Thursday, July 17, 2003

Universal values

Tony Blair in DC: “We promised Iraq democratic government. We will deliver it.” And then they’ll find that it looked better in the catalog. But really, can something “delivered” from the outside actually be called “democratic government”? Elsewhere in the speech, Tone talks about spreading universal values--not American or British values, he said, universal values. Of course if they were universal values, they would hardly need spreading, now would they? Although the Independent editorializes that he might have tried spreading them in Washington by pointing out the lack of universality in treating non-citizens in Guantanamo by different rules.

A cute LA Weekly column on Bush’s recent travails points out that Bush, who “adversity always turns...rabbity and mean,” “acted as if the charges against his speech somehow concerned the depth of his convictions. ‘There’s no doubt in my mind,’ he kept saying. ‘There’s no doubt in my mind . . . I’m confident in the decision I’ve made.’”

Indeed, it’s Bush’s confidence and lack of doubt that we find so scary.

Marc Cooper notes in the same issue that “Bush bullied and bullshitted to get his way, and the top Democrats fully accommodated him” months before that speech. They didn’t even really need to be lied to. “You had me at hello.” [that’s me, not Cooper][I wouldn’t be that fastidious about taking credit, but Cooper himself suggests Bush’s speeches should be footnoted so we know who’s responsible for which lie].

A story allegedly in the WashPost today about how the Dept of Heimat Security isn’t up to the job of dealing with intelligence never returned more than an empty page when I clicked on the link, then it vanished altogether from the table of contents, and it’s not in Lexis-Nexis either. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.

A reminder of the longevity of war’s effects: 2, possibly 3 Austrians were killed by an unexploded American bomb from the Second World War, near the train station in Salzburg, where I never committed armed robbery.

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