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Round Three of CornDancer's
Commentary on the War in Iraq.

Tuesday, April 8, 2003

The Iron Grip Is Loosening.

Quickening Rush
to Regime Change.

Gathering Our Wits about Us.

from the Planet X Think Tank
at Bald Mountain near Rachel, Nevada

EDITOR'S NOTE:  Here appears Round Three of CornDancer's forum on the war in Iraq. It begins with an essay by the scribe of Planet X's fractured Think Tank. Other contributors are Joey Witt, C. Wayne Matthews, Brenda Alexander, Bennett Clubbs, April Guy, Tasker Rodman Alexander, and DeWayne Carroll Davis.

Video dizzied and breaking-news bludgeoned, we're unable to make much sense of the unforgiving, Baghdad-haunted moment. A furious onrush of reports from the front air raids! air raids! air raids! are rattlin' the rafters of the parlors and conference rooms in our desert hideaway, pinning us on harsh winds flat-backed against the plush leather couches, throwin' us stunned onto the stuffed easy chairs.

Finger by finger the regime's stranglehold is being pried from the throat of the Iraqi people, the President of the USA said this morn from a Northern Irish castle. The iron grip is comin' off. His voice grates like fingernails scratchin' on a blackboard. He's just done meetin' the coalition partner behind the moat. They're planning the disposal of spoils.

We've been busy at Planet X, gathering our wits about us in vain preparation for discourse, tossing them on library tables and laptop desktops like so many lumps of wet coal, lumps of wrath and sin, like so many outdated battle plans hurled onto the sand, like so many cannon shells shoved into the breech congealed mental naphtha on the event horizon. Can't think straight, we can't.

Look! Imagery of urban combat flies from the flattened flickering plane of a picture tube. From the ceaseless byted stream we retrieve metaphors without sense or context, wrench them from the burrowing pipes of the main but we have to tell you, we were never let-in on the battle plan.

Tanks, Goats, Artillery, Camels.

"This is very strange," the commentator said. "It's very, very difficult to understand why they haven't blown the bridges behind them." Well, the retired major general opines, you canna turn 'em into guerrilla fighters overnight. They've been taught to tend tanks and artillery pieces, not goats and camels.

"He didn't say that, didn't say nothing about goats or camels," Zoltan Tibor Csaba, the warrior poet, linguist, and paraplegic veteran of a thousand wars, shouted from a corner of Planet X's beleaguered nerve center. "You made it up! You're one shaky spokesman for the cause." What's it to you, Zoltan! What's another round of incoming fire to a shot-up veteran? I deny nothing, admit nothing, waver and wander on the crooked concrete edge of my private entrance into the underground tunnels. I am not a Shiite. The American troops, desert snakes, are stayin' in Baghdad for a second night!

Capitulate. Surrender. Head to other pastures, or stand and be destroyed.

"They hit what they aimed at," the intelligence officer proclaims.

Battles are won, but victory is not achieved. It's hit and run at the moment.

Splashing in the Tigris.

The journalists are whining 'cause some of 'em are dyin' on the battlefield. Look at that one, the rocketed man. He explodes before our naked eyes. We see body parts splash into the Tigris. Marines in amphibious vehicles plunge into the channel.

"Three foreign journalists were killed by American fire during the day," the British Broadcasting Corporation's newsreader announced. "This coalition does not target journalists," the one-star general of the coalition forces proclaims. "They targeted us intentionally," the chief of Al Jazeera news accused. "They are reckless and ill-disciplined," the General Secretary of the International Federations of Journalists complained about the USA fighting force. He's a jealous bloke because he's not embedded.

The half-life of current issue in the quickening rush to regime change is measured in hours now. The stallion in the lead fades quickly, and another races to the front, and the equestrian statue of Saddam Hussein on the parade ground of the despicable and cowardly Special Republic Guard is blown to smithereens by a blast from the lead tank of the Third Infantry, live and pixilated on international TV. Too bad the horse had to perish.

Drive a Stake into His Heart.

