Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sometimes when you go through things like that in your life, you can become a better person


Afghanistan’s anti-corruption chief (and a former provincial governor) Izzatullah Wasifi was once caught selling 23 ounces of heroin to an undercover cop in Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and spent several years in prison. Wasifi insists that, actually, it was cocaine not heroin, it was his wife and not him, it was buying rather than selling, it was for personal use, and anyway George Bush was arrested for drunken driving, so that’s okay then. His qualifications for his roles in Karzai’s administration, besides his familiarity with the drug-trafficking trade, include running an Ameci Pizza & Pasta franchise in L.A. and being a childhood friend of Hamid Karzai.

And the London Sunday Times catches up with Hazem Shaalan, Iraqi Defense Minister during the Alawi regime 2004-5, who quickly left the country immediately after leaving office and before it could be discovered that a few hundred million dollars worth of those shrink-wrapped bills Paul Bremer sent to Iraq had wound up in his pocket (I suppose not literally in his pocket, since $800 million in $100 bills would require rather a large pocket in what the Sunday Times notes is a Savile Row suit and might make it hard to walk). He got his contracts exempted from auditing, bought the cheapest possible broken-down second-hand equipment for Iraqi soldiers and pocketed the difference. Not surprisingly, his pre-invasion qualifications included selling used cars and running, what else, a pizza parlor, in Poland.

I’m suddenly hungry for pizza. Can’t think why.

The “surge” will be larger than it was sold as, with Bush adding another 4,700 troops. I believe this includes the 2,200 military police we were told this week are needed to guard prisoners who will be seized during the operations in Baghdad but who weren’t included in the original proposal because... well that’s the question I haven’t actually seen asked. Did the Pentagon simply forget that the point of the surge was to capture bad guys who would then need to be guarded?

Apartheid-era South African president F.W. de Klerk complains that affirmative action policies are making white people feel like second-class citizens. De Klerk was awarded the Nobel Prize for Irony in 1993.

Giuliani, moral arbiter of all things matrimonial, says that Gingrich should be forgiven for cheating on his wife. So that settles that. “Sometimes when you go through things like that in your life, you can become a better person.” Well, if adultery makes you a better person, Giuliani and Gingrich must be veritable gods amongst men. After also praising Gingrich’s alleged smarts, Giuliani was asked whether he was considering Gingrich as a running mate. He said such talk was premature. A Giuliani-Gingrich 2008 ticket, that’s simultaneously the most hilarious and the most nauseating idea I’ve ever heard.

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