Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Wait, you’re saying that the US is susceptible to harm and pain? That hardly seems fair.

So let me get this straight. The US has been threatening Iran with everything from sanctions to military action to, just yesterday, the vague but sinister “meaningful consequences,” but when an Iranian official with the delightful name Javad Vaeedi responds that “The United States may have the power to cause harm and pain but it is also susceptible to harm and pain,” Little Scottie McClellan smugly scolds that “Provocative statements and actions only further isolate Iran from the rest of the world.” Sometimes the total lack of self-awareness takes your breath away. Next thing you know, McClellan will accuse Iran of repeating the same stupid talking points over and over and of having no neck.

A British MP plans to enter into a gay marriage. Ben Bradshaw is the minister for animal welfare (which includes a lot of work on bird flu). There’s probably a bad joke in there, which I will leave to others.

For whatever it’s worth, under Britain’s new civil partnership legislation, twice as many gay men as lesbians have registered.

When the guy in charge of the Baghdad morgue fled the country a few days ago, we pretty much knew it was because he was being threatened to stop reporting murders by Shiite death squads. The WaPo now runs a story about orders not to count those deaths, but to continue to report on deaths caused by terrorist bombs. And just yesterday Rummy complained about media “exaggerations” all being on one side. The Post also details the run-around Iraqi officials gave them about those numbers, and how the morgue suddenly has the security of an Iranian nuclear facility.

So is it a civil war yet? Number of casualties is one important indicator. Another is the number of Iraqi men under arms in militias, death squads, and whatever else they’ve got. I really have no idea, and with the loyalties of many of those in government police or military or Interior Ministry uniforms being unclear, divided, or protean, anything close to a precise number is impossible to achieve. I’d be happy with a general sense of whether the number is increasing over time.

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