Wednesday, June 19, 2002

How many debates do you want?

Bravely marching backwards, Israel is planning to re-occupy Palestine bit by bit as a collective punishment for terrorism. Hey Ariel don’t turn the clock back too far or you may find yourself trying to sing while crossing into Switzerland.

The new Hungarian prime minister turns out to have been a spook. In the spirit of openness, he has threatened to sue any newspaper that discloses any more, because, he says, he is under legal obligation not to talk about it. Should make that lawsuit difficult then, shouldn’t it?

Also threatening to sue is John Gotti Jr. With the interest in his father’s death, Uncle Junior is worried that memorabilia will be sold without him getting a piece of the action. This is what we call a copyright protection racket.

Karzai names his cabinet and sort of submits it to the loya jirga, not for individual vote, or indeed any vote, except by hands, since if votes were actually recorded, he’d have been voted down. Nor did he allow discussion (I’ve been meaning to mention that every time the former king tried to address the nation, the tv transmitter suddenly cut out--three times, and that when the only other candidate for president, a woman, tried to speak to the assembly, Karzai bounced onto the stage and cut her off. Which is an improvement over the old Afghanistan, in which he would have cut off one of her body parts.), saying “There was debate. I told them do you agree? And they said yes. How many debates do you want.” Say what you will, his democratic instincts are at least superior to Dubya’s.

As I understand it, the new cabinet is considered a failure because it doesn’t contain enough warlords with blood on their hands. Really. Karzai asked them all to join, but they refused, preferring their regional fiefs, calculating that Kabul will not have any power worth mentioning.

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