Correction on liberal hawks, and a blog from Baghdad

Andrew Hagen corrects my impression about the paucity of progressive pro-war weblogs. In addition to his own, he mention’s Michael Totten’s. Hagen makes a solid point in this recent post: since Resolution 1441 called for immediate compliance by Iraq, the formula “giving Iraq more time to comply with Resolution 1441” is incoherent.

Update: Thomas Nephew is also a pro-war liberal blogger;this is his very careful summary of the arguments.

Totten links to a site called Where is Raed? which purports to be a group blog (two guys, Raed and Salam, and a 23-year-old female engineer signing herself “riverbend”) written from Baghdad. While I went in skeptical and don’t claim any expertise, I have to say that if it’s a fake it’s a decent-quality fake, and I’m prepared to take it as real unless someone tells me otherwise. The sense of what it is like living in a totalitarian country under threat of invasion is overwhelming, especially against Salam’s rather cheerful general affect. Here’s a sample:

A BBC reporter walking thru the Mutanabi Friday book market (again) ends his report with :

“It looks like Iraqis are putting on an air of normality”

Look, what are you supposed to do then? Run around in the streets wailing? War is at the door eeeeeeeeeeeee!

Besides, this “normality” doesn’t go very deep. Almost everything is more expensive than it was a couple of months ago, people are digging wells in their gardens, on the radio yesterday after playing a million songs from the time of the war with Iran (these are like cartoon theme songs for people my age, we know them all by heart) they read out instructions on how to make a trench and prepare for war, that is after president saddam advised Iraqis to make these trenches in their gardens.

But in order not to disappoint the BBC; me, Raed and G. put on our “normal” faces and went to buy CDs from Arassat Street in a demonstration of normality. After going first into Sandra’s fruit juice shop and getting what people from foreign would probably call a poor imitation of a banana and apple smoothie, we spent half an hour contemplating the CD racks at music shop. Raed being the master of talk-and-slurp-at-the-same-time technique was trying to steal away my “normality” by reminding me that I will be wasting my 10,000 Dinars because there will be no electricity for the CD player. I explained to him that I am planning on operating a pirate radio station and need to stock on music for the masses I plan to entertain, said in a matter of fact voice and Raed didn’t even blink which made Mr. music_shop_owner look at us very suspiciously at this point so we moved to the next rack. But since I buy the stuff that would otherwise sit and collect dust he didn’t say much and was very happy to take away 12,500 Dinars. I bought five instead of the planned 4 CDs, many thanks to Malaysian bootleggers for providing us with cheap CDs. The deftones, black rebel motorcycle club, erykah badu and the new amr diab (here for audio clips if you are interested) have joined the Pax Radio CD racks.

“Where’s Raed” also has some reflections on the impact of subjecting Iraq to the rule of a female viceroy. Worth adding to your favorites list.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: