Monday, January 01, 2007

This Year's Going To Be A Blast

Happy New Year tonight is something else tonight. Three hours ago it was midnight, and there were some celebratory rounds being shot in the air. But as of an hour or so ago they seem to have taken it a step further with heavy artillery, rockets and mortars. I've never heard this so much shit so close to my home. I'm sure it's still rather far off anyway.

First thing I did this morning was download that video clip of Saddam's execution. Okay so the dude is very dead now, but the moon landing didn't happen. Oh but the indecency of the procedure was horrific. How they were calling the name of Muqtada as they were just about to hang him made it so apparent how rotten the deal was.

Sure American policy is a load of crap, they opened the door for the Iranians and their Iraqi-national cronies to take over for crying out loud. But in seems all to clear to me that Iran's the one who wanted this execution more than anyone else. I'm too much in a rush to actually get the idea across. It just ticks me off to hear people (especially Arabs) saying that it is America that's fighting the Arabs making reference to Saddam being executed under their occupation for example when to me it seems that it is Iran that's the instigator of so much instability in the Middle East including Iraq right now.

So anyway after downloading that video clip. Went off to the petrol station to refuel my car, but there was a queue. Hadn't seen a queue ever since I came back from the UK this summer. So I decided to just forget it and got on my way to pick up my Aunt so I could get my membership ID card from the club.

I think the Americans have joined the fight since I'm hearing something that I think sounds familiar from the war days.

My UPS just died. My generator isn't working today. I'm not going to be able to post this till tomorrow then. Oh Well.

Then I came back home to pick up Nahida so that we go pick up Od since yesterday she suggested that I invite him over for lunch today. Od's too scared to come out on his own. But having Nahida with us didn't stop us getting stopped at a checkpoint on our way back to drop him back home. When the soldier asked where do I live, I answered the truth and she the idiot paranoid schizo woman gave a different answer. It was so freaking dodgy. But after Nahida continued her spastications the soldier let us go.

There's more war going on right now than there was during the war. I'm sure it's been like this in other neighbourhoods for months, but to be able to hear it myself it becomes that tad more real.

Last night I finished off all my phone credit talking to my dad. So when I got back home I called up my brother's house and I wished my bro's wife Happy Eid, she made me realise that today was the 31st too and that it meant we should wish each other Happy New Year too. Then I called my bro to do the same, and then my mum. Yeah I was saving the best for last.

This New Year hasn't been festive at all. I can barely believe it. And it's not just New Year it's also Eid. This is supposed uber-festive time, but Saddam's execution really knocked out any sense of festivity. I don't like the guy but sure I miss him in a nostalgic way. But for crying out loud, killing him off on Eid, where's the holiness in that? Didn't they have thirty days to do him? I guess the advantage of having done it when they did means that there might be enough time for things to cool down before the holiday ends.

Suzy called me after midnight. She on the other hand had her cousins over and was very festive. We had a bland chat and that Sandy was on hold on her phone, and I made my escape, told her to talk to Sandy and that I'd call her back later. I didn't call back. I bet she had booze to drink.

Oh yeah this a booze free New Year's night for me. Don't worry I'm not getting all religious, I just thought it was too depressing to soak my self in firewater. But sure as hell if I had something decent to drink at home I would've drunk it. But all I've got is some shit vinegar tasting Jordanian wine and the cheapest and dodgiest whiskey in the world. I think it's the same whiskey that Dick brought over nearly a year ago.

It's quieted down out there. I think that means I could go to sleep now. Umm, I think I spoke too soon. It's started again. But seriously that shit isn't going to keep me awake, it's not that bad.

I wonder if I squeeze out enough juice from my UPS to make this post if I turn it on or off. No it didn't work. Crap. Well I'll leave to tomorrow then.


Anonymous said...

All the best to you, dear internet friend.

-- Tilli (Mojave Desert)

PS - 2007 will be better, right?

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year Shaggy!!

In the uncontrollable environment that you are living in, you still have control over yourself. Find focus and take advantage of life.

