Sunday, March 31, 2002

Condemn, in Arabic

The Tom Ridge color of the day is banana yellow: You did it! You finally, really did it! Damn you all to hell!

US forces are going along on raids in Pakistan, bringing the countries in which Bush has introduced combat forces up to, what, 37?

Hard to get much sense out of my usual British sources of news today. Evidently they were all really shocked at the sudden and completely unexpected death of the Queen Mum. And some were jolly cheesed off at the BBC coverage, because the presenter was not wearing a black tie. Winner of the Ted Baxter News Duh Award: The CNN news scroll said that most Brits could not remember a time when she was not around.

The Israeli soldiers have been executing people. And by executing I mean executing: shots to the back of the head.

Bush finally speaks publicly about the events in the Middle East, stupidly. Not surprisingly, since Israel is doing what he’d like to do with bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and so many others, he blames Arafat for everything. As ever, there are assertions that Arafat is somehow ordering every single terrorist attack, and no evidence at all. Bush says “I believe he needs to stand up and condemn, in Arabic, these attacks...” If Arafat tried to do that, he would be drowned out by the sound of gun- and tank-fire, but it’s the thought that counts. That incredibly condescending and arrogant “in Arabic,” which we’ve heard a lot lately, is the result of Tom Friedman of the NY Times continual emphasis on the disparity between the Arabic and English pronouncements of various peoples and countries. Friedman in today’s paper also has the best case for letting Israel do its worst that it is possible to make, which is that if suicide bombs work here, they will be used in every conflict. True, but you can’t refuse to do the right thing because there are assholes on the other side. Bush also said that he’d continue not phoning anyone, saying of Arafat, “all he has to do is watch what I just said.” Gee, if only the Israelis hadn’t just blown up his generator. Bush also had words for Israel, that while they’re doing their worst, they should “keep in mind there must be an avenue toward a peaceful settlement.” Sharon immediately responded, “Oh, you want a settlement? I’ve got as many settlements as you want. They’re cheaper wholesale.” [It’s not every day, but it’s a good day, when you can combine a pun with an ethnic stereotype.]

An article I think in the Times, maybe the Post, says that US documents show that the CIA did not intervene in Angola in 1975 after the Cubans got involved, but before, when there was no hint of Cuban interest yet. And that US activity was closely coordinated with the South Africans. Just a timely reminder that your government lies to you. Every single day.

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