He's gotta be dead, he's gotta be dead, he's gotta be dead for the war to be over he's gotta he's gotta he's gotta be dead. The people of Baghdad see Saddam as some kind of vampire, risin' again and again from the tomb they won't believe he's dead until we drag him into the hundred-degree sunshine of the public square and drive a stake through his black heart. That's what I heard somebody in the know say.

We are the spectator, and not resolute, not staunchly.

Watching from the safety of distance, not forced to act and then act again, we are not tenacious and purposeful in the sense that the participant is tenacious and resolute. By force of isolation and put-upon compassion, we waver from the commitment to see it through to the end. At peace in a desert compound dedicated to ideas, we accept our irrelevance to the far away campaign and its outcomes. We wonder, and wonder why: Why do we cling to it?

We ask one another: Is it worth it, this miserable act of filling the space between the bookends of its with a library of answers waiting to be recorded and written down? The first it, the principal subject, is the war in Iraq. The last it is the sum of outcomes, the consensus, a point of union at which every singular thing that has happened arrives at one identifiable conclusion. Yes, it's choppy, difficult language fallin' on dis page. What's next? When will it end? How much more will it cost?

Be Silent
until the Ceasefire Is Won.

With the capture of the Saddam Hussein International Airport by combat forces of the USA, we accept the inevitable triumph, and move toward the other side of euphoria. No respite there, either. It is equally chaotic, but the necessary alternative location, from whence we must prepare a clandestine case for renewed opposition. We must map our return to the foolish necessity of dissent.

For the time being, however, our preparations must adhere to the vow of silence until the ceasefire is won. We refuse the ignoble stance of blatant disloyalty. Combat infantrymen are engaged as we speak in battle against hostile remnants of fallen armies. Shut up already.

"You've wit enough to write now," Georgia Mule, wise old crane and threadspinner, said with a grin when I slammed the first image onto the top of the page. I doubted it, still do, but a deadline had thundered onto the scene. Something had to be done. We've already fallen behind. I'll not be fired by the impatient commander of the corps for moving too slowly toward the prize. More CornDancers have dutifully answered the call to engage the issues roused by the war. Here are their commentaries.

A Case Against
Mr. Bush's War Plan.

Joey Witt
is a senior at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. He is the drummer for The Anonymous C Sharp, a rock' n roll band. His undergraduate major is religion and philosophy. He is a frequent volunteer for the Heifer Project. Mr. Witt is a citizen of the USA.

It seems to me that the Bush administration has two main reasons for conducting this war with Iraq.

First, Saddam has consistently fought the UN's efforts for disarmament. Evidence exists (or evidence to the contrary does not exist) that he still has biological and chemical weapons. Since September 11, 2001, we have been in a kind of war with certain terrorist groups that have proven their willingness to use the most horrible means to defeat anyone associated with their perceived aggressor (i.e., the USA). As an unstable individual who refuses to participate in peaceful negotiations, Saddam could possibly sell these weapons to other terrorist organizations, or use them himself against us or our friends. Therefore, Saddam must be forcibly disarmed.

Second, in 1988 Saddam used chemical weapons against the rebelling Kurds of the north during the Iran-Iraq War. He is a horrible person, an oppressive dictator, and a criminal. Therefore it is our duty as a free nation (and the duty of all other free nations) to remove Saddam and free the innocent and long-suffering Iraqi people.

These are the most powerful ways I can put these arguments, and I'm sure most everybody is now familiar with them.

Yes, Saddam could sell his weapons to terrorists, but this scenario imagines some unified network of Islamic conspiracy against the West that might not be so clearly-cut. Saddam runs a Sunni Muslim government; the terrorists which we fight are among the most radical form of Shi'ite Muslims. Shi'ites do not really like Saddam. When we supported Saddam (and when we condoned his use of chemical weapons against the Kurds) he was fighting the predominantly Shi'ite Iran our enemy at the time. He committed his criminal act against the Kurds because they sided with Iran to overthrow his regime, not just because he's a mean guy and thought it might be cool to do.

