The war is finally here, and many people have been mailing in their concerns about these topsy-turvy times. Here are a few responses to some of the questions I’ve been asked.

Remember how we had play-by-play coverage of the first Gulf War? Where can I turn to for all the details?”War and Sports Fan.

You’re SOL on that one. First of all, Fox News, CNN, and the rest of the so-called liberal media have left out the gory details about Iraqi children dying because of the U.S. bombing water treatment plants concerning the last war, so there is little chance that they’ll tell the truth when this war starts. Furthermore, if you are a journalist in Iraq, you’re apparently a target for the U.S. military. According to Kate Adie, war reporter for the British Broadcasting Corporation, the U.S. will use violence to deter journalists from getting too close to the action. “I was told by a senior officer in the Pentagon, that if uplinks – that is the television signals out of … Baghdad, for example – were detected by any planes … they’d be fired down on,” she told Irish broadcaster RTE Radio 1. “I am enormously pessimistic of the chance of decent on-the-spot reporting, as the war occurs.”

“I’m pro-Israel and slightly pro-war, and there’s this pro-Palestine girl in my English class who, well, let’s just say I’d like to occupy her territory. Usually such a political view would not attract me, but when she wears that slightly too small, cut off ‘Free Palestine’ t-shirt there’s an intifada in my pants. How can I approach her? Will the war make it harder?”Tainted Love

Your best bet is to pretend to be neutral, and if you’re pro-war, that too is going to be a big turn off. You should read up on the conditions of Palestinians in the occupied territories and Iraqis living under sanctions. She might be impressed when you say things like, “did you know that millions of Iraqi children die because U.S.-led sanctions keep them from getting medicine for things as simple as diarrhea?” If she doesn’t go for you, then at least you will have become more informed on what the occupation and sanctions have done, and maybe you’ll have a better chance of rethinking your position.

“Don’t you punk-ass, America-hating-communist-Nazi-fascists realize that Saddam is an awful dictator?!”Irate in Idaho

Actually, most anti-war protesters are well aware of Saddam’s deplorable human rights record. In fact, they are probably more aware of Saddam’s violations than the Bush administration is with the tyrannical regimes of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, with whom it just normalized trade relations last month. Bush decided to buddy up with them because the Stalin-style governments control massive amounts of oil, and cha-ching, they’re selling.

In addition, it is wrong to assume that the issue of war is a partisan one. Many Republicans and military advisors have held reservations concerning a war with Iraq. Neo-McCarthyite Daniel “Nobody Expects the Zionist Inquisition” Pipes has even come out saying that a war is not necessary.

“Isn’t it true that if America liberates Iraq, Kurdistan will be free from the river to the sea?”Kurds and Whey

No, because while we are fighting a nation that is guilty of butchering the Kurds (Iraq), we are also friends with a nation that is guilty of butchering the Kurds (Turkey). So if Saddam’s regime fails to crush the Kurdish movement for self-determination, Turkey will eventually take their shot at them, with Bush’s blessing of course.

“Hey, Frenchy, what’s up your craw?”Drunk at a Bar in Windsor

Talk about the pot and the frickin’ kettle. Americans would like to think that the French are lazy and jealous because our country happens to own everything. Well, its also true that Americans envy French people for their ability to chain smoke, drink like fish, fuck like rabbits and eat like it was Thanksgiving everyday and remain thin and healthy, while us fat Americans die of heart attacks at 45 and have to invent things like the segway to replace the menial task of walking.

Despite France’s embarrassing political tactics, the anti-French sentiment here is disturbing, considering the legislation to rename French toast to “Freedom toast.” Even in the height of the Cold War there was no “Freedom dressing,” and vodka wasn’t dubbed “Liberty liquor.”

Ari Paul can be reached at aspaul@umich.edu.

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