Friday, October 29

Hold Your Nose and Say "He'll Do"

While I've been on planet Delirium (where the President is Sr Manny Ramirez and the veep goes by the name of Papi) there's been some sort of joke election going on . . . and the link is to a recent article about why one of our expat women is going, with some relutance, for Dubya.

Meanwhile here is evidence that lots and lots of people don't find the election any fun at all - and comedy rule #1 is that they're the sort of people who are instantly open to ridicule (I'm a little amazed to hear that John Stewart has opted for the funny bone bypass too, but there you go).

I've shot my load before on the thin gruel on offer to the American voters, but I'll add this: apropos the views of the woman writing the initial link piece, I too find Kerry's belief that the war on terror can be parleyed into being nothing more than a pesky "nuisance" in the future - presumably the near future, under his watch - both balmy and barmy thinking, but it has some support here. I just don't go the whole hog with the analogy that al-Qaeda are of the same ilk as previous terrorist groups such as the Baader-Meinhoff gang.

Indeed, with the rise of Abu Masab al-Zarqawi it may be time to shift our line of attack from al-Qaeda to World Jihad (an idea being stirred up by the Israeli government, so keep that salt to hand) as it's unclear who if anyone is pulling al-Zarqawi's strings, though the Hitch argues here that he's right in the thick of a connection between Saddam's Baathist regime and bin Laden's al-Qaeda.

As for this morning's headline grab of 100,000* deaths in Iraq, I'm not so convinced of the accuracy of this figure. It's a sad fact that thanks to Saddam, women and children and the young constitute a much higher percentage of the population than what would be considered normal; and it's just a fact that their deaths are more emotive than those of grown men.

But above and beyond that, even if the figures are an underestimate, I'm still glad we went in and removed Saddam from power. Moreover, I want our troops to stay in Iraq until the job gets done - and to get it done it's pretty clear that we need more troops in there. If I remember rightly, even Hillary Clinton has argued for that to happen (and, en passant, there's a woman who probably won't break down crying if Dubya gets his second term).

Anyone who thinks that all the indigenous Iraqis will kiss and make up the moment our troops leave is simply deluding themselves
; and what do you think would have happened in Iraq had we decided to let Saddam continue to dick the UN around while we waited for him to die or relinquish power? The two most likely outcomes: more of the same grief, courtesy of one of his son's or favoured hatchet men - or a horrific civil war as Iraq breaks up.

Whoever wins next Tuesday is going to need to develop some brains and some cojones and send in more troops, and also devise something like a five year plan for setting up Iraq (again, I've warbled on previously about wanting to see it carved into three - or even four - states, with the absolute priority among them being a Kurdistan for the long-suffering Kurds).

But for now, just like with the French election of 2002 (remember that classic? "Vote for the crook, not the fascist") I'm going to sit back and enjoy the tears, the tantrums and the chaos. The way I see it, be it for Bush or Kerry, the intelligent voter is walking in to the voting booth holding his nose . . .

(And for those about to dally in the murky swamps of Florida, check out this Slate piece on your eastern twin: Ukraine.)

Needless to say, but just to rub it in: no such problem, no such dilemma here. We're sorted - with no more stench than usual. But whaddya know? That's politics, baby.

Well, old sport, it's time I got back to the sport - and the orgastic night that really did happen.

* This piece by Fred Kaplan rips apart the process behind the survey, and puts a guesstimate figure of 20,000 forward as being nearer the truth which, given an equally guesstimate figure of 20 million as Iraq's total population, breaks down as 0.01%.


posted by DD @ 22:01 


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