"Seize the Day"

Sang J. Moon said...

Funny, it turns out it was the USA pushing to delay Saddam's execution until after Eid, but the government, including the Sunni president, but especially Maliki, wanted Saddam executed as soon as possible. I suspect they were afraid of giving the hardcore Baathists time to plan a successful jailbreak of Saddam similar to how the former oil minister escaped. If Saddam was set free before he was executed, it would have been disastrous on so many levels. They were willing to risk the annoyance of doing it at the start of the Sunni Eid rather than risk a far worse possibility.

Anonymous said...

Hey i told you the blog is addictive, but you had to heear it from somebody else. Happy New Year buddy, and here's hoping 2007 is at least marginally better than the shitty 2006.

Shaggy said...


I would've thought that you of all people would have enough patriotism to believe that US troops would be able to prevent a Saddam jailbreak from the green zone. But seriously, such a risk was never even suggested. The disappearing minister of electricity (not oil) on the other hand escaped from a jail outside the green zone.

Besides, I'm sure a full frontal attack on the green zone would've been much more welcomed by the US troops than the cowardly methods such as IEDs and VBIEDs used by the insurgence.

Are you aware that the president is a Kurd and not a Sunni Arab who are proclaimed to be the supporters of Saddam or are you just playing with semantics?

And as a note, the people who celebrate Saddam's death aren't necessarily celebrating his death but rather showing their support for their leaders, you can see them waving pictures of Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim or Muqtada Al-Sadr. And on the other hand you've got Sunnis protesting Saddam's execution, they don't necessarily love him, but instead they're demonstrating their disapproval of the present government.

By far and large, most Iraqis and even most Sunnis would've welcomed his execution had it been performed by a government that was free of radicalism and thus it would've of become an issue that has in effect rifted the people of Iraq even further.

If the government was free of radicalism one would also expect that the insurgence would've quickly lost momentum regardless of Saddam's issue, simply because the supporters of the insurgency wouldn't feel so threatened by such a government as we have now.

But since you do mention today's president, I do want to say that at least the President is against capital punishment which in my opinion is a good thing. But as a Texan, you probably support it.

You're just going to keep on pissing me off with your comments aren't you hehe. I'm sure you're a good guy, but something ticks me off about your view of things here and I just can't put my finger on it. In any case, I'm no authority on Iraq myself so I don't want to seem like you're any less welcomed to post a comment.

Sang J. Moon said...

Sorry for the incorrect specifics. But yes, the Iraqi government was afraid Saddam would escape death somehow ranging from a jailbreak to mass kidnappings to exchange for Saddam. They were afraid of anything that might happen which would cause Saddam to avoid hanging. As for the president, Kurds are Sunnis too, but I was indeed thinking the president was a non-Kurd Sunni, but I was thinking of his predecessor, Ghazi Yawer, who actually is Talibani's deputy now and has stated that he would sign Saddam's death warrant. As for the president being against the death penalty, you do notice that he tried in no way to oppose the appeals court interpretation of their precedence over the president in approval of the death penalty. He gave passive approval by not fighting the constitutional interpretation. You are correct that I support the death penalty. It sounds like you have problems with that. If so, you probably think the world is going the wrong way since the new UN head doesn't mimic the same blanket disapproval of the death penalty like his predecessors.

Anonymous said...

Shaggy, stop talking politics, or you will lose your steadfast credibility as a degenerate wastrel! And Sang, just please STOP. Nothing worse than an angry blow-hard Texas conservative.
No kidding, Shaggy - Happy new year! And stay safe!

snafoo said...

('tmpName' is now known as 'snafoo'. Yay! A screen name!)


I hope you'll have a happy new year. Keep blogging, and most of all, stay safe.


Nice to see you're still around -- seriously. I find it immensely interesting to discuss with US conservatives, I'm really curious how those of you who still support the war look at the developments.

So, why suddenly remove the lid of a cooker under pressure? You wouldn't do that in your kitchen, would you?

I reject the death penalty out of moral principle and because it just doesn't make any sense. There isn't a single rational argument in its favour.

