Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sea change

Guantanamo hunger strike update: 11 hunger strikers, 5 being forcibly fed. And the military is still using the line that hunger striking is “consistent with Al Qaeda practice” and claiming that no demands have been made by the prisoners.

Olympia Snowe reports that Bush told her Monday (at a meeting with 30 Republican senators and zero Democratic senators; he didn’t even try to make it a bipartisan event by inviting a senator from the Connecticut for Lieberman party) that what would be different about the New Way Forward (TM) is that Maliki has experienced a “sea change” in his attitude. I don’t know about you, but all this talk about surges and sea changes just makes me have to pee. I’d also like more details about what Bush said: the sea change thing suggests that he admitted that up until now Maliki has been acting in a sectarian manner and failing to confront the Shiite death squads and militias. Even if Bush’s assessment of Maliki changing his sea (or whatever that nautical term means) were true, which it isn’t, it would hardly matter. Bush, with his authoritarian inclinations, likes to assume that if the Man At The Top has sufficient “will,” he can accomplish anything, but Maliki’s powers are severely circumscribed, his influence limited, and his reputation among non-Shiites bad.

New video and stills of the dead body of the last guy who could turn his will into results, Saddam Hussein, are available, and yick.

Oh, and here’s something I haven’t seen outside of the, of all places, Daily Telegraph: something like 100 Shiites held hostage in order to prevent Saddam’s execution have been hanged from lampposts in Baghdad.

The article also says that the number of copy-cat hangings by children around the world is up to 7.

Since he’s dead, the charges against Saddam for ordering the extermination of Kurds have been dropped, but the trial of his co-defendants continues. Yesterday they played tapes of Saddam. Can it be a fair trial if they can’t call Saddam as a defense witness?

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