Monday, April 19, 2004

People are fungible

Whoops, used the word naked in a subject line yesterday, so Chris’s prissy work computer bounced it, with the odd comment:
<<< 553 5.0.0 Possible Naked Wife e-mail virus
I don’t even want to know what that means.

Speaking of prissy, an Afghan state-run tv station has banned shows with female singers.

Spanish prez Zapatero (who by the way opted to take a secular oath of office) is talking about pulling Spanish troops out of Iraq with immediate effect. I had thought he wouldn’t do this until June 30 and not then if there was a UN resolution, but he says there probably won’t be one so why wait. Well, “people are fungible” according to Rummy Rumsfeld, so what the heck.

Speaking of the Coalition of the Fungible, there is also some vague talk in Portugal about removing their contingent. Here’s something I didn’t know and should have: the Portuguese president, a socialist, is head of the armed forces and refused to send troops without a UN mandate. The conservative government did an end-run around him and sent police officers.

Kerry, on Meet the Press today, accused Bush of having an arrogant and stunningly ineffective foreign policy. Too bad he voted for so much of it. He also endorses Israel’s most recent assassination. Arguably, he suggested that they could/should wack Arafat as well. “I believe Israel has every right in the world to respond to any act of terror against it. Hamas is a terrorist, brutal organization. It has had years to make up its mind to take part in a peaceful process. They refuse to. Arafat refuses to.” Just as polls show the Israelis broadly supportive of the assassinations, American politicians are united in their grubbing for votes in Florida. The praise for Sharon, and he even took back his 1971 designation of Richard Nixon as a war criminal, highlights that he is not critical of Bush on moral grounds, simply for being ineffective and arrogant.

The Iraqi Resistance has been so successful in attacking supply lines that some soldiers are being rationed. So the US has decided to spread the misery to the entire Iraqi population, closing all main roads to non-US-military traffic. The Iraqis see this as collective punishment, which is partly correct: we’re not so much deliberately inflicting economic dislocation as completely indifferent to it.

We are, according to the NY Times, keeping in Iraq to the time-honored Israeli ratio of 10 of Them killed for every one of Us.

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