Anyway, I certainly won't cry for Saddam. I just think the timing was bad. As you pointed out, the US wasn't happy about the choice of the date, either, but what I mean is that, apart from it being wrong in general, they should have at least waited to give him a trial whenever Iraq would have become stable.

They tried him for one of his crimes. I would have liked to see him stand trial for the others, at least the major ones, as well. Present him (and his supporters) with the evidence, in an orderly court, and let him defend himself when he faces the witnesses. Now I fear his supporters will deny his crimes, idealize him, sense conspiracies, doubt the integrity of the court and point out how well Iraq was doing under his rule (relative to now).

Anyway, my guess is that you will say that Iraq has an independent government and justice now, and that it was beyond the US' influence -- and that's correct. The mistake was to begin the war in the first place and the systematical F-ups that followed.

Sang J. Moon said...

Strange thing is that there is so much categorization of US conservatives as a single group, but you will find US conservatives are far more diverse than the left believes if you tried. My brand of conservatism actually concentrates more on fiscal conservatism than social conservatism. As for how I view the war, I take my information from the people in Iraq. That includes Iraqis and soldiers of all views. What I find is that the US media focus on US soldier death counts belies the high level of morale and confidence the soldiers on the ground have. Progress is occurring steadily but slowly with the US government bureaucracy being the greater threat to their mission than even the IEDs and insurgents. As for the Iraqi people, the violence is bad, but what I find is a greater factor in deteriorating their sense of security are the kidnappings. More Iraqis are affected by kidnappings than death, but the security forces aren't equipped or trained to deal with kidnappings, and the police are not capable enough to deal with kidnappings effectively yet. So this is driving a lot of professionals, often targetted by kidnappings, out of Iraq at a time when the country needs them the most. However, Iraq will deal with these problems because they have no choice. People are expecting stupendous results now, but it takes far more time than the three to four years, so far, to build a successful country from under tyrant and under external pressures from so many sources.

As for why remove the lid on the pressure cooker suddenly? We are talking about a pressure cooker that would only increase in pressure as long as Saddam was in power. There was no release valve to decrease the pressure. The Iraqis themselves tried to overturn Saddam themselves but failed because of of Saddam's Republican Guard and his security forces.

As for the death penalty, if you are saying that the punishment of death is the same as the crime of murder, it is like equating the punishment of court ordered repayment as being the same as theft. They are not morally the same. The rational argument for the death penalty for specific crimes is simply that it is appropriate.

As for fears that Saddam's death will increase his following, take Mussolini's death as an example of what is likely to happen. After Mussolini was shot, his body was hung upside down for anybody to publicly defile his body which they did until it was decomposing. What that and Saddam's death did was close the book on the fear and support based on the cult of personality built by these dictators, and they became a warning to the remaining followers to stop fighting. Most people outside of Iraq have no idea to what level Saddam affected Iraqis. Konfused Kid put it best:

"I woke up at 9, mumbled Happy-eids to parents, then headed straight to the TV...and I recieved the images...the first thing that struck me was how unbelievable this was...Saddam was a part of my everyday patterns as a human being, I woke up, ate, drank, shat, slept, and Saddam is the undefeatable tyrant that never dies. It was hard, hard, hard to know that Saddam is no more, he was arrested, humilitaed and sentenced to death and I didn't feel much - but to know that he is gone is very strange - He was a given fact of life! and now he's dead...This doesn't happen in the world that I normally inhibit..."

As for the war being a mistake, I have already written profusely on that subject. Let's just agree to disagree for now.

Shaggy said...

Sang, you still haven't convinced me that the gains made by choosing the date chosen for the execution outweigh the antagonizing effect it has had as an isolated incident or as part of a broader policy on behalf of the government and its attempt for reconciliation.

As for the death penalty. I'm against it, and I've said it before. I was brought up in Europe and my choice on the subject is influenced on that upbringing. You being a Texan have been brought up to be for it.

