Friday, March 18, 2005

No better story

Condolencia Rice (as Hugo Chávez calls her) in Afghanistan: “There could be no better story than the story of Afghanistan in the last several years”. I dunno, the one about the priest, the rabbi and the talking dog was a pretty good story too. She kept talking about the Afghans’ “commitment” to democracy, which remains as unfulfilled as my commitment to drop a few pounds. Condi explained the latest postponement of parliamentary elections (now 15 months behind schedule) as being because Afghanistan is a large and complicated country. Has it grown in size and complexity since it somehow managed to hold presidential elections? In the absence of a parliament, there is no democracy; without checks on his power, Karzai is by definition a dictator.

Incidentally, as an example of the State Dept’s competence and professionalism in dealing with and understanding this part of the world, note the blank spots in the transcript on the State Dept website (link in previous paragraph) whenever a reporter or Karzai spoke in their native language. Just as our new goodwill ambassador to the Muslim world, Karen Hughes, doesn’t need to know Arabic to perform that job, no one at State needs to know Pashto. If it was important, they’d say it in English.

Speaking of professionalism, Porter Goss told a Senate committee yesterday that the US doesn’t use torture because torture is not “professional interrogation.” Like not wearing a tie to work. Nice that he takes such a principled stand. Actually, what he said is that there is no torture “at this time.” Which could just refer to the time zone difference.

And just to combine the topics of Afghanistan and torture, here’s a (long) Guardian investigation of the many American detention centers/concentration camps in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

According to the London Times, Fidel Castro recently gave a “generally upbeat 5¾ hour speech, two hours of which he devoted to the merits of the pressure cooker which he is distributing cut-price to all Cuban households.”

Speaking of cut-price pressure cookers, Congress really did subpoena the late Terri Schiavo, they really really did. At least she’d be the smartest person in the room.

Speaking of the culture of life, when the Argentinian health minister recently said that he supported legalizing abortion, the Catholic bishop to the armed forces said he should have a millstone hung around his neck and be thrown from a helicopter. In the 1970s, this was a favorite method of the military in killing left-wingers in Argentina.

George shows where Dick Cheney touched him.

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