The lengths to which people will go to avoid admitting they were perhaps mistaken can be truly astonishing: I remember novelist Alice Walker raving hysterically about the "500,000 dead Iraqi children" that would result from this war. Knock off four zeros for margin of error and you were right on Alice.
- Hundreds of thousands of opponents of the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq held new anti-war protests across Europe and the Americas, arguing that the regime's collapse was no reason to let up the pressure. [AFP]
Since that "pressure" was so efficacious and all, and even though the war was over in a month, with fewer than a thousand civilian casualties, and toddlers were released from dungeons, and the Iraqi people are dancing in the streets, beating effigies of Saddam with their shoes ("that's an insult for these people, you know"), destroying the symbols of three decades of oppression (and snagging some peanut butter for the kids): "let's keep up the pressure."
Yes, it isn't only the Arab world that is prone to failure-assuaging fantasy: those who feel they accomplished something positive with their anti-war fulminations now must CARRY ON THE FIGHT or look and feel like total idiots.
- "This is not about liberation, it's about the occupation of Iraq and the plundering of its natural resources," said Dustin Langley, a volunteer with the protest's sponsor, Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, or ANSWER.
"We're calling to stop this series of endless wars, to stop this occupation of Iraq and the Middle East," he said, adding that the "axis of evil" fingered by US President George W. Bush more than a year ago was no more than a "list of targets."
- if the Second Iraqi war ends merely in yet another instance of Arab failure, then there is a grave fear that such failure will in fact breed even more fantasy.
And this is precisely why the Bush administration must be permitted to follow through on the second part of its program-namely, the reconstruction of Iraq. For the administration understands perfectly well that the only cure for the Arab mind's penchant for fantasy is to provide it with a real and genuine achievement-and what greater achievement could there be then an Iraq that was free and stable and prosperous?