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In a move as immoral as it was unnecessary, a small cabal of men who illegally seized the U.S. presidency three short years ago have ignited Baghdad – and very possibly the world – in attacks that are even now scattering embers throughout the dry tinder of an outraged Arab world.
Before commencing a bombardment meant to match Hiroshima in its destruction and ferocity, NBC reported that talks had "intensified" between the US Central Command and individual Iraqi military units over their capitulation. Even as a "senior Iraqi official" was reported willing to negotiate the surrender of the regime, Reichmarshall Donald Rumsfeld told reporters it was possible the United States "has not been sufficiently persuasive" in precipitating instant mass surrender.
More missiles struck Baghdad within minutes of his remarks.
"BAGHDAD IS BURNING"
The Globe and Mail reports a "barrage of mighty explosives" struck nighttime Baghdad, "sending enormous fireballs and clouds of smoke billowing high into the night sky above the Iraqi capital." Many buildings were reported ablaze in this city of five million people, as cruise missiles as robotic as their perpetrators roared down boulevards before exploding in fireballs. Ensuring certain cancer for tens of thousands of residents and invaders alike, the radioactive depleted uranium dispersed in these blasts will remain lethal for millions of years to come.
At least three fires are now raging in Saddam Hussein's sprawling Old Palace compound on the west side of the Tigris River, where the offices of the prime minister's staff and the Iraqi cabinet were located. West of the palace, the main intelligence center and headquarters of the ruling Baath party were also destroyed.
The first wave of hundreds of depleted-uranium-tipped cruise missiles was accompanied by heavy bombing from waves of warplanes whose cost could have rehabilitated the country they are destroying. As explosions reverberated in the background, Iraqi defence minister Lt.-Gen. Sultan Hashim Ahmed reported the southern cities of Basra and Nassiriya were also being struck. In the north, Al-Jazeera reported large booms and flashes of light from the direction of Dohuk, Kirkuk and the Mosul-Syrian border highways.
"Baghdad is burning," said a correspondent for the satellite TV network known as the Arab CNN. "What more can we say?"
Though there are as yet no confirmed reports of civilian casualties, the toll of dead and injured is expected to be heavy. Though touted as a "smart weapon," US military experts say waves of cruise missiles must be launched at a single target because of a 60% chance of missing their objectives. "If they land in the right country," joked one official, "the manufacturer gets paid."
According to Canada's national newspaper, a senior U.S. official said the bombardment "might not be as intense as originally planned because surrender talks were continuing with senior Iraqi officials. The official said if the negotiations faltered in the coming hours, the bombing would go full-throttle."
But Rumsfeld has contradicted this report, saying that the full onslaught of Washington's obscene "shock and awe" campaign will now take place. Among the targets to be eliminated are military concentrations within urban centers, as well as phones, electricity, sanitation and similar civilian infrastructure essential to the survival of many millions of Iraqi families – already hard hit by the withdrawal of UN food aid, which supplies more than half of Iraq's daily nutritional needs.
Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has confirmed that "a massive air campaign throughout Iraq" has been launched. Hundreds of targets will be hit in its first hours, he added. Follow-up bombardments of defenseless population centers are expected over the next two nights and possibly beyond.
So far, between seven and a dozen oil wells are also said to be burning. Allied troops have reportedly seizing control of the oil fields in southern and northern Iraq.
What will the man with a trademark smirk tell the world now? With a shattered Iraq on the verge of surrender, this fresh atrocity will take its radioactive place beside the original Hiroshima as one of the most vicious war crimes ever perpetrated on a civilian population.
Intended to intimidate the rest of the world into stunned compliance with the cynical aims of American conquest that extend far beyond Iraq, a chain-reaction could ignite a much different response from terrorist organizations smaller but no less bloodthirsty than the White House. Even more risky are the reactions of Iran, Syria and North Korea, who fully understand that a similar fate will soon be visited upon them.
In blowing up Baghdad, America has declared war on the world. Within the next few hours and days, as a tightly networked global community takes again to the streets, angry demonstrations could turn bloody as provocateurs and police move to crush dissent.
PEACE = SEDITION
According to former government insider, Al Martin, under a longstanding "Seditious Publications Act" given fresh interpretation and powers by the Office of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act, anyone promoting peace in the United States can be arrested for "publishing" materials deemed hostile to the security of a state at war. This "publication" ban includes the word "peace" printed on t-shirts, placards or a posters. With such arrests already reported, the Bush junta has signaled to every Americans that the fascist gloves of interlocking government and corporate control are off.
And in this senseless butchery of Baghdad, a self-described land of "freedom and democracy" has revealed itself to the world as a greedy, self-obsessed, ignorant and callous nation of mass murderers.
This isn't accurate, of course. Or fair to the millions of compassionate and conscious Americans who have repeatedly taken to the streets, and Congress in attempts to stop the madness now underway. In an act of courage, hope and redemption already ringing out worldwide, a dozen Europeans and American continue to keep the power on in Baghdad by standing as "human shields" around the main power plant.
But this will not be the legacy Bush leaves to the nation he hijacked and betrayed.
Many horror-struck Americans, including the truckers who parked their rigs across San Francisco's main arterials yesterday and simply walked away, sense that an "oilgarchy's" act of ultimate weakness and desperation has sealed the fate of their morally and financially bankrupt nation. The only question remaining is how many more cities will be destroyed and innocent lives lost before a flag-waving nightmare called the United States passes from the world stage.
In the stark barbarity of the past few hours, everyone aware of the almost biblical sacrifice of Baghdad clearly understands that we must respond massively, creatively and nonviolently in restraining this emergent American Reich. Before a sick punk named Bush destroys us all.
William Thomas is the author of Bringing The War Home, Chemtrails Confirmed and All Fall Down: The Politics of Terror and Mass Persuasion. Please click here for more witing by William Thomas. Copyright W. Thomas 2003. For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .
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