Sorry to keep harping on about the war. Mine is not a "warblog", but if you can think of a more important topic to cover let me know.

(Today another publisher invited me to write a bioinformatics book and the best I can do with that is put it in parentheses.)

Now I am about to do some particularly weak blogging. This following is a Weblog quote from a Weblog quote, but I want my anti-war friends to read it and the original source Kanan Makiya’s war diary is under heavy load as I type.

(I admit I have not quoted from the latter part of this entry which expresses strong skepticism about the extent Bush's plans for a post-war settlement, but I'm massively skeptical about that myself so I don't have much argument with the anti-war lobby there.)

The bombs have begun to fall on Baghdad. Iraqi soldiers have shot their officers and are giving themselves up to the Americans and the British in droves. Others, as in Nasiriyah and Umm Qasr, are fighting back, and civilians have already come under fire. Yet I find myself dismissing contemptuously all the e-mails and phone calls I get from antiwar friends who think they are commiserating with me because “their” country is bombing “mine.” To be sure, I am worried. Like every other Iraqi I know, I have friends and relatives in Baghdad. I am nauseous with anxiety for their safety. But still those bombs are music to my ears. They are like bells tolling for liberation in a country that has been turned into a gigantic concentration camp. One is not supposed to say such things in the kind of liberal, pacifist, and deeply anti-American circles of academia, in which I normally live and work. The truth is jarring even to my own ears.

If you want to understand the perceptual chasm that separates how Iraqis view this second Gulf war from how the rest of the Arab-Muslim world views it–or from how these antiwar elites here in Cambridge or, dare I say, in Turtle Bay or Paris or Berlin view it–then you must begin with the war that has already been waged on the people of Iraq by their own regime. Then you will know, horribly, how the explosion of a JDAM can sound beautiful. For Iraqis, the absence of this new American-led war is not the presence of peace. Years before the first American cruise missile exploded in a “safe house” of the Iraqi leadership, the people of Iraq were living through a war. They have been living through that war since 1980, the year Saddam Hussein launched his futile war against Iran. Since then, one and a half million Iraqis have met a violent death. Between 5 and 10 percent of Iraq’s population has been killed, either directly or indirectly, because of decisions made by its own leadership. The scale of such devastation on a people is impossible to imagine. Think of Germany or France after World War I. Think of the Soviet Union after World War II. The peoples that are thrust into such a meat-grinder are never the same when they emerge. Is it any wonder that we Iraqis do not look at this war the way so much of the rest of the world does?