what if?
Source Dan Scanlan
Date 04/09/24/01:24

If America were Iraq, What would it be Like?
Juan Cole

President Bush said Tuesday that the Iraqis are refuting the
pessimists and implied that things are improving in that country.

What would America look like if it were in Iraq's current situation?
The population of the US is over 11 times that of Iraq, so a lot of
statistics would have to be multiplied by that number.

Thus, violence killed 300 Iraqis last week, the equivalent
proportionately of 3,300 Americans.  What if 3,300 Americans had died
in car bombings, grenade and rocket attacks, machine gun spray, and
aerial bombardment in the last week? That is a number greater than
the deaths on September 11, and if America were Iraq, it would be an
ongoing, weekly or monthly toll.

And what if those deaths occurred all over the country, including in
the capital of Washington, DC, but mainly above the Mason Dixon line,
in Boston, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco?

What if the grounds of the White House and the government buildings
near the Mall were constantly taking mortar fire?  What if almost
nobody in the State Department at Foggy Bottom, the White House, or
the Pentagon dared venture out of their buildings, and considered it
dangerous to go over to Crystal City or Alexandria?

What if all the reporters for all the major television and print
media were trapped in five-star hotels in Washington, DC and New
York, unable to move more than a few blocks safely, and dependent on
stringers to know what was happening in Oklahoma City and St. Louis?
What if the only time they ventured into the Midwest was if they
could be embedded in Army or National Guard units?

There are estimated to be some 25,000 guerrillas in Iraq engaged in
concerted acts of violence.  What if there were private armies
totalling 275,000 men, armed with machine guns, assault rifles (legal
again!), rocket-propelled grenades, and mortar launchers, hiding out
in dangerous urban areas of cities all over the country?  What if
they completely controlled Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Salt
Lake City, Las Vegas, Denver and Omaha, such that local police and
Federal troops could not go into those cities?

What if, during the past year, the Secretary of State (Aqilah
Hashemi), the President (Izzedine Salim), and the Attorney General
(Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim) had all been assassinated?

What if all the cities in the US were wracked by a crime wave, with
thousands of murders, kidnappings, burglaries, and carjackings in
every major city every year?

What if the Air Force routinely (I mean daily or weekly) bombed
Billings, Montana, Flint, Michigan, Watts in Los Angeles,
Philadelphia, Anacostia in Washington, DC, and other urban areas,
attempting to target "safe houses" of "criminal gangs", but
inevitably killing a lot of children and little old ladies?

What if, from time to time, the US Army besieged Virginia Beach,
killing hundreds of armed members of the Christian Soldiers?  What if
entire platoons of the Christian Soldiers militia holed up in
Arlington National Cemetery, and were bombarded by US Air Force
warplanes daily, destroying thousands of graves and pulverizing the
Vietnam Memorial?  What if the National Council of Churches had to
call for a popular march of thousands of believers to converge on the
National Cathedral to stop the US Army from demolishing it to get at
a rogue band of the Timothy McVeigh Memorial Brigades?

What if there were virtually no commercial air traffic in the
country?  What if many roads were highly dangerous, especially
Interstate 95 from Richmond to Washington, DC, and I-95 and I-91 up
to Boston?  If you got on I-95 anywhere along that over 500-mile
stretch, you would risk being carjacked, kidnapped, or having your
car sprayed with machine gun fire.

What if no one had electricity for much more than 10 hours a day, and
often less?  What if it went off at unpredictable times, causing
factories to grind to a halt and air conditioning to fail in the
middle of the summer in Houston and Miami?  What if the Alaska
pipeline were bombed and disabled at least monthly?  What if
unemployment hovered around 40%?

What if veterans of militia actions at Ruby Ridge and the Oklahoma
City bombing were brought in to run the government on the theory that
you need a tough guy in these times of crisis?

What if municipal elections were cancelled and cliques close to the
new "president" quietly installed in the statehouses as "governors?"
What if several of these governors (especially of Montana and
Wyoming) were assassinated soon after taking office or resigned when
their children were taken hostage by guerrillas?

What if the leader of the European Union maintained that the citizens
of the United States are, under these conditions, refuting pessimism
and that freedom and democracy are just around the corner?

posted by Juan @ 9/22/2004

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