IMR: 1998: December: 16 — Wednesday, 12:11 p.m.
Pioneer Plaza, Downtown Honolulu, Hawai`i

The television in the conference room was on, tuned to CNN, all morning. Everyone had been drifting in and out, checking on the talking heads and "nightscope" views of Baghdad, waiting for the inevitable.

"Operation Desert Fox" was launched just as some of us were heading out for lunch. We crowded under the TV and watched the anti-aircraft fire and heard the explosions and listened to the on-the-spot reporter say enlightening things like, "Something certainly seems to have begun here." A few minutes later government bigwigs confirmed the air strike had begun, and was in fact expected to last more than a day.

An address from the Commander-in-Chief is expected soon.

For the record, I actually somewhat agree with the reasoning behind the attack. On a broad level, I disapprove of the United States' presumed role as "world cop," but I think some overseas interventions are justified. In my view, "Operation Desert Fox" qualifies, especially since we came to the brink of an airstrike less than a month ago, and called it off only on Iraq's promise to comply "unconditionally" with UN inspections.

For all we know, Saddam has a shiny new set of poison gas missiles pointed at half a dozen neighboring countries. And elsewhere these days you've got North Korea firing missles over Japan's bow and China buying weapons that can reach as far as Hawai`i. It doesn't take a military strategist to know even obscure "regional conflicts" can get pretty out of hand pretty quickly.

My only hope, apart from low American and British casualties, is that we do the job right this time. Watching Saddam Hussein thumb his nose at the world after "Operation Desert Storm" in 1991 was almost too infuriating to bear.

Unfortunately, Republican lawmakers in Washington are already grappling over microphones to bleat the best soundbite about how the airstrike was timed to derail the impeachment hearings. And I cringe to think how many times I'll overhear wise-ass references to "Wag the Dog" over the next few weeks.

Buy yourselves an original thought, people. It didn't qualify as serious political commentary before and it doesn't now.

I mean, Britain is involved in this military action, for crying out loud. Is Tony Blair part of this Democratic conspiracy too? As fucked up as American politics is, do you really think any president would put lives on the line to delay a vote that -- however ludicrous -- would have to come up again sooner or later?

I mean, I can't even believe it's come to this. On one hand, I agree: lying under oath -- if it can even be proved he lied under the convoluted pile of technical definitions and exceptions inherent in the legal system -- is really really bad. The man could easily be prosecuted to the ends of the earth once he's out of office, just like any other liar.

But impeaching a sitting president? For fibbing about a personal, sexual affair? I really can't fathom it. I take a step back and try to see things from any other country's point of view, and it simply looks insane. The fact that the vote to proceed with the impeachment inquiry was split almost perfectly along party lines makes it clear this whole process has nothing to do with justice, and everything to do with politics.

Hello? Republican representatives? Have you watched the news lately? While you've been flapping your gums and beating your bibles in Washington, Clinton was Gaza City to facilitate one of the more pivotal moments in the longstanding feud between Israel and the PLO. And now that American servicemen and women are risking their lives halfway around the world, all you can talk about is how the strike has ruined your holiday plans.

There's one being interviewed on CNN as I type. "Now we can't impeach him until next week! Waah!" (I paraphrased a bit.)

I'm not very proud to be an American, and haven't been for a while. Hmm. I hear Vancouver is a nice place to live. Or, I could always just declare myself a citizen of the sovereign and independent Nation of Hawai`i...

I'm rambling. I'm hungry. There's a BK Broiler out there with my name on it.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 16 December 1998 · Last Modified: 18 December 1998