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Marc Ash: Is Baghdad Burning?

Is Baghdad Burning?

By Marc Ash
t r u t h o u t | Opinion

Sunday 23 March 2003

Fifty-eight years ago Adolf Hitler stood as "commander in chief" of the most powerful and ruthless military machine on earth, but his world was crumbling around him.

Allied forces, having advanced from the bloody beaches of Normandy, were sweeping across Europe and were poised to drive the German army from its occupation of Paris. From Paris the German Commander, General Dietrich von Choltitz, nervously watched developments, trying to make a plan. His remarkable actions would spare Paris total destruction.

Hitler's orders to Choltitz were clear: If Paris could not be controlled, it must be destroyed. Choltitz thought him mad. He felt that such destruction was without justification and, in any event, could not turn the tide of history. When Hitler asked his famous question; "I want to know -- is Paris burning?" Choltitz stepped out of line and into history. He replied, yes. It was a lie. Paris was still The City of Light, but it was not ablaze.

Choltitz should not be regarded as a hero. He coordinated the deportation of many French Jews to Nazi death camps. But in the end, defy Hitler he did.

George W. Bush -- the grandson of Nazi conspirators -- stands as "commander in chief" of today's most feared military force. Draw your own parallels but do not doubt that Bush is ruthless, paranoid and unstable.

The situation and the players are all changed but the orders are the same: 'Destroy a city to make a point.' The more dead, the stronger the message. If you thought that a classic German blitzkrieg was a history lesson, stay tuned. What is happening in Baghdad right now will make the invasion of Poland look reasonable by comparison.

The forest and the trees

The truth is indeed war's first casualty. Let's take a moment to restate the obvious. Why an invasion now? George Bush Sr. is on the management team of the largest defense industry investment company in the world, the Carlyle group. Right now, as you can imagine, business for Carlyle is pretty good. Dick Cheney "retired" as CEO of the Halliburton Co. to take a job at the White House. Halliburton gets to rebuild Iraq's now conveniently burning oil wells, at their profit - and your expense. Condoleezza Rice is a former Chevron executive. Chevron was so proud of Rice that they named an oil tanker after her. Why pay for oil when you can send America's sons and daughters to war for it? In fact this war is so profitable for so many friends of the Bush family, one could hardly comprehend the enormity of it.

The diplomatic charade

"The diplomatic phase is ending," should have been the title of George W. Bush's inauguration speech. The Bush Administration's entire reason for going to the UN in the first place was for quick convenient public relations benefit. Why take personal responsibility for committing crimes against humanity if you can dictate to others that they must join you. At any rate, diplomacy had nothing to do with it. Resolution of the conflict without military force was never on the table. For the record: The UN does not authorize offensive military action. They attempt to prevent it. In this case they failed.

"Liberation and Democracy"

Dropping bombs on human beings is neither liberating nor democratic. The only Iraqis that will be liberated by Mr. Bush's onslaught are those who are killed outright. They will truly be free. All the others have to look forward to is foreign military occupation. As for democracy: In two short years, Mr. Bush and Mr. Ashcroft have succeeded in relegating American democracy to protest pens. Whatever the future holds for Iraq under US military rule, you can be sure of one thing -- democracy won't enter into it.

Is Baghdad Burning?

Hitler apparently was an amateur. He came in the end to depend on one man to carry out his order to destroy Paris. The deed went undone. Mr. Bush, on the other hand, will make sure his preference for destruction comes to pass. You who are easily haunted, do not ask -- does Baghdad burn?

Baghdad burns tonight.


Also see; Marc Ash | Standing on the Dead


- You can send comments to t r u t h o u t Editor Marc Ash at:

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