So, are there people out there who want to destroy America and all associated with it? Yes. Are these people a real and immanent threat to us? Yes. However, Mr. Bush's argument assumes that the entire Muslim world is uniting against the U.S., kind of implying that one Muslim is just like another, which is just not the case. The argument is also subject to the slippery slope: If we remove Saddam's weapons to keep them out of terrorists' hands, then whose are next? North Korea's? Pakistan's? France's? Our own?

Of course the world would be better off without any nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, but Mr. Bush faces a long and bloody fight if he seeks to remove them all through war. Peaceful negotiations, though long and often frustrating, and cooperation are the only real and permanent ways to remove the threat to humanity caused by weapons of mass destruction.

Secondly, Saddam is a criminal who has committed crimes against humanity and should be tried for them. Most everyone I know would agree with this. Amnesty International has been saying it for years.

Our freedom requires certain duties, such as the duty to protect the freedoms of others (like the Iraqi people). To really free the Iraqi people and make Saddam accountable for his crimes, it seems to me that some action must be done. Action is not necessarily war perhaps those in power are just uncreative and would rather fall back on the old plan, rather than think up a new non-violent or less-violent way of dealing with the situation.

Tied to this notion of freeing the Iraqi people, though, is this whole talk of "regime change." Supposedly, Mr. Bush wants to establish a way for Iraqis to form their own representative, democratic government. It seems to me, though, that Mr. Bush is really falling into America's old habit of nation building, where we will give the Iraqis freedom freedom to do what we like them to do.

America does not have a good record with nation building. We tend to support harsh individuals who give in easily to American business interests, but who are very cruel to their people, resulting in further revolution and anti-American sentiment.

If we really want peace, then building a peaceful nation to our specifications is not the way to do it. If Saddam goes, and Iraq has its first real election in a long time, and a person running on a platform of "I hate America, let's close our country to its corporations" wins, would the Bush administration really support it? It does not seem likely. The free Iraq envisioned by U.S. planners more likely involves the first McDonalds in Baghdad and a new supplier of cheap oil so Americans may continue to not pay the full price for fuel for a few more years.

In conclusion, I agree that Saddam must in some way be held accountable for his crimes. (I do not believe he should be killed, but that is another issue.) However, I believe that Mr. Bush has entered this war with some faulty arguments and with rather shady and undemocratic motives. But, here we are, at war, with people really dying out there, and the end still lingering in the sand storm on the horizon.

We should let our troops know that we respect them, that they are very brave, and that we all wish them a safe and quick return home to their families; but we should also let Mr. Bush and his administration know that we won't allow him to conduct this violence in our names and put our friends and relatives in harm's way, to die for him in a foreign land. That is, of course, unless you disagree with everything that I have said, which many people do.

Pride and Patriotism,
Disgust and Anger.

C. Wayne Matthews,
a provocative and often irreverent thinker, values a well-told joke almost as much as he values public service. Retired for eight years now, he was ten times elected Prosecuting Attorney in the Eleventh Judicial District of Arkansas. He served his nation as a soldier in the Viet Nam war. Mr. Matthews is a citizen of the USA.

Although I am not able to "wax eloquent" like the other contributors, I do have a couple of things I wish to say.

As the war in Iraq enters its third week, I find myself having a variety of emotions throughout each day. I am filled with pride and patriotism when I see the reports on the amazing performance of our brave, young fighting men and women. I am also proud of the leadership of our country, both political and military. At the same time, I am filled with disgust and anger at the behavior of some of the citizens of our country, especially some of those in the media.

The negative reporting and the pandering to the enemy make my blood pressure rise. Some of the left-wingers in the media are so anti-Bush, and anti-government, they have become anti-American. I just hope that when this is all over these people pay some sort of retribution.

Also, the idiots who break the law and commit violence in the name of peace should also have to pay a price. By breaking the law, they take away from their duties the police who are needed to protect the law-abiding citizens. More seriously now, when we are under constant threats of terrorism.

