Along the Tracks

Wednesday, March 19, 2003


Late, late postings after a late, late - and largely sleepless - night, followed by an early, early morning ... enough already. At least I’m not trying to sleep on sand. God bless our troops!

Tonight’s the night

I would be shocked and awed more than a Republican Guard foot soldier if the war does not start tonight at approximately 8:01 p.m. (that’s 4 a.m. Thursday, Baghdad time, if I’m not mistaken - okay, 4:01). The only dirt in the ointment is actually sand - a giant sandstorm sweep Kuwait and southern Iraq right now. Helicopters have been grounded, and they’ll be in front of any ground action. However, bombing will precede the choppers and hoofers for at least a while, probably a day or two, so I don’t believe the weather will be a factor in timing the start of the war - only the next phase. Reports from London indicate some shooting has already begun around the port city of Basra as special ops from the U.S. and U.K. prep the landing zone for an amphibious assault. That kind of thing doesn’t occur very long before the assault itself. The Marines may be in Basra tonight.

Operation Iraqi Freedom

I like the name chosen for this military operation. It makes our goal clear, and it sounds exactly like what it is: the sequel to Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. In fact, although historians are likely to put this and Afghanistan (and, God forbid, whatever is next) under the War on Terrorism umbrella, I kind of like the idea of calling these the Freedom Wars.

Think about it. Terrorism is a state-supported form of war. Those states are invariably unfree, authoritarian. Other countries “build” and “supply” these “weapons” - the terrorists - to groups aligned and directly supported with the terror states. How do countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt “build” terrorists? Through oppression - the lack of freedom. It’s not about poverty, it’s not about Israel, it’s not even about Islam. It’s about the lack of basic liberties. To win, truly win, the war on terrorism, we must bring freedom and individual rights to that part of the world. It need not always require forceful regime change, but it will require change. Thus, freedom is the central core of our efforts, and the measuring stick of success.

Scruffy, ponytailed TV star

Well, star might be a stretch ... nevertheless, I thought I should let all who find some value in rummaging through the issues with me that I will appear on WBGU-TV’s “The Journal” tomorrow (Thursday) night at 10. That’s Channel 27 for dark-age types like myself who have antenna reception. Otherwise, check you local cable listings.

On the program, I will defend American policy toward Iraq, facing off with Mike Ferner. Mr. Ferner is a devoted peace activist, as well as being a former Toledo city councilman and mayoral candidate. He recently visited Iraq for about a month (he does not like the term “human shield,” from what I’ve read), and has been a local organizer of protests. He was apparently among the protesters arrested Monday night in Toledo when they blocked entrance to a military recruiting office.

Hope you’ll tune in.

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