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Half a deck

The day before Good Friday the television news from Iraq showed an American Army Captain wondering why the Iraqis had shot at them, killing one of his soldiers. After all, they had been doing many good works in the community.
The day before Good Friday the television news from Iraq showed an American Army Captain wondering why the Iraqis had shot at them, killing one of his soldiers. After all, they had been doing many good works in the community. I guess George Bush isn’t the only one who just does not get it – the Americans and their ‘coalition of the willing’ troops are not wanted in Iraq by many Iraqis. It does not matter if they are trying to patch up the damage they inflicted on the country or whether they are bringing ‘democracy’ to masses. They are no longer welcome by an increasing number of Iraqis.

There was an initial euphoria among many Iraqis when Saddam was toppled from power. Some saw this as an opportunity to fill the power vacuum, others as getting rid of a tough despot, yet others wondered at the real reason for the invasion and who would be their new master. I doubt if many thought it would be the Americans, no doubt under the delusion that the Americans would leave as soon as Saddam was ousted.

Once again we have to face the fact that it was about the oil, not weapons of mass destruction, or even Saddam’s supposed support for Osama bin Laden – which he always denied, the same as he denied the WMD. The oil is flowing again, if somewhat sporadically, but the American coalition can not seem to find the right fox to leave in the chicken house.

Now the coalition is facing an uprising by the clerics and their supporters. Sects that were originally thought to be friendly to the invading forces have turned about and now want the invading infidels out. The Americans have even had to open fire on a mosque, an action that they were loathe to take, but that is where the new enemy is – in the religious infrastructure of the country.

Which brings us back to George Bush’s first slip of the lip when he named the Invasion in terms of a Christian war of right over wrong. He was quickly corrected on this but it is beginning to look like maybe Dubyah just made a Freudian slip back then. The war began with reliance on smart bombs and cruise missiles, then a quick thrust into Iraq. That quick thrust slowed to a painstaking crawl, but eventually the country was occupied by the coalition of the willing.

But things are not going well now, as many pundits predicted, and George Dubyah is losing faith in his military might. He is now daily invoking his god to whup the other fellow’s god. Sounds suspiciously like a religious war after all. Bush is putting a lot of pressure on his god – all those problems at home with gay marriages, abortionists and creationists, prayers in schools, even the oath of allegiance, all the while trying to bring religion back into the affairs of the state. If he just didn’t have that damn election in the fall!

The Americans had great sport depicting the leaders of the former Iraqi regime as a deck of cards, rhyming out the card and suit as they captured or killed the deck. I hope the person who came up with this deck of card thing was not using the old song about the deck of cards where a WW II American soldier explained to the chaplain why he used his deck of cards like a bible. The irony would be too much.

I don’t know how much of that deck of cards is left, but maybe George should think about playing with half a deck. Saddam, the secular leader of Iraq, kept the clerics under control by force. Much like the coalition is now doing or will have to do. Saddam killed quite a few Iraqis and Kurds keeping the peace in his country – perhaps more than the coalition has in its first year, but the country was as stable as any in the Middle East.

Before the first Gulf war, Iraq was one of the most prosperous, well-educated and healthy countries in the region. Unfortunately, Saddam wanted Kuwait back (another British partitioning that didn’t work in the Middle East) and invaded Kuwait with a wink and a nod from the American ambassador. Here we are today bogged down in a quagmire with no apparent way out of Iraq without a lot of losing face. As the body bag count rises and the general in charge asks for more troops, this is beginning to sound like another Vietnam. It looks like there is no quick solution.

Unless the coalition uses what remains of that deck of cards to solve their problem. Yep, put Saddam and what remains of his henchmen back in power. Give the guy a haircut and shower, tell him to behave himself and let him sort things out. Tell him if he doesn’t behave, the coalition will cut off his oil. Or the Americans will have their god visit some plague on him.

The coalition should be able to get out of the country before the Iraqis cash in Saddam’s chips – or the Iraqis may decide to give him a second chance. If Cheney and his buddies want to get in on the reconstruction work, let them deal with Saddam. I’m sure he’ll cut them a good deal. Probably offer them a ‘spider hole’ for an office. Saddam always was a great joker!

Deal the cards, George – it would be interesting to compare the daily news reports by the former Minister of Information and CNN.

Bill Walton

About the Author: Bill Walton

Retired from City of North Bay in 2000. Writer, poet, columnist
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