Wednesday, July 26, 2006

They have poured acid into Iraq’s dictatorial wounds

Sen. Tom Coburn: “How many people really think it’s in the best interest of young people to be sexually active outside of marriage? Does anything positive ever come from that?” That’s a trick question, right?

Condi, at a meeting of foreign ministers in Rome, scuttled a resolution calling for a cease-fire in the Middle East, because cease-fires in the Middle East are often broken, “And every time there is a broken cease-fire, people die, there is destruction and there is misery.” Whereas if there’s no cease-fire at all, Condi...? Lebanese PM Saniora asked if the Lebanese people are “children of a lesser God.” That’s a trick question, right?

Bush hung out some more with new BFF Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki today. They went to Fort Belvoir. Bush eschewed “interesting” in favor of a new favorite adjective, “amazing”: “We were talking here at the table, and I was commenting that it’s amazing, isn’t it, where some people decide to kill innocent lives to stop freedom” and “The amazing thing about our military is that people have had to say, I want to serve.” So the American military and the Iraqi insurgents are both amazing.

Bush practiced some more of his ophthalmological telepathy: “The Prime Minister came, and he didn’t say this directly to me but I could tell by looking in my eyes he wanted to make sure that this was a President who kept his word.”

I don’t quite know what to do with this sentence: “One thing the Prime Minister told me getting out of the limousine, after having flown on the helicopter -- (laughter) -- was that he longs for the day when the Iraqi children can live in a hopeful society.”

Maliki was allowed to address Congress today, despite his failure to issue a statement in support of Israel’s attack on Lebanon (Howard Dean should be ashamed of himself). I’ve been meaning to point out that some time in the period since the assassination of Zarqawi, the myth that non-Iraqis have more than the slightest role in sustaining the Iraqi insurgency has finally died a quiet death. Even Bush, even Rumsfeld wouldn’t trot that one out now. But as the civil war-ness of the violence in Iraq becomes ever clearer even to the most obtuse, the less wider significance it seems to have. The US is no longer fighting global terror or beginning a democratic revitalization of the entire region; rather, it is backing one side in a grubby, vicious, decidedly local conflict in which it is hard to locate any “good guys.” Maliki’s job today was to try to obscure all that, although his version of optimism is decidedly dark: “Trust that Iraq will be the graveyard for terrorism and terrorists for the good of all humanity.” What’s going on in Iraq is not a sectarian conflict, he asserted: “Terrorism has no religion.” He insisted that the 9/11 hijackers are “the same terrorists” now fighting in Iraq.

In fact, he said a lot of crap that sounded like Bush rhetoric – freedom is a gift from God, “ink-stained fingers waving in pride,” “Iraq is free, and the terrorists cannot stand this,” “not allow Iraq to become a launch pad for Al Qaida,” etc – I’m not sure if someone told him that sounding like Bush would make him popular in the US or if the speech was actually written for him by the White House.

Ink-stained fingers waving in pride?

I’m not sure if this imagery is any better: “They have poured acid into Iraq’s dictatorial wounds and created many of their own.” Ouch.

Maliki gave one rather interesting (if Bush isn’t going to use the word, I can) reproof to the US, although from the applause I’m not sure the congresscritters got it: “In 1991, when Iraqis tried to capitalize on the regime’s momentary weakness and rose up, we were alone again.”

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