Monday, October 01, 2007

It's Ramadan around the world, the Muslim holy month. Muslims fast and pray during the day and break their fast after sundown. They do that everywhere from Edmonton to Shiraz St. in Alabaster, Alabama and anywhere Muslims are in between. That includes the 'front lines' - Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan, Mali, the Philippines - places where Muslims are actually at war about something.

They claim they're fighting 'crusader aggression'. The opposition - the 'freedom loving' countries of the world, claim they're fighting the first stages of a war of world domination. First, Muslims want to crush the State of Israel and then the rest of the Christian, and other, worlds.

Who's being aggressive? The 'Muslims', particularly a small fringe group of 'radical' muslims attacked the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on September 11th, 2001. There has been muslim aggression since, and there was some before, but 11/09/01 is a watershed moment.

After 9/11 the way was clear to ramp-up freedom-loving aggression like it hadn't been ramped-up for 5 years since Desert Storm - the 'mother of all battles'. There was the up-graded embargo that hurt every Iraqi but Saddam Hussein, kids mostly; there was the military build-up; the PR exercises at the UN; then 'Shock and Awe' and the romp to Baghdad. After that was a, I think deliberate, 'looking the other way' as civil order in Iraq disappeared. It suited the purpose of 'democracy' to rebuild from the ground up. It's just that the 'democrats' didn't see the truck that hit them coming.

The aggression has continued and escalated. The 'peaceable', reformed Iraq has yet to appear. The 'democrats' think that just a little more killing is going to do it, that one day the Iraqis will give in to inevitability and westerners will be able to stroll downtown Baghdad with a bellyful of daiquiris after dinner. For the foreseeable future that's far from inevitable.

Last month General Petraeus made his report that the 'surge' was taking effect. This was to be expected as he was given his position with this end in mind. Self-criticism might happen, but certainly not in front of a Senate committee. To an extent Petraeus is right, violence does seem reduced, American casualties are in decline and then Ramadan. Unlike last year, this years' Ramadan seems to be relatively peaceful. Whether it was intentional or not, the BBC stopped carrying a weekly 'surge report' of five or six basic comparisons from week to week of the surge, this after two weeks of notable improvement. That has been replaced by the 'body count'.

Started in Afghanistan three months back, the coalition forces began to report numbers of insurgents killed in operations. It must have seemed such a good idea that it has been emulated in Iraq. Someone has forgotten that, thirty years ago, all the statistics and numbers pointed toward victory in Vietnam. The enemy was beaten wherever he showed up. And yet, somehow, that war was lost. Probably when the public started to wonder about the reported success and the evident failure. Scoring the dead is a slippery slope. Particularly during Ramadan. Bragging to the media that the surge is working could be asking for a riposte.

The mentality behind this war continues undiminished. President Bush needs another 190 billions to prosecute his war. At the same time the USA, number one in arms sales with a bullet - is preparing to arm its friends in the middle east. If you happened to be a non-friend you might be sending some weapons buyers to see the world's 'we try-harder' arms dealer, Russia. Iran, trying to get a nuclear plant working, is the world bogey-man while the North Koreans who actually built and detonated a bomb are now the recipients of American largesse, if they promise to 'forget how they did it'. Speaking of largesse, Hamid Karzai says he's willing to talk peace to the Taliban and America offers $200 000 a head for their leadership - 'dead or alive'.

Somebody , a graduate of the LBJ Academy for the Wise Application of The Buck, forgot the part about how, although everybody likes it, some people won't take it and it makes others very unhealthy. Reminiscent of the SNL parody about H. Ross Perot's money and 'squealing like a pig' for 50 bucks.

If it isn't over , the month after Ramadan could be a 'doozie'.