Friday, July 11, 2003

This email has been cleared by the intelligence services

“Q: My son has earned the rank of Eagle Scout, and I understand the CIA will send him a letter of congratulations upon request? A: We regret we are unable to process and provide certificates of congratulations to the fine young Americans who have become Eagle Scouts. We have curtailed some activities in order for us to concentrate on the War on Terrorism. Please be assured we will resume the practice when we are able to do so.” -- from the FAQ section of the CIA website.

No, the CIA is too busy taking the rap for a lie in the State of the Union Address. So there’s some talk about the Niger claim misleading Congress, and some about it misleading the American people, and no one at all is asking whether Bush made his decisions based on faulty information. Possibly the idea that Bush bases his decisions on information of any kind is so laughable.

Still, there’s something ignoble and craven about Bush’s excuse: “I gave a speech to the nation that was cleared by the intelligence services.” Remember what Truman said about where the buck stops. No, not with the selfish Jews, the other thing. Dictionary definitions of clear: free of obstructions or unwanted objects; transparent; net profit.

Tony Blair issued not one but two “dodgy dossiers,” with material lifted from not terribly recent public sources.

Bush meets AIDS victims. I guess he seemed sincere, right up until he brought God into it: "You are not alone. America has decided to act. I believe God has called us into action.” And then he brought in the military metaphors, calling doctors generals in “the world-wide army of compassion.”

Sometimes when I keep several windows going and click between newspapers so I don’t have to sit around while things download, I get interesting juxtapositions. Variations on a theme: the Italian tourism minister who complained about “hyper-nationalist arrogant blonde” German tourists has resigned; Norwegian “whore children,” fathered by German occupation troops as part of a program to create hyper-nationalist arrogant blondes, are suing because of the horrendous treatment of them after the war (as was also the case in Denmark); Germany is planning a really really tough language requirement for immigrants.

AP headline of the day: “Man Gets Life for Sucking Boys' Toes.” And oh good, it’s a California story. A supervisor of a youth program, but still.

The Swiss national airline has been refused further subsidies by the government, so it has cut back on its flights. For example, all its flights to the capital, Berne.

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