Yeah I did notice that president effectively gave passive approval. I was just pointing out his personal choice on the subject. And even though that was his personal choice I wouldn't of expected him to do other than what he did simply because he does not have the authority to impose his own personal opinion against that of the general Iraqi public (which is for the death penalty).

And the same goes for the new secretary-general of the UN. It's fine that he voices his own personal opinion on the subject which also reflect his country's opinion. But I've got a hard time imagining him actually trying to push his own opinion into policy at the UN. And indeed, Mr. Ban's spokeswoman did say that the secretary general had not intended to change United Nations policy, but had added his own "nuance". So I'm not too worried about him.

And as for the world going the wrong way, it's often hard to think otherwise when there are people dying in the hundreds everyday and all my friends and family are too afraid to live here. All I can do is hope that forgiveness and understanding prevails.

Just read your last post Sang, there's no end is there! hehehe

I'm just wondering how you measure progress in Iraq. Economically, inflation is in the high double digits, security wise people are dying at higher rates than ever before and turf wars are ensuing as we speak, people are fleeing the country at even greater rates than ever before, the number of hours electricity I'm getting at my home has dwindled to just two a day, and even the freedom of the press is threatened (reference to Al-Sharqiya TV) thus breaking down the back bone of a democracy and to top it all of Sunnis and Shiites are ever more polarized than ever before.

And if you think really think that Saddam's death is going bring a decline in regards to insurgence attacks then you're already wrong.

And just to go off on a tangent...

When the government talks about the 'die hard Baathists' you're lead to think these Baathists are fighting for the sake of Baathism and Saddam, but that's not necessarily the case, as far as the insurgence is concerned they're against the occupation and a radical government. It's suggested that Saudi Arabia and the such are funding the insurgency and these funders don't support Saddam but they are against Iran.

If you consider Iran a threat, then it should follow suit that you think of the present government as a potential threat in the future. This government is so heavily under Iranian influence, an influence that is strengthening ever more as America's influence continues to decline, and it's something that to my astonishment isn't being highlighted. Don't be fooled by the guys in the suits, it's the dude with the turban that's calling the shots here.

I don't want to my country going to war with America again in another 20 or 30 years damn it. This bleeding appeasement that the US administration is showing to the present government today is doing no good. Maybe I'm just delusional, I hope everything turns out fine and you're right.

As for everyone else, yeah I'm seriously going to try lay low on the freaking politics. But if someone says something I don't agree with on my blog space then you must understand that I'm compelled to say something in return.

snafoo said...


I know there are many branches of conservatives in the US, most of them claim to be fiscally conservatives. But that's just one aspect of policy and there are so many more, glad to hear you're less of a socially conservative -- they usually don't make much sense to me.

Yes, it will take more time (not "six days, maybe six weeks, I doubt six months"). I doubt there will be such a successful country in the end, however. At least that's the impression I get from here. Even Bush has lowered the bar from "model democracy" to something that can sustain itself.

As for the pressure cooker, the attempt to overturn him was directly after the first US-Iraq war, AFAIK. It has been a long time (with sanctions) since then.
Just to overstretch the metaphor, all those bombs seem to have heated it up quite a bit.

If you re-read my comment, you will find I never said anything along the lines of the death penalty being the same as murder. Both unnecessarily end a life out of lower motives, but that's about where the parallels end. And no, it's not appropriate. That would be revenge, which hardly is a rational argument.

Mussolini was lynched by communist partisans. That's different from a court ruling. Had there been an internal Iraqi revolution that had resulted in his execution, with or without trial, fine, it would have been part of the game. What I'm saying is that there was an opportunity to properly investigate his crimes and deconstruct his image, and that has been wasted.
Mussolini was the one who brought war over his country. Saddam didn't... well, at least not this one. He was oppressive, but not against everybody. When you have a sufficiently large part of the population that is doing worse now than under his rule, then you have a problem.

I just discovered Konfused Kid's blog (that is, before a friend dropped by a couple hours ago and I had to interrupt this reply). Yes, his comments are quite vivid and interesting -- now imagine how somebody who did well under Saddam must perceive it.