“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Sunday, July 06, 2003


Here's an item from the NYT.

"Military families, so often the ones to put a cheery face on war, are growing vocal. Since major combat for the 150,000 troops in Iraq was declared over on May 1, more than 60 Americans, including 25 killed in hostile encounters, have died in Iraq, about half the number of deaths in the two months of the initial campaign.

Frustrations became so bad recently at Fort Stewart, Ga., that a colonel, meeting with 800 seething spouses, most of them wives, had to be escorted from the session.

"They were crying, cussing, yelling and screaming for their men to come back," said Lucia Braxton, director of community services at Fort Stewart."

And here is an item from Aristophanes:

LYSISTRATA We will explain our idea.
MAGISTRATE Out with it then; quick, or... (threatening her).
LYSISTRATA (sternly) Listen, and never a movement, please!
MAGISTRATE (in impotent rage)Oh! it is too much for me! I cannot keep my temper!

LEADER OF CHORUS OF WOMEN Then look out for yourself; you have more to fear than we have.
MAGISTRATE Stop your croaking, you old crow! (To LYSISTRATA) Now you, saywhat you have to say.

LYSISTRATA Willingly. All the long time the war has lasted, we have enduredin modest silence all you men did; you never allowed us to open ourlips. We were far from satisfied, for we knew how things were going;often in our homes we would hear you discussing, upside down andinside out, some important turn of affairs. Then with sad hearts,but smiling lips, we would ask you: Well, in today's Assembly did theyvote peace?-But, "Mind your own business!" the husband would growl,"Hold your tongue, please!" And we would say no more.

CLEONICE I would not have held my tongue though, not I!
MAGISTRATEYou would have been reduced to silence by blows then.
LYSISTRATA Well, for my part, I would say no more. But presently I would cometo know you had arrived at some fresh decision more fatally foolish than ever. "Ah! my dear man," I would say, "what madness next!" But he would only look at me askance and say: "Just weave your web, please;else your cheeks will smart for hours. War is men's business!"
MAGISTRATE Bravo! well said indeed!
LYSISTRATA How now, wretched man? not to let us contend against your follies was bad enough! But presently we heard you asking out loud in the open street: "Is there never a man left in Athens?" and, "No,not one, not one," you were assured in reply. Then, then we made upour minds without more delay to make common cause to save Greece. Open your ears to our wise counsels and hold your tongues, and we may yet put things on a better footing.
MAGISTRATE You put things indeed! Oh! this is too much! The insolence ofthe creatures!
MAGISTRATE May I die a thousand deaths ere I obey one who wears a veil!

Michael Massing examines one of Bush's "expert" appointees in Iraq, a man named James Haveman. Here's his bio, starting from the point at which he was appointed "advisor" to the Health ministry:

"Haveman, 60, was largely unknown among international public health professionals. A social worker by training, he has no medical degree or any formal instruction in public health, and he hasn't been in the military. From 1991 to 2002, he served in the cabinet of John Engler, the Republican governor of Michigan, directing state health programs. Most of Haveman's recent overseas experience had come through International Aid, a Christian relief organization that provides health care and spreads the Gospel in the Third World."

It gets much worse. Haveman's expertise seems to be in closing down health care units in Michigan, under the ever egregious Governor Engler. He's an evangelical pur et dur. International Aid is an organization dedicated to preventing birth control whereever it happens, and bringing the heathen to the Lord. The former might be more than acceptable to Iraq, but the latter is bound to cause trouble. In fact, it is ridiculously bound to cause trouble. Could you appoint a person more likely to burn Iraqi sensibilities if you made a search?

Ah, but Haveman does have one thing going for him. He's a Republican activist.

The US made its position in Vietnam one bad decision at a time. Bush seems determined to make his bad decisions all at once, in big clumps.

Finally, a casualty report from Bloomberg:

"A U.S. soldier was shot and critically wounded in Iraq, bringing to at least 28 the number of U.S. casualties in the country in the past four days. The soldier, from the 352nd Civil Affairs Command, was shot in the head while guarding Baghdad University in the center of the capital, U.S. military spokesman Corporal Todd Pruden said in an interview. The soldier was taken to hospital, Pruden added.

Attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq have become an almost daily occurrence since the beginning of June. At least 26 have died since President George W. Bush declared an end to major combat operations on May 1. Six British soldiers were killed in southern Iraq in June."

We need a Lysistrata.

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