Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Spider hole of denial

Bush on Saddam: “I find it very interesting that when the heat got on, you dug yourself a hole and you crawled into it.” As opposed to joining the Texas Air National Guard, perhaps?

And more: “The arrest of Saddam Hussein changed the equation in Iraq. Justice was being delivered to a man who defied that gift from the Almighty to the people of Iraq. And justice will be delivered to him in a way that is transparent and for the world to see.”

You know, I may just have figured it out. The Iraqi war crimes tribunal, with its death penalty provisions, was set up as the “bad cop,” to force Saddam to cooperate (i.e., not name every US official who kowtowed to him over the years, starting with Rummy, cough up something vaguely resembling a WMD, and generally play his assigned role in the show trial) with the US, the “good cop.”

The Iraqis really can’t try him. Who would the judges be? Do you have them nameless and wearing hoods as in Peru, or do you name them and watch their families members die one by one?

Good piece on what’s wrong with the proposed Afghan constitution.

Tomorrow is the centenary of heavier-than-air flight. Whee. George Monbiot pours a fetid pile of airline food over the achievement:
When Wilbur Wright was asked, in 1905, what the purpose of his machine might be, he answered simply: "War." As soon as they were confident that the technology worked, the brothers approached the war offices of several nations, hoping to sell their patent to the highest bidder. The US government bought it for $30,000, and started test bombing in 1910. The aeroplane was conceived, designed, tested, developed and sold, in other words, not as a vehicle for tourism, but as an instrument of destruction.

In November 1911, eight years after the first flight, the Italian army carried out the first bombing raid, on a settlement outside Tripoli. Then as now, aerial bombardment was seen as a means of civilising uncooperative peoples. As Sven Lindqvist records in A History of Bombing, the imperial powers experimented freely with civilisation from the skies. Just as the Holocaust was prefigured by colonial genocide, so the bombing raids which reduced Guernica, Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo and parts of London to ash had been rehearsed in north Africa and the Middle East.

Canada's Air Transport Security Authority banned fruitcakes in carry-on luggage.

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