“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

Monday, July 21, 2003

Bollettino

LI was off line for a bit there, kids. The power company switched off the juice. We have many and sundry comments to make about that, but none of them are interesting.

On to the Whirlwind Wolfowitz tour.

We've eagerly soaked up news of Wolfowitz touring his domain, liberated Iraq, this weekend. It is a topic loaded with satiric possibilities that cry out for an Evelyn Waugh, or at the very least, a Joseph Heller. Major Major Major among the Marsh Arabs for the photo op ... this is life imitated art with a vengeance. Enjoy it: after all, we are spending 4 billion dollars a month for the ticket.

In coordination with his boss, Wolf was on topic about the nasty Syrians and Iranians -- wars that look increasingly like the last presents in Santa's bag. Here is the semantically clueless graf from MSNBC about our man's latest bromide:

"MOSUL, Iraq, July 21 � U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz warned foreigners on Monday not to interfere in Iraq, in remarks aimed at Iraq's neighbours and suspected foreign fighters who may have arrived in the country."

Imagine that -- foreigners in Iraq! Like, for instance, the 150,000 Americans that seem less than native to our Mesopotamian Singapore? No, we're aiming our guns at Iran and Syria, with their serious threat to America, their weapons of mass destruction, their aiding of the 9/11 hijackers -- oops, that was last spring's speech. Still a good one, though.

Just the day before our man was in Baghdad, visiting the notorious Abu Ghraib prison (which one group of foreigners in Iraq, the Americans, have reopened for another round of penitentiary business). Here he is in the midst of the pot shot deaths of soldiers who, in March, in testimony before Congress, he was saying would be significantly thinned out by now -- remember the Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz claim that the Joint Chiefs of Staff General was full of it about how many soldiers would be required to occupy Iraq?

Baghdad, Iraq - On a day when two more American soldiers died in Iraqi attacks, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz visited the notorious Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad and urged U.S. officials to get their language straight about the conflict.

Wolfowitz, one of the architects of the U.S. invasion, insists that Iraqis attacking U.S. troops do not represent "resistance," but rather "forces of reaction" whose sole aim is to restore Saddam Hussein and thus regain positions of privilege and power they once enjoyed."

Wolfowitz apparently went about correcting people who were using 'resistance" by substituting his politically correct formula, "the forces of reaction." No wonder he is considered a wunderkind! Now, that should ease the injured and bind up the wounds of the Americans soldiers suffering, as Wolfowitz has never had to suffer, on the field of guerilla war battle -- which is in the street, guarding a bank, driving down a road, or buying a cassette. How groovy to be blown up by the forces of reaction! While being blown up by the resistance is a definite bummer.

In the meantime, the real quagmire in Iraq seems to be the past. A short term memory administration, plus a short termed memory press, plus the D.C. warrior set, seemed to be stuck in a pre-war moment, re-writing their reasons for getting us into Iraq in the first place. In this war, the pentagon papers have replaced the war itself with warp speed.

For us, this is really only of importance insofar as it gets us out of Iraq. The WP published an interesting little analysis of the Bush administration's release of intelligence reports that indicate that the CIA was worried less about the Al qaeda-Saddam link before the war (like LI, the CIA thought that Saddam was frankly too scared of the U.S. to back a man planning to attack us on our own ground) than about Saddam linking with Al qaeda after the war -- handing over the trophies of his brilliants weapons programs to stray Peshawar jihadists.

Personally, we don't buy that scenario. In fact, we are one of the doubters about Saddam's continued biological existence. We wouldn't be suprised if the Saddam heart rate was null over null. Not that it matters too much -- surely there are Saddam pretenders out there. But we do find Bush's intelligence and the misprision given to it by the administration and its vocal press cohort to be of interest. The WP article cites Bush -- a practice that the president likes to call revisionist history, since his belief is, if he can't remember saying something, why should other people bring it up? This is a very popular belief among alcoholics -- but say no more. We trust that Bush is on the wagon.

"Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists," President Bush said in Cincinnati on Oct. 7. "Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints."

Here's the killer following graf:

"But declassified portions of a still-secret National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released Friday by the White House show that at the time of the president's speech the U.S. intelligence community judged that possibility to be unlikely. In fact, the NIE, which began circulating Oct. 2, shows the intelligence services were much more worried that Hussein might give weapons to al Qaeda terrorists if he were facing death or capture and his government was collapsing after a military attack by the United States."Saddam, if sufficiently desperate, might decide that only an organization such as al Qaeda, . . . already engaged in a life-or-death struggle against the United States, could perpetrate the type of terrorist attack that he would hope to conduct," one key judgment of the estimate said. It went on to say that Hussein might decide to take the "extreme step" of assisting al Qaeda in a terrorist attack against the United States if it "would be his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him."

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