Saturday, August 13, 2005

Normally we would storm a house killing everyone inside

As I predicted yesterday, Bush’s threat of military force against Iran was ignored in the US. It didn’t appear anywhere in today’s NYT, although to be fair it was a heavy news day, with “FDA Imposes Tougher Rules for Acne Drug” appearing above the fold on the front page (no, no link, my pimply-faced readers). However it was noticed by eagle-eyed German Chancellor Schröder, who criticized it strongly, and said that Germany would not participate in military action, not that anyone was asking. More astonishingly, Britain issued a statement that “We do not think there are any circumstances where military action would be justified against Iran.”

Iraqi president Talabani says that a deal can be reached on the constitution ahead of schedule, tomorrow in fact. All they have to do is pull an all-nighter and resolve the piddling details of oil-revenuing sharing, federalism and the role of Islam. So except for the form of government, how it will be funded, and what principles will underlie its legal system, they’ve pretty much got it all worked out. Well, they’ve got the name down, Republic of Iraq, a compromise worked out (with only a few fatalities), which is good because up until now whenever somebody wanted to attract Iraq’s attention they’d have to call out “Hey, you,” which was a little awkward. Really, if a constitution doesn’t address the fundamental issues, it’s not actually a constitution at all, and its usefulness is exactly zero, it performs no function. You can hardly, for example, get a court to declare a law unconstitutional when the constitution itself consists of the only thing all the delegates were able to agree on, that last Tuesday’s lunch could have been better.

The state of play with Venezuela is this: Chavez accused DEA agents operating in his country of espionage and ends cooperation on drugs with the DEA. The US responded by revoking the visas of Venezuelan military officers it claims to suspect of drug trafficking, although if so you have to wonder why they waited to revoke the visas until this little tit-for-tat fest. Venezuela will now revoke the diplomatic immunity of DEA agents and may stop issuing visas to Americans altogether.

In that story, the NYT feebly attempts to implement its new policy on anonymous sources, explaining the reason for the anonymity:
"Venezuela is being stricken by drug trafficking," an American official in Colombia who is involved in fighting drugs, said in a recent interview on condition of anonymity because of agency policy.
Oh well, policy, that explains everyfuckingthing.

Sunday Times article on Israeli army plans to send in the psychologists and rabbis to convince Gaza settlers to leave.
“Normally we would storm a house killing everyone inside, whereas here we have to storm the house and keep everyone alive,” said one commander. “It’s not an easy job.”
Former New Zealand PM David Lange, who fought the US over his non-nuclear policy in the 1980s, has died at 63.

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