Sunday, July 31, 2005

Fit for duty

Bush passed his medical checkup. His doctors say he is “fit for duty.” I’d like a second opinion.

James Wolfensohn, former head of the World Bank, has some helpful decorating advice for the Palestinians: use the rubble left after the Gaza settlements are demolished. Very DIY. I’m picturing Fred Flintstone’s house.

For a long time the Bush administration has bent over backwards to avoid any criticism of the dissident-boiling Karimov regime in Uzbekistan (see my many posts on the subject in May of this year), so it’s a little funny to read the claim that the US has been evicted from its Uzbek air base because of a rather modest call for an international inquiry into the May massacres, an inquiry it knows will never happen, and for asking Kyrgyzstan not to return some Uzbeks to certain death. And by funny, I mean unbelievable. Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, explains that the whole thing is actually about... wait for it... oil. Karimov has simply opted for the Russians rather than Americans to develop his oil and gas resources. Murray adds, “The US has managed to hand the dictator Karimov the propaganda coup of kicking out the world’s greatest power. ... If they had any dignity they would have jumped before they were pushed.”

The British government, by the way, which tried repeatedly to silence Murray while he was ambassador, including by claiming that he was an adulterer and a drunk, is now trying to block publication of a book he has written about the US and Britain’s implication in torture.

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