Friday, May 21, 2004

An active kind of death zone

The government’s attempt to prosecute Greenpeace using an 1872 law aimed at keeping brothel-keepers off ships was laughed out of court.

Dennis Hastert lectured John McCain about sacrifices in wartime. Really.

And no, Hastert slimed his way out of Vietnam.

Hastert also mocked McCain’s credentials as a Republican. Honestly, can we have an exchange of prisoners, on a bridge in Berlin on a foggy night, where McCain joins the D’s (admittedly, on its right wing), and the R’s have to take Zel Miller?

I find that through an oversight I’ve failed to mention William “My God Can Beat Up Your God” Boykin’s role in getting the Abu Ghraib torture-and-comic-photo center up and running. In fact, that’s why he couldn’t be fired last fall, despite being the poster boy for the invasion of Iraq as holy crusade (Americans may have forgotten about Boykin quickly, but I had a new alert set up at, and believe me the Arabic media figured out a way to insert him into every story for months).

Kerry has promised that if he’s elected, virtually all US troops will be out of Iraq by the end of his first term. Um, that’s 2009. The AP notes that he’s using the same peace-with-honor language as Nixon in 1968. In an interview with AP, he used the sort of language that will make him the 2nd D prez candidate to be soundly trounced by Dubya in debates: “Look, you may have some deployments of people for a long period of time in the Middle East depending on what the overall approach to the Middle East is. I'm not going to tell you we won't shift deployments from one place to another, but we're not going to be engaged in an active kind of death zone the way we are today.” Also, he has to stop saying that he’s going to get other countries to send troops. That will not happen, and no one believes it will, including Kerry.

By the way, have you been reading the “Kerryisms” on Slate?
(I like a URL that tells you what it is)
This story is no surprise to the few of us who haven’t forgotten that the US military arrested the wives and mothers of generals and other Iraqis they wanted to surrender themselves. Another fine old Iraqi custom, like torture and rape, to which American occupiers adopted like a duck to water.

Jon Stewart’s commencement address at William & Mary:
Lets talk about the real world for a moment. We had been discussing it earlier, and I…I wanted to bring this up to you earlier about the real world, and this is I guess as good a time as any. I don’t really know to put this, so I’ll be blunt. We broke it. ...

But here’s the good news. You fix this thing, you’re the next greatest generation, people. You do this—and I believe you can—you win this war on terror, and Tom Brokaw’s kissing your ass from here to Tikrit, let me tell ya. And even if you don’t, you’re not gonna have much trouble surpassing my generation. If you end up getting your picture taken next to a naked guy pile of enemy prisoners and don’t give the thumbs up you’ve outdid us.

The whole thing here.

Gay Republicans in North Carolina are shocked to discover that non-gay Republicans in North Carolina don’t like gay Republicans.

What is it with the military and thumbs up?

Another Write your own Tom Friedman column, totally different from the last one I sent. And funnier.

Yesterday, the US couldn’t keep its story straight over whether it bombed a house or a wedding party, whether they did it with planes or helicopters. It’s still not clear today, with footage of the mass burials going all over the Arab world. The US’s response: to demand the name of the cameraman from Al Arabiya. The Marine general in charge claims not to understand how all those women and children got dead, although “bad things happen in wars,” but says “These were more than two dozen military-age males. Let's not be naive.” There should be another, what, eight million military-age males, so let’s get cracking! The Indy comprehensively demolishes the US case. Mark Kimmitt, M.M., defends the massacre by darkly observing that guns, Syrian passports and a satellite phone were found. Wedding gifts? Seriously, guns in Iraq not a big surprise, Syrian passports 10 miles from the Syrian border--what are the odds? a satellite phone in an area with no other phone service... The general poo-poos that there would be a wedding in “the middle of the desert 10 miles from the Syrian border... 80 miles from the nearest civilisation”. The survivors respond: that’s where we live, you moron! They also say they did not fire guns off (and certainly not at 2 in the morning, when the attack occurred). This is the first report that answers the obvious question: the bride and groom did both survive. The musicians did not.

Guardian editorial, “Lies about Crimes.”

The FDA bans gay men donating sperm anonymously. Is sperm a food or a drug?

So what to make of the raid on Chalabi’s home? So many reasons have been given for it--thefts of Iraqi government property, currency fraud, his militia is extorting people, giving intelligence to Iran, to make him look good to the Iraqis, he was plotting a coup, and half a dozen I can’t think of at the moment--and most of them good, unlike the reasons for the invasion of Iraq, so many of them false and so many provided by Chalabi. Poetic justice, or something. American policy in Iraq right now is so disjointed and incoherent that I can’t even guess how this fits in. Heard Rumsfeld actually insist that the US had nothing to do with this (a lie), knew nothing about it (a lie no sane person would believe), you should really ask the Iraqis.

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