Thursday, April 17, 2003

Oil for palaces

Now Bush wants sanctions lifted on Iraq. The problem with that is that the sanctions were not put there because the world didn’t like the old Iraqi government (and even if they had been, there isn’t any new Iraqi government, except for the US military’s occupation government). As the French helpfully point out, there is no evidence that Iraq has disarmed itself of WMDs. Thus is the Bush admin hoist on its own petard (I just looked that up; the metaphor is more violent, and appropriate, than I realized), that is the mid-war change in rationale for that war, from WMDs to “liberation.”

Of course, where it counts, sanctions still exist. For example, Save the Children accuses the US of killing Iraqi children by refusing to let a plane of medical supplies land in northern Iraq. Business as usual then.

Tommy Franks, holding a meeting in one of Saddam’s palaces, jokes that the UN program should have been called oil-for-palaces. Hilarious, Tommy. Maybe you should have thought a little more about how it looked before you decided to take over a frickin’ palace. Still, it’s always nice to take a dump in a gold toilet after you’ve taken a really big dump on an entire country. I noticed all those US colonels were wearing camouflage in the palace; given Saddam’s taste, though, they kinda stood out, which defeats the purpose of camouflage. I think they should all have been wearing Elvis’s old outfits, or Liberace’s.

In the strange allies department, the US, keeping a deal with Iran, according to the Wall Street Journal, bombed some of the guerilla groups that operated against Iran from Iraq.

Michael Kinsley has a cute column in Slate making fun of the huge no-bid contracts to rebuild Iraq. Here’s a paragraph:
It's like getting one of those cards announcing that instead of a Christmas present, someone has made a contribution in your name to some charity you aren't interested in. "Dear American Taxpayer: We are pleased to inform you that in gratitude for all the billions you're going to be pouring into Iraq, the U.S. government has made a sweetheart deal on your behalf with a company you've never heard of." Eighty billion dollars-the size of just the first expense report the Bush administration has submitted to Congress-works out to about $1,000 that needs to be kicked in by each household in the United States. Of course we're putting it all on the credit card, to be paid for in the future, with interest. But it's still real money. If we made a contribution that big to our local public broadcasting outlet, we'd qualify for a CD recording by six, nine, or even 12 tenors. From the Bush administration, we don't even get a tote bag.
He notes the widespread assumption that because we destroyed all those roads and bridges, we should get the contracts to rebuild them. Far be it for me to point out irony, but Michael Kinsley works for a Microsoft company.

A story that has the US already claiming that one reason it can’t find WMDs is that the looting destroyed the records. I of course said that this was coming.

US Marines have been ordered to hand over confiscated assault rifles to Chalabi’s stage army, mostly recently hired kids, who are using them to carjack people.

Another of Vladimir Putin’s critics, an opposition MP, is assassinated.

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