Thursday, March 11, 2004

Letting bad leaders govern badly

Compare and contrast:

Scummy asst secretary of state Roger Noriega on Haiti, 2004 (or possibly the US, 2004): “We're not under any obligation to let bad leaders govern badly.”

Scummy national security adviser Henry Kissinger on Chile, c.1973: “I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people.”

Robert Fisk’s columns, while still blocked to most of the non-paying public at the Independent site, can be found pretty quickly these days at, which I suspect exists purely to break copyright laws, but what the hell. For a while someone was posting them to the discussion pages of the Pravda website, which I thought was amusing.

Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet said that he’d have corrected Cheney’s lies, but he only found out about them 2 months later. Way to keep on top of the news, George!

Evidently the US military has been buying cadavers which were devoted to science, and then blowing them up to test landmines. Which could be fun, I suppose, if you’re, like, high, but probably not what the donors had in mind.

I’d like an explanation for why the 5 Brits released from Club Med Guantanamo are in such terrible physical condition. Possibly we’ll get to read it in a British tabloid--the bidding war has already begun (£200,000 so far for one of them, I hear)(the problem will be whether they tell the truth. One is saying the US troops brought prostitutes in and paraded them naked in front of the prisoners. While I’m less inclined to dismiss that out of hand as being just too silly, it’s still pretty silly). And Fisk asks why the Achille Lauro guy suddenly dropped dead. And I’ve lost track of how many prisoners have been beaten to death already. And these are the ones we hear about. US forces have been seizing Iraqi leaders for more than a year now, and you never ever hear or see them again--including Saddam.

But the good news is that the US military has been cleared, by the US military, in a report they refuse to release, of blame for killing 9 children in an air strike in Afghanistan in December. I feel so reassured. They do assure us that the incident resulted in a change in the rules of engagement. They won’t tell us what those rules of engagement are, what they were, or how they changed. I feel so very reassured.

Chile has legalized divorce, the last country in the Western Hemisphere to do so. Next stop, in 130 years: gay marriage!

Bush’s nominee to be assistant secretary of commerce for manufacturing and services turns out to have himself laid off his workers and opened a factory in China. The nomination may be withdrawn. In favor of a 22-year old Indian in Bangalore who’ll do the job for 1/6th the salary and no benefits, which for some reason will make Thomas Friedman very happy.

Just click here. Do it, I command you!

The Bushies threatened the chief Medicare actuary if he gave Congress the real cost of Bush’s Medicare proposals.

Bush was at the ground-breaking ceremony for a 9/11 memorial. Atrios headline: Bush Picks up Shovel and Actually Makes it Work. Reminds me of a favorite line about his father: he’s a man who calls a spade a shovel-thing.

And speaking of like-father etc, if you haven’t heard the term Muhammad Horton will. (Or google it now)

Astonishingly, the UN Security Council rushes to condemn ETA for the Madrid bombing, with no evidence that ETA was responsible (the right-wing Spanish government, heading into elections, really wanted it to be ETA)(which it probably wasn’t).

Bush made a statement on it. I was holding my breath waiting to see if he’d screw up PM Aznar’s name and/or job title yet again. Fortunately, he didn’t mention him.

Evidently recalls of cars, as ordered by the government, are sometimes issued only in certain states, because the defect relates to, say, cold or high temperatures. And it’s not like automobiles are, you know, mobile or something.

Hugo Chavez releases leaked documents from the US’s National Endowment for Democracy, which is spending $1m a year to overthrow him. Excuse me, I meant to say to build democracy. By overthrowing him. Most of it is seems to be fairly anodyne. They talk about bolstering the party system when they mean funding the opposition. But I’d like to draw your attention to one word in this sentence: “strengthening political parties remains a critical part of any long-term solution.” Did you spot the problematic word? If not, try again, I’ll be waiting in the next paragraph. No peeking.

How many of you got “solution”? Democracy is a process, one which is continuous. There is no solution. If you talk about democracy as a solution, you aren’t really interested in democracy.

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