Another group that sickens me is the one consisting of the Tom Daschles, Charlie Rankles and other politicians who put party politics above the safety of our nation and the morale of our troops. Not only should they pay some sort of penalty, but also so should those who enable them to remain in public office.

The next group that should be held accountable is the so-called celebrities. These ultra liberals feel they have an obligation to shoot their mouths off regardless of the fact that they have no basis in fact for many of their outrageous statements. Then, they whine when anyone suggests that someone might not go to a movie, watch a TV show or buy a record because of what they said and how they behaved.

Every one of these groups say that they have the right to do and say these things under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. What I believe is that they fail to see that the right to do something is not an obligation to do it, and that rights afforded by our laws can be abused. Freedom of the press means the media can express whatever opinion they wish, but that right comes with a duty to tell the truth in reporting news and to not tailor the news to fit their opinion.

Likewise, citizens have the right to protest and dissent, but not to the extent that violates the law, causes destruction of private property and disruption of the lawful activities of others.

I believe that in a time of war, our politicians owe their allegiance to their country, not to political parties and ideologies.

Just as celebrities have the right to speak their minds, I have the right to hold them in personal disdain and to refrain from going to their movies, watching their TV shows or concerts, and buying their recordings.

United We Stand!
God Bless America!

Brenda Alexander,
sweet guiding spirit of the remote Mississippi River island of Brandywine, manages a hunting lodge in a private preserve of abundant flora and fauna. A registered nurse and former hospital administrator, she is an unabashed patriot. Mrs. Brenda is a citizen of the USA.

Private Jessica Lynch, P.O.W., rescued and ALIVE! What a miracle an uplifting story that I felt we all needed. I pray that all the other P.O.W.'s and M.I.A.'s are found alive. I pray the war is over soon.

I feel like the war will be over soon. The Iraqi citizens are starting to trust us a little and will help point out the "Bad Guys" as soon as they feel safe from them. You can see the excitement and trust in the children's eyes.

I had mentioned in my first commentary that my cousin Tyler was in Fort Hood, Texas. His assignment stated that his group would go to Iraq in the postwar. He received notice that he would be leaving in two weeks.

I am not for war. No one is for war, but I sure am sick of Michael Moore and his small group of celebrities, and sick of all the peace protesters, too. I feel like they are insulting our loyal soldiers. An insult to our President Bush is a direct insult to our military, too. As we always say: United we stand! God bless America!

A Decent Man Helps a POW.

Bennett Clubbs,
author of CornDancer's Darbo Brief, scours the newspapers and magazines of the planet to find news stories, features, and commentary to share with visitors to his universe of cyberlinks. He is a veteran of the United States Navy and a retired railroad man with the old Cotton Belt line. He is a citizen of the USA.

The rescue of Private First Class Jessica Lynch from a hospital in Nasiriya was the first successful rescue of an American POW since World War Two. It happened because a decent man, an Iraqi, risked his life to tell U.S. troops where she was being held. He witnessed a Fedayeen agent (thug) beating her as she lay in her hospital bed. He and his wife and child are now protected by U.S. forces. U.S. troops call him a hero. I think all of us here at home should agree.

Crushed and Saddened
by the Stinging Reality of War.

April Guy
wears many hats these days. Student, mother, traveler, and NASCAR race fan, she has a special affinity for Europe and the German language. She is a citizen of the USA.

My feelings on war.... Well, it stinks. Saddam stinks more.

The press likes to focus attention on some imaginary idea that people are either pro-war or anti-war. Ridiculous notion. Of course, I prefer peace. Ignorance states it as an either/or alternative.

Then there are the wannabe-protestors, apparently comprised mostly of folks who don't want anyone to forget that they didn't vote for President Bush. They offer such brilliant bits of prose like "Buck Fush!" It'd be refreshing to hear actual conviction for a true alternative, rather than just the "I hate Bush" barbs repeated ad infinitum.

I hope one of the protestors will run for election. I'd love to hear their plans for protecting America. Please make it be something other than the bombing of a single pharmacy plant. I already know how well that works.

