spet. 12 would indeed be a prime opportunity for Bush to lay out his case.
As for the theory of an attack on Sept. 11, there's another side to that coin. That's a day to remember those lost, and a case could be made that launching a new war on that date would detract from their memory. In other words, there are people who might think it borders on blasphemy. Sept. 12 would be just as good a day, and leave 9-11 for just memory.
However, I'm in favor of any *other* efforts to limit air time for Connie Chung and Lee Greenwood.
The pace is slow because the US abandoned the "two major war" preparedness doctrine in the mid-1990s. In the Cold War, Congress had a law mandating we be ready for two simultaneous "major regional conflicts" at all times (each the size of Desert Storm). Even when the law was in effect, and defense budgets high, this was still more theory than practice. In 1991, if Korea went hot while we freed Kuwait, we'd have been stuffed. Since the drawdowns, it's worse now. Which means critical units deployed in Afghanistan have to be withdrawn, re-deployed, re-equipped and retrained. Key reserves and heavy U.S.-based units are being mobilized to the region now, and trained for desert conditions. I saw a story about an Army hospital unit moved to the Gulf, and today I saw a Reuters report about a cargo ship contracted to move Abrams tanks to the Gulf, for arrival in September. Assuming this is correct (Military Sealift Command spokeswoman confirmed when pressed), that unit will need weeks of local training, etc. I expect an invasion in November, after the elections. Not for political reasons, though I'm sure Bush wants to avoid a scenario where he could be accused of invading to boost GOP seats.