Strange happenings in 52nd state - Ed Brock

My, my, but things sure are taking a strange turn over in the 52nd state of the union.

Iraq, that is. I am, of course, counting the state of Jefferson between north California and south Oregon, because I find them interesting and bold and thus worthy of statehood.

But I'd just like to address a few recent issues popping up in Iraq and that immediate neighborhood.

First, on the Iraqi interim government's decision this weekend to shut down the al-Jazeera television news network's broadcasts from Baghdad for a month.

This is bad, and I'm not just talking about the fact that it runs contrary to the very democratic beliefs we are supposedly seeking to instill in our newest conquest. It's strategically bad because it is an obvious sign of weakness.

Why, just the other day I met a man from Iraq who is a trained physicist. Clearly they are not a stupid people.

And when intelligent people are denied the option of deciding whether the information they are receiving is true or not, they automatically begin to give more credit to the denied information. That's because logically, if what al-Jazeera was preaching is truly inaccurate, then we should be able to disprove it. It shouldn't scare us.

But it obviously does scare us. We don't have good answers to what al-Jazeera is saying so we just want them to shut up.

At least, that's how this move will be perceived, whether that is a fact or not. By the way, I say we because, like the average Iraqi, I in no way believe this interim government is anymore than just a mask for American authority.

Which brings me to a second interesting point, the rumors of arrest warrants being filed against Ahmad Chalabi and his nephew.

Chalabi is a favorite target of mine because he is such an obvious tool of the Pentagon. Now one of our other tools, the interim government, is seeking to alienate him and treat him like he's our enemy.

As a friend of mine pointed out a month ago when the interim government raided Chalabi's offices, this smacks of an effort to ingratiate Chalabi with the Iraqi masses who have low respect for him. I predict his legal problems will dissolve right around the time when we hold our first elections in the 52nd state and Chalabi will become a leading candidate for Iraq's head office.

And if I'm wrong, well, you all will have forgotten about this column by the time we actually hold elections in Iraq.

Now let's just step next door for a second to Iran and its attempts to develop nuclear weapons.

Look, people, number one, we need to stop preaching to the world about containing the spread of nuclear weapons. George Bush shot our high horse out from beneath us when he withdrew from the START treaty back in the pre-9/11 days and everybody knows we're just full of it. Why, if everybody had nuclear weapons, who would we invade?

And that's the pivotal point to remember. Nuclear weapons are defensive weapons only.

"What are you, crazy?!" you might be shouting at this point. "Why, why, those nucular weapons come on missiles and they, you know, they blow up whole cities and stuff!"

Sure, but the problem is in today's world you just can't use the darn things unless it is in self defense, and practically speaking they don't work too well then, either.

The only countries that could actually destroy America in a nuclear exchange are perhaps Russia and China. China doesn't have very many weapons but, assuming they all hit home, they have enough to knock us into the Third World at least. But as soon as they bomb us we would just flatten them, both of them at once if need be.

So the only practical reason why Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, and pursuing them hot and heavy, is so they can keep us from invading them. And that, my friends, does not constitute a threat.

It constitutes common sense.

So maybe I'll be slightly more nervous if Iran develops The Bomb, but I won't lose sleep over it and I certainly won't accept it as a justification for another unilateral war.

If it all goes to hell in a hand-basket I'll just move to the State of Jefferson. Who would bomb them?

Ed Brock covers public safety and municipalities for the News Daily. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 254 or via e-mail at ebrock@news-daily.com .