Friday, January 21, 2005

If we can avoid it


Consecutive stories listed on the Nation & Politics page of the WaPo: 1) “An Ambitious President Advances His Idealism,” 2) “Cheney Warns of Iran As a Nuclear Threat.”

Cheney says, “We don’t want a war in the Middle East, if we can avoid it.”
We don’t want to fight
but by jingo if we do...
We’ve got the ships, we’ve got the men,
and got the money too!
Avoid. Like “war in the Middle East” is a runaway truck. Of course you can “avoid” war, it’s easy: don’t invade, don’t bomb, no war.

As Viktor Yushchenko clears the last legal challenge and is sworn in as Ukraine’s president, Vladimir Putin finally admits defeat and sends a telegram looking forward to “good-neighborly and equal relations,” adding “or we will crush you.”

Speaking of good-neighborly and equal relations, Bush in his speech said, “We have known divisions.... and I will strive in good faith to heal them,” adding, “Or we will crush you.” “Yet those divisions do not define America. We felt the unity and fellowship of our nation when freedom came under attack”. What’s he saying, that in order to heal divisions, he’ll engineer another terrorist attack?

Independent editorial title: “Let Us Hope That Mr Bush’s More Nuanced Words Could Be Heard above the Gunfire in Iraq.” (No link, as the article is behind a pay barrier, but other than the title it’s nothing special).

Another Indy op-ed piece, by Johann Hari, says, “George Bush presented America as the armed wing of Amnesty International.” Also pay or Lexis-Nexis only.

Speaking of spreading freedom, the WaPo says that the prison camps maintained by the US in Iraq are almost full, with about 9,000 prisoners, and more every day. If Venezuela, say, arrested thousands of opponents in advance of an election, what would the US say about that?

The Colombian “bounty hunters” who kidnapped a FARC rebel in Venezuela, turn out to be members of Venezuela’s security forces, who will be charged with treason. I was right that there was no extradition request; but also, Interpol had rejected Colombia’s request to put the man on its wanted list because they saw the charges against him as political.

Israeli troops in Gaza shoot dead a Palestinian boy playing with a toy gun he’d been given for Eid, presumably by people who didn’t like him much. You have to ask why toy guns are even on sale there.

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