Madison County Opinion...

MARCH 19, 2003


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
March 19, 2003

Frankly Speaking
Here we go again!
By the time you read this, we will likely be at war. By the time my next column comes out, it may well be over.
Saddam Hussein has built a dictatorship of fear. His military will only fight if they have clear commands. They will be afraid to act without his direction.
The first attack, just as it was the last time, will be on the enemy’s communication systems. Radio stations, switchboards, even underground cables, will be hit within the first few hours. Other targets will be the command and control headquarters for the Iraqi military.
Most Iraqi officers are not trained for independent decision making. If they were, they would likely have decided to eliminate Hussein long ago. They will not fight without specific directions. And with no one left to direct them, they will likely lay down their weapons and surrender in mass.
Many current Iraqi officers are survivors of the first gulf war. They saw first hand what Western technology can do. They witnessed the carnage on the road from Kuwait. They saw their tanks being destroyed by American and British tanks that were beyond the range of their own guns.
Many of them may not be aware of the advances western armies have made in weaponry since that conflict, but the first few hours of combat will make it clear. Those that do know are likely among the units that are seeking to surrender before a single shot is fired.
Allied forces will likely occupy all of the countryside within days of the start of combat. That will leave Saddam, his criminal sons and his henchmen isolated in Baghdad where they will be hiding behind the skirts of women and children. The process of digging them out of their holes without causing extensive damage to civilians may take a few weeks, but Saddam’s ability to govern will be gone well before he is captured.
What will be the final outcome of the Iraqi conflict? A criminal government will be eliminated, making the world just a bit more safe. A source of supply for the international terrorist movement will be cut off. An archive of documents will be seized and studied, revealing the extent to which many governments and major businesses have been selling out the safety of America and the rest of the free world to Iraq for cash.
I suspect that much of the opposition to the war is from governments, corporations and individuals who fear what we will find there. The fall of Baghdad will likely bring about the restructuring of many of the world’s political and economic alliances.
The world has changed many times in my lifetime. It is about to change again.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His e-mail address is frankg@mcga.net.

Column
By Zach Mitcham
The Madison County Journal
March 19, 2003

From the Editor's Desk
I hope, by God, that I’m wrong
I adamantly oppose the war, but I am just one in a sea of powerless voices.
And because I am powerless, I hope that I am wrong about everything I feel now.
I hope that the one in power is, in fact, right. Because the indignity of me being wrong pales in comparison to the horror of me being right.
I sincerely hope that the victory will be swift, that we can find Saddam and his weapons in a matter of days, that we can limit the bloodshed of both sides, that our bombs will be precise, that our troops won’t be exposed to biological or chemical weapons and that those troops will come home healthy and heartily welcomed by all.
I hope that Iraqi people will soon wave American flags, celebrating liberation from a horrible tyrant.
I hope that the new Iraq will, indeed, set a model for Arab democracy and that this new government will somehow — as Bush suggested — help the Israelis and Palestinians end their lengthy bloodbath.
I hope that Bush is right to push for a Mid-East awakening to the beauty of democracy. I hope I am wrong to think that such an approach will inevitably backfire, that an effort to force a form of government on other nations only leads to hostility and perversion of the original, lofty ideals.
When, and if, I’m old and gray, I hope I recall these pivotal years, knowing that I was just scared, that my premonitions of repercussive conflicts from our current actions were way off base, that we did not, in fact, stand at the edge of a fire with a gasoline can.
I hope that a pre-emptive war doctrine is proven unnecessary after the Iraqi conflict, that the nations seen as potential threats will eagerly comply with us when we tell them to discard their arms.
I hope that North Korea is simply a “regional” issue, not a greater threat than Iraq, that Kim Jong II will not develop nuclear weapons as we focus on Iraq.
I hope that the Iraqi conflict is truly a way to remedy the deeper matter that troubles us all — the fact that there are many people in the world who want us to crash and burn. We have been rudely awakened to the fact that many despise our vast influence on the world. Many overlook the goodwill we show, focusing only on our wealth, our ever-present commercialism, our military dominance.
I hope that Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda members are shivering in fear as we stand ready to strike down Saddam. I hope that I am wrong to think that the Islamic fanatics are actually praying for a U.S. invasion, knowing that this will inspire the multitudes to join the jihad against America.
I hope that fanatics in other Muslim nations in which we are widely reviled — Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, etc. — don’t gain power over their governments and decide to fight us.
I hope that I am wrong to believe that this war will make us less safe from terrorism, both now and in the long run.
I hope that this conflict will be resolved without our society being ripped further apart by an anti-war/ pro-war split, where frustrations over our individual lack of control over the war are often channeled into anger toward one another.
As we enter war, I feel that we risk more than we know, that a couple of years from now we may wonder how all this started and remember “oh yeah, we wanted to get Saddam.”
I am humbled by the magnitude of the situation. I am sickened by all of my awful thoughts, so much so that I can hardly bear to look at media reports.
But George Bush is certain that this war is the right thing to do.
By God, I sincerely hope he’s right.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.

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