Well, I'm very much encouraged by the advances the Americans... starting with the taking of Saddam International Airport last week. I was very much surprised to see that it does look very much like a modern airport, yellow signs and all... I heard it was built a decade or so ago, but pretty much nothing used it except for humanitarian flights, since nothing else could take off and land. So I guess working at the check-in desk or at the concessions stand must be the easiest job in the world, one than even I (really, really lazy and a terrible procrastinator) could do. There was also this picture on the front cover of the National Post on Saturday with commandos storming a first-class lounge (outside), and the grounds are lush and green, with tonnes of palm trees... how much water is diverted there for irrigation, I wonder? Probably diverted from the marshes. And it was just so funny seeing that information minister saying that the Americans hadn't taken the airport. I could understand him saying that in Arabic, for domestic consumption, but then why repeat it in English? You know we're just going to see live reports from the tarmac right after you're finished lying.
Mark Steyn has another, as always hilarious, piece in today's National Post about just how wrong the doomsayers in the media were about this being a "quagmire" and another Vietnam. He chides Robert Fisk for believing the information minister that the Americans hadn't taken Saddam International and assuming that the Americans had found the old, deserted Habbaniyeh RAF base and mistook it for Saddam International, because, apparently, Fisk forgets that Americans have, you know, satellites with resolutions of less than one meter and GPS and stuff... even I carry around a GPS device most of the time (just for the fun of knowing exactly how far I am from various places; not that I'm about to get lost in Montreal... I'm not Ryoga Hibiki!).
And here's Steyn about the prospects of Baghdad becoming the new "Stalingrad":
Here is the man introduced by Peter Mansbridge as "military analyst Eric Margolis," speaking on the CBC the other day:
"The war is not going as well as the U.S. had planned. In fact, it's not going very well at all in that respect. And what I think happened is that the Bush White House failed to listen to the warnings of its generals and professional military men and instead listened to the overly optimistic predictions of its hawkish neo-conservatives ... Also what is unexpected is far from being a few thugs of Saddam Hussein who are fighting, it appears that the U.S. invasion has triggered a national uprising where all Iraqis, except for Kurds, are now rallying to defend the government of Saddam Hussein and appear very eager to fight for it."
Peter nodded gravely. "For all the talk of being on the eve of the battle of Baghdad, you make it sound like it could be a while yet."
That's why, as I wrote during Afghanistan, the best advice is to ignore the "experts." Stick with us National Post know-nothings. The herd of experts stampedes quickly for the lowest-hanging analogy: Vietnam-style quagmire for the countryside, but Baghdad ... Hmm, Baghdad's a city, isn't it? So how about "Baghdad will be another Stalingrad"?
It takes two parties to make a Stalingrad, and both have to be non-democracies willing to shovel large numbers of conscripts into the carnage. That's not how the British or the Americans do things. If you wanted to know how the Brits would approach resistance in Basra, their experience in urban warfare over the last 30 years from Northern Ireland to Sierra Leone is the relevant comparison, not what one tyranny did to another six decades ago.
Of course the wackos at FAIR ("Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting"... if I applied fairness and accuracy to their name, they really should be called "TMMNLWEFU" "The Mainstream Media's Not Left Wing Enough For Us") and the tinfoil hat crowd at Indymedia are continuing to peddle the myth that the mainstream media are all just mouthpieces for the White House... yeah, okay, Fox News, maybe I could believe that, but the "Clinton News Network" suddenly became pro-Republican all of the sudden? If anything, as Mark Steyn showed, the media's been too negative in their coverage.
In other news... today's Boondocks was also hilarious...
...ly outdated, even given that Aaron McGruder usually gives himself only a week or two "lead time" (the time from drawing to publication... for a lot of daily cartoonists, it's more like 4 to 6 weeks). They're not bombing much anymore, since they're in Baghdad. Also, McGruder... er, I mean "Huey", seems to be implying that the bombing of Baghdad is another Dresden or Tokyo... not it's not; they weren't dropping bombs higgedly piggedly across Baghdad hoping that a few of them would hit their targets... they're pretty much all GPS driven now and hit mostly the bad guys, leaving the good Iraqis unscathed. As for the "bombings" of the markets... one market, I can easily believe that it was a horrible accident and something went wrong with the GPS guidance systems, but two markets? Probably they weren't even American weapons, but outdated SAMS fired by Iraqis that veered off-course. Or, I suppose, there could be something the Americans haven't divulged about the "markets"... they could be terrorist markets like the one James Bond infiltrates in Siberia at the beginning of Tomorrow Never Dies. But they haven't been parading the bits of missiles that hit the markets through the streets to prove they were fired by Americans, so I take it all with a huge grain of salt.
Finally, it is very sad that the NBC embedded reporter David Bloom died while covering the end of the war, but it does say volumes about American military superiority that he died of a heart condition and not from being shot at by anyone, since now even the elite Republican Guard is turning tails and fleeing Baghdad, just like most of the human shields did a month ago...