Waiting for Dubya and his Texas cronies to decide whether to hit Iraq is like waiting for Christ. It's so goddamn slow, and you start kinda doubting it's gonna happen at all. American tv reminds me of Sunday school teachers talking about the coming of Christ, with all the little reporters trying to get themselves shown with a mike in front of an F-16 taking off, asking, "When will the invasion come -- if it comes at all?"
Burning oil and dying birds: all the Iraqi army is good for.
Nice question. How about this: "Just how dumb are those Texans, anyway?" The Iraq question depends on how you answer that one. If they're really as dumb as they seem to be, they'll do it.
That's where it's an advantage living in Fresno. When you live in a place like this, you see what real people, good country people, are like. Like, really stupid. Stupider than you could possibly imagine.
Right now, the papers and TV in Fresno are jabbering about the local semi-pro team. It's losing money. They can't handle that. On the other hand...it's a baseball team. And for them, "Duh...baseball GOOD!" So these fat idiot Christians are in a logical bind like the kind Captain Kirk used to use on alien computers. And there's smoke coming out of their little ears, because they can't figure out what to do.
Today the Fresno Republican printed a little poem about baseball, something about:
When the ball is struck, the boy
Advances to first base with joy.
See, you read things like that over breakfast at Mickey D's every morning and it's real, real easy to understand why they're probably going to invade Iraq. It's because they're stupid.
The Pentagon has been leaking invasion plans all over for a month. The latest has 250,000 troops attacking, most of them from Kuwait, heading north straight for Baghdad, with elements of the 82nd or 101st landing nearer Baghdad to interrupt reinforcement. The CIA paramilitaries (you know, guys like Johnny Spann who got himself killed in Mazar) will 'chute in to take out SCUD sites and disable chemical or nuke sites. Meanwhile US air attack squadrons will be hitting the Iraqi Army from the North and West, from bases in eight countries, will be blasting anything that moves.
The attack sounds like a by-the-book Gulf War standard plan, with the B-2s and F-117s going in early to hit the SAM sites and AD guns, followed by F-15Es and F-16s, maybe mixed with a few British MRCAs targeting the biggest military and CCC sites, then hundreds of ALCMs for the slower, softer targets. That part won't be hard. We shouldn't lose a single plane, in fact -- not with the Predator RPV to go in over high-risk targets. Now that we've got the RPVs, we don't really have to risk the life of a single pilot.
What's much hairier than the purely military aspect is the issue of where the planes take off from. They say the planes will be based in these eight countries, including Turkey and Qatar. I'm not so sure of that. Turkey, probably, but Qatar? I'm not sure the Emirates are going to be in the mood to help the US again against Iraq.
In fact, that's my reaction to the whole idea of a second invasion of Iraq: you can't pull off that kind of thing twice, especially when Iraq isn't threatening anybody right now. The Emirs of the Gulf are not that bright, but they're not totally stupid either. They rule very shaky little kingdoms where most of the labor is Pakistani and most of the technicians are Palestinians. The locals don't do much but sit around collecting oil royalties. They don't want anything that's going to upset their mercenaries, because the Pakis and Palestinians between them could probably boot the Emirs right out of their palaces.
The first time around, in Bush Sr.'s Gulf War, they stood up to the line when called because one of their own, the Emir of Kuwait, who was the biggest of them all had been overthrown. But Saddam learned from that. He's not going to try to grab Qatar or any other emirate. So why should the Emirs risk their real shaky hold on power just to please Bush Jr.? They know the difference between the dad and the son. Bush Sr. was head of the CIA, man -- he was a serious person. Bush Jr. is like the Second Coming as comedy. He isn't somebody you have to take seriously.