Observations on the world today.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Civil War Schmival War, We Want Gold 

Sadr's Men Hold Iraq Shrine in Defiance of Govt
Fighters loyal to rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr were firmly in control of Najaf's Imam Ali mosque on Saturday, defying efforts by Iraq's U.S.-backed government to end a radical Shi'ite rebellion.
Now, I could be wrong here, but doesn't this basically mean that Iraq is now engaged in a civil war? You have the sovereign Iraqi government demanding that rebels surrender a city which they tenaciously continue to hold onto; yep, that's a civil war alright.

Before the American invasion of Iraq, those of us who opposed it gave as one of our arguments that the only possible outcome was a civil war. We also argued that it would actually increase international terrorism, that we would not be universally greeted as liberators, and that if no WMD were found it would damage our credibility and reputaion in the world.

We were right on all counts. But we failed to note the most significant drawback of all. The one which might have actually gotten a majority of Americans to rethink their support of the invasion, thus staving off the whole thing. We forgot to note that it might potentially cost us Olympic gold.
The war that was supposed to let America swagger and strut in the world is impeding its swagger and strut in the world.

As Selena Roberts wrote in The New York Times on Tuesday, American athletes in Athens are trying so hard to curb their usual chesty, preening, flag-waving behavior, in accordance with the U.S. Olympic Committee's fears about security in an anti-American climate, that it may be dulling the American team's edge.

"It does not reflect well on American culture, but some United States athletes need to pound their chests to get their hearts racing," Roberts writes. "Some need to scowl, stare and pump music into their heads to accompany their defiant strut before the start gun. Somehow, intimidating others is motivating to them."
Now had we warned of this, that would have made America stand up and take notice.


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