Sunday, August 05, 2007

Underestimating the depth of the misunderstanding and mistrust

In February I passed on a story in the Sunday Times about a 5-year old Palestinian girl, Marya Aman, whose family’s car was hit by an Israeli rocket, killing her mother, brother and grandmother and turning her into a quadriplegic. The Israeli High Court has now temporarily blocked the attempt of the government to forcibly remove her from her hospital bed in Jerusalem to the West Bank (what’s left of her family lives in Gaza), where the inferior care available might well kill her. So, um, hurrah for the Israeli High Court.

Actually, I had rather assumed that the original story would have embarrassed the Israeli government into acting like human beings. Silly me.

Secretary of War Robert Gates went on Meet the Press today. He continues to be wildly successful in his job, which consists of not being Donald Rumsfeld. He suggested that reconciliation is not going well in Iraq because “I think we, perhaps, all underestimated the depth of the misunderstanding and mistrust among these sections, among these factions in Baghdad over time”. Mistrust certainly, but not misunderstanding: the factions understand each other perfectly well. That is why they mistrust each other.

He says that the “military side of the surge” has been successful, and he offers proof in a not entirely reassuring manner: “There’s one major town – I’m not going to name it because I don’t want it to be a target – but there’s one major town in Anbar that has not had a, an IED explosion since February.”

Asked if the US might act unilaterally in Pakistan, á la Obama, Gates said, “I think we would not act without telling Musharraf what we were planning to do.” So that’s okay then.

“President” Karzai is in Camp David. For the second time in a week, Bush engaged in his favorite game of aiming his golf cart at the press corps, pretending he intends to run them over, with a world leader in the passenger seat (and the First Ladybot, who actually has killed someone with a motor vehicle). Hilarity ensued.

Where can I get me one a those hats?

Meanwhile in Seoul, there was a demonstration demanding that the US negotiate for the return of the Korean missionaries being held and/or executed by the Taliban. One of the demonstrators wins the prize for creepiest mask at a demonstration.

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