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Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Bollettino

The BBC news, doing its best to subvert the brightest and best that has been thought or spun -- at least if we confine this kind of thing, which can get out of hand, to the set of responsible Pentagon apparatchiks that operate in the circle around Wolfowitz -- featured a story on the Shi'ite protest of the Founding Convention at An Nasiriyah, under Smilin' Jay Garner, as always Iraq's number one choice for el jefe supremo. Jay, in an exclusive with the Scotsman, confided that he was reminded of the Philadelphia convention of 1787 himself:

"But General Jay Garner insisted that United States-style democracy could sprout on the shards of Saddam Hussein�s government.

"I don�t think they had a love-in when they had Philadelphia in 1787," he said before he left. "Anytime you start the process it�s fraught with dialogue, tensions, coercion, and should be."

Iraq, he suggested, could be the richest country in the Middle East within a few years."

That Jay, always with the history of Iraq at his fingertips -- and, of course, due to some thousands-weight of smart bombs and the cluster kind, Philadelphia in 1787 is, practically, Iraq's history now.

The Christian Science Monitor features this quote on the Philadelphia like meeting:


"Tuesday's meeting of Iraqis and Iraqi exiles in the shadow of the ancient ziggurat of Ur was simply the beginning of what is likely to be a lengthy process. Its ultimate aim, according to US officials: build a government in which all Iraqis, be they Sunni, Shiite, or Kurd, feel they have a representative voice."There are some very dangerous cleavages there," says Rashid Khalidi, a historian of the Middle East at the University of Chicago. "If exploited by outside forces they could cause problems."

Outside forces! Yikes! Like, say, a large superpower about 8,000 miles away, pulling all the strings?

Sorry about that. We've canned the pipsqueak that stole in and wrote that line. A cheap shot at our brave attempts to forge an Iraq fit for the vision of Iraq's corps of eager beaver proconsuls in D.C. An Iraq in which every corporation could participate in the sweet, sweet air of freedom sweeping that great Middle Eastern piece of real estate; in which, privatized, the natural resources of that great country can flow as the invisible hand intended them to; in which, angry at the wickedness of their neighbors, the government might even support staging surgical improvements, via the latest weaponry, in Damascus and Teheran, if this is so suggested by a close ally.

In other events celebrating the dawn of democracy, the NYT reported that "similar demonstrations [to those staged by the Shi'ites] were under way in Baghdad. In Mosul, an angry crowd stoned an Iraqi opposition leader praising the arrival of United States marines. A gun battle ensued in which 10 Iraqis were reported killed and 16 were wounded.

"The senior Shiite cleric in the holy city of Najaf, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sestani, sent a message through his son today saying he was in hiding until the religious strife that has included murders and demonstrations there subsided."

A gun battle? No doubt instigated by Rashid Kalidi's "outside forces." Although according to the WP, the NYT story reports that US Marines were the gunners. Here's another story, from Australia, about these confusing, although unimportant, events:

"US forces accused of shooting on an angry crowd in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul overnight said they had come under fire from at least two gunmen and fired back, but did not aim at the crowd.

The shots came as the newly-appointed governor of the city was making a speech from the building housing his offices which was deemed too pro-US by his listeners, witnesses said."There were protesters outside, 100 to 150, there was fire, we returned fire," a US military spokesman said."

Although the returned fire was trained on a roof, apparently ten to twelve people in the crowd died. But the reporting on this incident reminds us -- do we hear an echo here -- of the way Palestinian deaths somehow involve rockthrowing crowds, totally innocent gunplay by soldiers, and the miraculous, and unimportant, deaths of ten here, three there.

So it goes as Philadelphia like feelings permeate the junketeers of freedom over there, and all of us over here. God bless and good night.

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