Saturday, August 14, 2004

Imperialism and imperial hubris

Giving a press conference on Al Jazeera, Muqtada al-Sadr says, "Najaf has triumphed over imperialism and imperial hubris." That would be a set-back for George Bush, whose slogan is "4 More Years of Imperialism and Imperial Hubris." I wonder how much of the timing of the start & stop siege of Najaf is related to the Republican convention. That may also be behind the ban on Al Jazeera: preventing a split-screen presentation of pictures of the convention and of the bombing of whatever Iraqi city we’ll be bombing that week, like the 1968 D convention and the protestors. The whole world isn’t watching, if our tame censors can do anything about it.

Speaking of imperialism and imperial hubris, Colin Powell, in an interview with the Atlantic Monthly, says, "The United States believes it has worldwide obligations. Our European friends have never felt that that was their destiny or their obligation." How ignorant of history do you have to be to make a statement like that. Wait, it gets better: "The average European citizen, looking around, sees some of these out-of-the-way places like Afghanistan and the Balkans and Iraq." Who do you think used to go to war with each other on a regular basis to take those areas as colonies?

Speaking of hubris, Niyazov, the dictator of Turkmenistan who has exceeded even my taste for wacky news stories, has ordered a palace entirely constructed of ice to be built in his hot central Asian country. The Indy calls him neo-Stalinist, although neo-Dr. Evil seems more like it. It quotes one of his poems: "I am the Turkmen spirit reborn to bring you a golden age. I am your saviour ... My sight is sharp - I see everything. If you are honest in your deeds, I see this; if you commit wrongdoing; I see that too." So maybe it’s neo-Santa Clausism, which would explain the ice palace.

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