Sunday, January 19, 2003

Body Count

The issue of how many people showed up at the anti-war rally in DC shows an amazing range. From a low of 30,000 at one end of a police estimate to half a million if you buy the estimate of the Stalinists of International ANSWER who organized the rally.

Much like the estimates of civilian casualties caused inadvertently by the US in Iraq or in Afghanistan, I'm sure the 500,000 estimate is way too high. Not that even this high number outweighs the support nationwide for invasion as shown in polls and Congress and the November elections.

More to the point, who cares? A lot of people who ranged from patriotic but anti-war to anti-Bush to anti-American marched about. They feel grand. Saddam said it showed international support for defending his regime. And they have exactly zero impact on our decisions. This is not a country based on rule of mob after all. The protesters, in their inflated sense of self importance, have an annoying habit of asserting that failure to heed their silly slogans shouted with earnest voices to the beat of bongos is proof we are not a democracy. Shouting the loudest may get you on the news but it won't get the shouters anywhere this time.

Nor does the body count in the UN Security Council matter. It is unfortunate that right now, we'd have trouble getting a vote even if we want one. One reason I wanted action by the end of last year was to preserve the 15-0 vote we got on 1441. Now we are in the position of lobbying new members on the council. Of course, we haven't begun leaning on anybody. Nor do I think we will even need a vote after we present our case. Make it known privately that if we go alone with our allies, only those that fought with us will get a chance at oil contracts and arms contracts and all the civilian infrastructure contracts that will follow the war.

And we must go soon. Yes, I know, we could fight in the heat of summer if we had to but we would suffer far more casualties doing so. I've marched in those suits in the heat of a drought June in Missouri. And only for an hour or so. Just that made me sweat so much and I wasn't carrying the load our soldiers would have to carry. Nor was I even paying attention to my surroundings. I just plodded ahead in misery. I could have marched into a POW cage and never noticed it. Even if I was alert, it is difficult to see and hear in that junk. We need to go before the weather gets too hot. If we wait, we'll lose many to heat stroke and many to mines and the enemy because our troops won't be aware enough to avoid simple mistakes. We will also lose more because the pace of the attack will slow dramatically, providing the Iraqis with more time to cope. All that even if few die from actual gas. What is theoretically possible and what is wise are two different things. And given the erosion that has taken place in international support, will it get better? No. We can't buy the line that inspectors are supposed to find what the Iraqis will not disclose. We've lost that game for 12 years now and won't get any better. And if you think people won't then claim that war is best left until after the '04 elections you weren't paying attention in '02. I reluctantly supported going the UN route. Powell never worried me the way he has worried so many pro-war writers. Note that Powell has been the one saying Iraq is in material breach. He needs to deliver international support now. Having strongly argued for the UN road, he needs to carry out his end of the bargain.

The bottom line is that it would be an outrage to stand down now. On to Baghdad and soon. The Euro-weenies won't get a backbone anytime soon. And the Stalinists who organize protests over here will never be convinced that war is right-or even that America isn't the guilty party.

Go! Go! Go!