Friday, July 25, 2003

Head-on-a-stick politics

Rumsfeld justified showing the pictures of Uday & Qsay as demonstrating to Iraqis that they were truly dead. But what about the 14-year-old grandson? Aren’t Iraqis living in fear that he might return?

Seriously I’d like to see someone in the administration just once acknowledge that they just assassinated a 14-year old. The general who made the initial briefing had to refer to him as an “individual,” because he could hardly call him a man and didn’t want to call him a boy or youth or teenager or whatever.

I’M READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP, MR. DEMILLE. Excerpts from the latest Fisk: “THE AMERICANS followed a grand Iraqi Baath party tradition by showing their dead enemies on television yesterday. Back in 1963, when Abdul Karim Qassem's corpse was shown on the screen, there was no colour television and the executed prime minister - Baathists and army officers had jointly condemned him to death - appeared in black and white, propped up in a chair but very, very dead. ... The US authorities creepily announced that they had treated the bodies at their mortuary at Baghdad airport with "the same respect" they would accord any corpse, as if it was the most normal thing in the world to parade dead bodies on television. ... Then the US authorities announced that they were waiting for "a family member" to come forward to claim the brothers for burial, as if Saddam was going to turn up at the airport in a Mercedes to sign the release papers.”

TONIGHT, ON A VERY SPECIAL “SIX FEET UNDER.” At the Guardian, Mark Lawson calls the footage of the dead Husseins “head-on-a-stick politics.” He notes, talking about British politics but it applies here: “in only six years, politics has jumped from a culture in which reality was nothing and perception everything to one in which citizens need to be shown a raw, bleeding corpse before they will even begin to consider the possibility that their rulers are telling them the truth.”

Liu Yang-wan of Taiwan dies at 103 after 86 years of marriage (March 1917!). Scary. Oh, or was that supposed to be heart-warming?

The Saudis have responded to the Congressional report. Their ambassador says "Saudi Arabia has nothing to hide. We can deal with questions in public, but we cannot respond to blank pages." I say we take him at his word and print everything it said about the Saudis.

Incidentally, right during the press conference releasing the report, Rumsfeld coincidentally started his own press conference. CNN, Fox and MSNBC all dropped the former in favor of the latter.

Liberians now understand that Bush has betrayed them. This is not true because of course Bush never promised them a damned thing to begin with. He will support a Nigerian force going in, propping up Charles Taylor and looting the country like they did in Sierra Leone when they kept the peace there.

RĂ­os Montt was blocked from registering to run for president of Guatemala, so his supporters put on ski masks and went on the rampage. Although he was Reagan’s favorite in the ‘80s, presumably because he was the only Fundamentalist Christian ruler in Latin America, the current State Department may well have stopped this little action by blaming him and his party for funding the protesters and today he called off his dogs. But, here’s the thing: the government ordered the military to stop the violence, and it ignored the orders. Not good.

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