I do not want anyone to die, whether they be American, Iraqi, or any other nationality. I am crushed and saddened by the stinging reality. However, it wasn't my decision for Saddam to kill and maim to get his way. It wasn't my decision for Saddam to use chemical weapons. It wasn't my decision for Saddam to cheer on the terrorists and celebrate the attack on my country as "the operation of the century." It wasn't my decision for Saddam to threaten my children by his crazed ideals.

Saddam made his own bed.

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."    John Stuart Mill

A Fight against Terrorism and Evil.

Tasker Rodman Alexander,
a professional hunter and game management guru, has taken world-class trophy deer and turkey in his private preserve in the backwater wilds of the Mississippi River delta north of Memphis, Tennessee. A master story teller and scratch golfer, Mr. Alexander is a citizen of the USA.

After Nine Eleven the world changed for everybody. Everyone realized we could be hit by terrorists or evil nations that can attack and deliver weapons of mass destruction. President Bush called to the world and asked all nations to help fight terrorism and evil nations that possess weapons of mass destruction.

Our President told the world that either you are for us or against us. I believe that all the nations that came and helped us fight terrorism in the past should not sit on their hands and do nothing now.

I support the war and our troops, and support the fight against the terrorists and nations that provide weapons of mass destruction around the world.

In the Name of Democracy
(and Petroleum Resources).

DeWayne Carroll Davis
is an adventurer, raconteur, and world traveler, who settled in the lonely desert town of Rachel, Nevada, a few years ago. His hacienda is not too far distant from the Planet X compound. A former United States Marine and U.S. Air Force navigator, Mr. Davis is a few moons shy of turning seventy. He is a citizen of the USA.

By destroying the dictatorship in Iraq, we will have created a leadership vacuum. It's political fact that dictators, either religious or military, tend to destroy would-be and could-be leaders to ensure their own survival. When the dictator is forced out, no one with ability is left behind to replace him. Only the yes-men remain, and a vacuum ensues. A leaderless mob too often follows. Post-revolution France is a prime example.

The advisors to our President, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristal, and others behind the scenes, don't seem to have looked all too deeply into the issues raised by a leadership vacuum in Iraq. Do they expect our military leaders to fill the leadership void for a generation or so? Do they expect the Arab world and the Muslim realm to sit idly by while inflatable fiat paper money is traded to the Iraqi people for their petroleum resources? Have you noticed that USA's fiat paper money bears the Rothschild coat of arms? Will that same watermark be imprinted on the new Iraqi currency?

Wars in the last century usually were concerned in one way or another with petroleum resources. Claims that this Iraq thing is only about weapons of mass destruction, WMDs (CBR we called it back in the Fifties), has me somewhat confused.

The Afghanistan war was about women's rights, and I think that's fine. Gaining control of real estate for natural gas pipelines was just a secondary benefit.

On second thought: Maybe there is a secondary strategic resources benefit to this Iraqi dispute. Could there possibly be a secondary benefit to British Petroleum and its minions like Zapata Oil, or is it only about finding those gas masks, and re-establishing democracy like Babylon enjoyed for over ten millennia until Saddam Hussein corrupted Babylonian history by establishing the great land's first dictatorship? Naw, cain't be. Nobody, but nobody, would invade a sovereign nation in this Twenty-First Century by reason of that old messy black stuff, even as a secondary motive for war.

The history books will certainly clarify these issues. Future college freshmen and sophomores will be directed to a proper understanding of wars in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries: establishment of democracies (not republics) and protection of those democracies against tyrants who, all by themselves, produced WMDs.

Bonus Commentary:

To Draw a Circle of Peace by Freddie Elizabeth Bowles.

Stolen Freedoms: Terrorism Intrudes on Personal Moments by Major Joseph Dempsey.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Some submissions were edited to conform to minor style rules established for the website by CornDancer's benign overseers and atavistic patrons. The edits in no way altered the tone, style, message, content, or spirit of the contributions.

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