"Believe me, we thought a magic thing would happen" with the fall of Hussein and the start of the U.S.-led occupation, said an administrator at Baghdad's Central Teaching Hospital for Pediatrics. "So we're surprised that nothing has been done. And people talk now about how the days of Saddam were very nice," the official said.”
Pangloss enseignait la métaphysico-théologo-cosmolonigologie. Il prouvait admirablement qu'il n'y a point d'effet sans cause, et que, dans ce meilleur des mondes possibles, le château de monseigneur le baron était le plus beau des châteaux et madame la meilleure des baronnes possibles.
« Il est démontré, disait-il, que les choses ne peuvent être autrement : car, tout étant fait pour une fin, tout est nécessairement pour la meilleure fin. Remarquez bien que les nez ont été faits pour porter des lunettes, aussi avons-nous des lunettes. Les jambes sont visiblement instituées pour être chaussées, et nous avons des chausses. Les pierres ont été formées pour être taillées, et pour en faire des châteaux, aussi monseigneur a un très beau château ; le plus grand baron de la province doit être le mieux logé ; et, les cochons étant faits pour être mangés, nous mangeons du porc toute l'année : par conséquent, ceux qui ont avancé que tout est bien ont dit une sottise ; il fallait dire que tout est au mieux. »
-- Docteur Pangloss
There must be a certain quiet pride pervading the intellectual godfathers of Iraq’s Liberation this Thanksgiving week. So much has been accomplished! A freemarket mindset has been launched; a grateful people applaud the humane and just American army, as they secure mosques at prayer time and engage in massive urban renewal projects; and, as Doctor Pangloss might say, it has been demonstrated metaphysically that, since Iraqi leaders are necessarily made to subserve American interests, the best Iraqi leader has been put in place, and will be swept into office by the best combination of parties available to offer the best lack of competition in the best of all possible elections, coming up in January!
One’s heart thrills.
That malnutrition has now almost doubled since the invasion according to Iraq’s own freedom loving government, the best in the whole Middle East, is also, as we know, for the best. This will cull out those infants that might grow up to doubt the beneficence of having a low tax, laissez faire, low tariff economy, or one that is organized specifically to give the best price possible on the best gasoline available to the best SUVs driven by the planet’s premier human beings, the ever Christian, ever loving homo americanus.
We looked around at the metaphysico-cosmologico-theologists and their thoughts on the magnificent situation in Iraq. Here’s Johann Hari on the wonderful job the Americans did in dislodging the evil Sunnis en masse from their city of Fallujah – and I hasten to say that the evil of these Sunnis is only apparent, since they made the best possible target for the best possible firepower in the whole wide world, made in, or at least for, America!
I began to write a response [to a letter from a man whose parents live in Fallujah] - from the safety of my nice cosy flat - when the news came through that the military assault on Fallujah had begun. No matter what I wrote in my reply to Abdul, I couldn't shake off the memory of that American who ended up declaring during the Vietnam War: "We must destroy the village in order to save the village." Am I saying we must destroy Fallujah in order to save Fallujah? Is that the liberal-hawk position now? Have we sunk so far, so fast?
Tony Blair, Christopher Hitchens and most other liberal hawks have a firm answer to this anxiety. Look, they say, there are two forces at work here. On one side, you have a town - Fallujah - seized by Sunni militants who rally to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. They speak only for the alienated 20 per cent of the Iraqi population who cannot bear the fact that the "stupid" and "dirty" Shia are about to assume power in a free election. They have imposed sharia law and Sunni supremacy within Fallujah; they bind women in burqas and stone them if they dare to walk the streets unveiled. They stand for the most barbaric and extreme of fundamentalisms and - in their clear public statements - dismiss democracy as a form of prostitution. On the other side, you have the US and Britain who - however imperfectly - are trying to hold a free and open election in just three months. How can anybody who believes in democracy throw up their hands and declare themselves neutral between them?”
Hari, who is a wobbly creature, finally comes down for killing a couple thousand Iraqis in Fallujah. And he has a marvelous metaphysico-cosmological reason to buck up his spirits, which droop, a bit, at the pix of limbless children, rather like Candide’s did in the aftermath of the Lisbon Earthquake:
“And, for me, there's another proviso. I backed this war because I believed most Iraqis would rather take their chances with an American occupation for a while than with Saddam and his sons forever. (This turned out to be right, unless you think that every Iraqi opinion poll has been mysteriously and inexplicably wrong).”
The idea of taking an opinion poll to justify razing a town is something new in the world. We wish we had thought of it!
Christopher Hitchens, who recognizes, when others don’t, that the war in Iraq is a perfect war in which every day perfection is piled on top of perfection, has not, so far as LI’s search has gone, commented yet on the splendors of Fallujah, or – and one can’t expect that this will ever be commented on – the stunning success of the occupation in getting rid of excess Iraqi children. But he did comment on Najaf in a debate a while back with Tariq Ali:
“At any rate, Mr. Sadr has now been isolated, discredited; his forces have been killed in very large numbers, without pity or compunction, I'm glad to say, by American and British forces.”
Like any metaphysico-cosmologico theologian, Hitchens has moments in which his prophetic vision seems to be less than perfect -- especially in consigning Mr. Sadr to oblivion (which means, for Mr. Hitchens, never being on tv again -- imagine! a fate worse than death). However, this is a mere triviality. The main point remains. Gratifyingly, the lack of pity or compunction has spread to all American and British military operations in the Iraqi paradise. Mr. Hitchens must be well pleased. Perhaps on his next tour in Iraq, he could get some souvenir – some tiny torn off hand, some terrorist’s foot – and bring it back with him. Pickled, these things make marvelous conversation pieces for D.C. dinner parties. Won't Sally Quinn be tickled!
Via Jim Henly, where there is a discussion of what “without compunction” means, there is a story in the San Francisco Chronicle that describes how the best of all possible armies is using the best of all possible weapons:
“Some of the heaviest damage apparently was incurred Monday night by air and artillery attacks that coincided with the entry of ground troops into the city. U.S. warplanes dropped eight 2,000-pound bombs on the city overnight, and artillery boomed throughout the night and into the morning.
"Usually we keep the gloves on," said Army Capt. Erik Krivda, of Gaithersburg, Md., the senior officer in charge of the 1st Infantry Division's Task Force 2-2 tactical operations command center. "For this operation, we took the gloves off."
Some artillery guns fired white phosphorous rounds that create a screen of fire that cannot be extinguished with water. Insurgents reported being attacked with a substance that melted their skin, a reaction consistent with white phosphorous burns.
Kamal Hadeethi, a physician at a regional hospital, said, "The corpses of the mujahedeen which we received were burned, and some corpses were melted."
Smells like Saddam’s own way of waging war! Showing that the occupying forces are truly adapting themselves to local customs. As we suggested in another post, surely the U.S. has contracted with the same mass grave diggers to get rid of the detritus that Saddam used. And propagandists suggest that the U.S. is not cooperating with local Iraqi enterprises! Shameful.
Yes, we all have much to be thankful for as we did into our turkeys this Thanksgiving. Oh, for a special treat – try using white phosphorus on the turkey! Yum yum, fries it in minutes! For best results, use a live turkey.