The normalcy

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I wasn’t surprised to hear about the bombing of Baghdad, or even that the first strike was light, and specific. With the whole world watching, waiting to condemn, the US was not going to go in and drop 2000 missiles all at once on Baghdad. In prime time news hour no less. Besides, what did one former general say last night on TV? Something along the lines of, “We can’t use all our missiles in this conflict. We have to save some for the next war.”

What did surprise me was the live video shots of Baghdad just after day break. The city had just been bombed, the people awoken by the sounds of anti-aircraft guns, the war has started – but here was a street with cars on it, street lights changing green to red, and the cars were obeying the lights. They were using their signals and signaling turns. It was all so normal. The picture looked like it could be a live shot of St. Louis.

A reporter with a US Army unit that will be one of the first to enter Iraq reported on the activity of the soldiers just after news came of the start of the war. He was struck by the normalcy of the camp: one man was using a truck mirror to shave, another was doing pushups, others chatting quietly, heading into breakfast. There was no visible indication that the war had started among those who would be the first to fight it on the ground.

It’s interesting reading the weblogs this morning. Many have written that they won’t write about the war in their weblogs. Others won’t even mention it and carry on as if the war hasn’t happened. Some of the warbloggers I gather went out and bought new coffee pots so they could weblog the body count all night long.

For the first time last night, on NBC news, the word ‘weblog’ was used, when they interviewed the creator of MovedOn and the author of Smart Mobs about the difference the online community has made on the anti-war movement. We’re in the big time now, boys and girls. Time to clean up your act, and put away the cat pictures. The world is watching, waiting for us to Make a Difference.

The war has started. Everything is different now.

Still, there’s that picture in my mind of the Iraqi driver, stopping at the stop light, using his turn signal, checking carefully before taking a free right. At that moment, I really liked the people of Baghdad. Still do.

DD asks in my comments as he asks before, demands to know really: is there any circumstances in which I would support a war. I have answered, but not in a way that DD understands, apparently. I have a feeling I’m going to continue to frustrate him, because I’m going to continue to give the same answer, and in the same manner.

The war has started, but life goes on.