Saturday, August 21, 2004

Those bloodstains were there when we moved in

The turning over of the keys is turning into a farce. Ayatollah Sistani, conveniently out of the country, won’t accept the keys until the shrine is vacated. But Sadr’s people won’t turn over the keys until someone from Sistani’s office inspects the place and confirms none of the treasures have been taken; Sistani’s people are rightly worried about being shot by someone if they come near the place. One minute it’s a civil and international war, the next minute a fight over the cleaning deposit.

What I’d like to hear is the Allawi clique’s explanation for why it claimed to have taken charge of the mosque yesterday. Update: the Observer likens this claim to the utterances of "Comical Ali."

Atrios has the transcript of the Senate testimony of John Kerry. Too bad that guy isn’t running for president, instead of the John Kerry we’re stuck with, who almost seems to romanticize the war.

Matthew Parris, a British, gay, Tory former MP and former parliamentary sketchwriter for The Times (for a hilarious description of a House of Lords debate on "buggery," click here) has written a good serious article on the "primitivisation" of the law, the "disturbing urge to elbow the formal structures of the rule of law impatiently aside in pursuit of those we hate". Most Times stories aren’t available on the Web outside Britain, but this one seems to be, here. Or if that doesn’t work, here’s the cached version.

Another London Times story begins "Ten-year-old Abbas is saving up his pocket money for a hand grenade. He wants an American one to throw at the huge US tanks that sit on every key crossroads of Sadr City. He doesn't want an Iraqi one although, at €3, it is half the price." And reports this graffito in Baghdad: "Country for sale: contact Iyad Allawi." A truncated version (reg. required).

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