“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

Saturday, December 17, 2005

announcement

The NYT article about Jack Abramoff’s covert payments to a Cato Institute columnist, Doug Bandow, includes this interesting graf:

“A second scholar, Peter Ferrara, of the Institute for Policy Innovation, acknowledged in the same BusinessWeek Online piece that he had also taken money from Mr. Abramoff in exchange for writing certain opinion articles. But Mr. Ferrara did not apologize for doing so. "I do that all the time," Mr. Ferrara was quoted as saying. He did not reply to an e-mail message seeking comment on Friday.”

We were a little heartened by Ferrara’s damn the torpedoes attitude because.. and we say this with great sorrow in our hearts – LI, too, has been on, or can be construed by some pink liberal commentator as being on, Abramoff’s retainer. In our position as policy coordinator at the libertarian “Abolish taxes and borrow money until 2100 comes around” institute – known around D.C., affectionately, as the Raw Steakeaters thinktank and mudwrestling extravaganza – we, well, we had a little gambling problem developed when we were scientifically researching the exciting field of Public Choice theory in Reno at The Golden Spur. As a result of this unfortunate shortfall, we were more open than we perhaps should have been to Jack Abramoff’s suggestion that we rename our institute “Abolish taxes and make gambling illegal except on Indian Reservations and borrow money until the Year 2100.” By the way, we have now gone back to our old name. And we – or at least me – LI – is going to return every hot cent of that inducement that, in the new era of puritanical morality, is being called a bribe. Returning that money will require a brief trip, in the spring, to the Preekness, but we have a pretty good line on a couple of ponies recommended by Bill Bennett. In the meantime, we’d like to issue an apology, and assure our base of supporters that we will continue to issue our fine white papers, such as the one coming out: “How lowering the tax rate to 0 percent for incomes over 200 thousand actually increases government revenue: the latest napkin graph.” We are scotching the one entitled: “Much wampum, make woopee, why Ralph Reed is good for America.”

ps -- continuing on the corruption note:

If you wonder why the American perception of Iraq is confused, consider this: a minor candidate in Basra whose party leader just happened to go to Israel last year gets profiled as a sort of representative of Iraq not just by the Washington Post, but by the New York Times, too.

Neither article voices any criticism of him at all. Neither paper accompanies any non-secular candidates at all. Imagine two newspapers in France covering the American election in 2004 by concentrating on a socialist candidate for mayor in Burlington, Vermont, and you get the feeling for the propaganda outlets that the major media have become.

Amazing. No wonder the AEI crowd still thinks we “won the war’ in Iraq.

Our major newspapers can only become the garbage outlets for Bush propaganda for so long before they will simply disconnect from their readership altogether. I wonder if the journalists and editors think it is worth sacrificing the business in order to be counted among the movers and shakers in D.C. I guess I shouldn't wonder, though. The governing class has little interest in telling the truth to the governed, and every interest in keeping America confined in the bubble of its projection -- that projection that sees little wannabe Americas all over the world.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Darwin's funeral

LI received hundreds of protests by maddened Arnold-ites because of yesterday’s post, all asking: where is the link to Arnold’s Science and Literature, you putz?

To regroup, then. Huxley’s charge that learning the inflexions of the Latin verb for "the sex act from the rear” might not be the best preparation for the sprat bourgeoisie in Oxbridge has been amplified, over the years. Our concern, however, is with the unraveling of a certain liberal compromise deftly mapped by White. The Arnold – Huxley friendship/controversy set canonical limits to the gradual replacement of the religious worldview as having truthful reference to the material makeup of the world by the scientific worldview. Consequently, the question of the value of the material makeup, and the question of value itself, shifted, so that the gentleman’s agreement became: science tells us all we need to know about the facts; but the humanities – and in an extended sense, liberal religion – should monopolize the question of the good and the beautiful. This is an odd division of labor for a culture to come up with. Perhaps all the odd and frightening Christian fundamentalist rhetoric in the U.S. – with the Republican party becoming very much like, say, SCIRI for Americans – shows that that division no longer functions.

Actually, LI doesn’t think so. The strange events that occurred in Dover, Pennsylvania show, I think, how useful that division is, and how far it has sunk into the consciousness of late capitalist societies. While the average Dover burger attends church and participates in the savage rites of evangelical Christianity with a degree of froth that would satisfy any of the impresarios of ignorance headquartered in Lynchburg, Virginia, the same burgers are not, apparently, willing to sacrifice their children on the altar of the All to well known God and his book of fairy tales, otherwise known as the Book of Genesis. So the board of education that was eager to subject Dover’s kids to the same invigorating education received by Kabul’s kiddies under the late lamented Taliban were all dumped from office as unceremoniously as yokels dump the poor unfortunates that sit on those seats at the country fair shys into tubs of water when a well aimed ball hits a certain electrically charged target. It is all just good, knockabout fun in Dover, I'm sure.

Usually, the religion/science divide in the States takes the Scopes trial as a defining point. But White’s article recalls us to another defining moment – one that occurred in an actual civilization, not the whatever-it-is we have in the U.S. This was Darwin’s interment in Westminister Abbey.

This is what Arnold wrote about Darwin in his reply to Huxley:

“I have heard it said that the sagacious and admirable naturalist whom we lost not very long ago, Mr. Darwin, once owned to a friend that for his part he did not experience the necessity for two things which most men find so necessary to them,— religion and poetry; science and the domestic affections, he thought, were enough. To a born naturalist, I can well understand that this should seem so. So absorbing is his occupation with nature, so strong his love for his occupation, that he goes on acquiring natural knowledge and reasoning upon it, and has little time or inclination for thinking about getting it related to the desire in man for conduct, the desire in man for beauty. He relates it to them for himself as he goes along, so far as he feels the need; and he draws from the domestic affections all the additional solace necessary. But then Darwins are extremely rare. Another great and admirable master of natural knowledge, Faraday, was a Sandemainian. That is to say he related his knowledge to his instinct for conduct and to his instinct for beauty, by the aid off that respectable Scottish sectary Robert Sandeman. And so strong, in general, is the demand of religion and poetry to have their share in a man, to associate themselves with his knowing, and to relieve and rejoice it, that, probably, for one man amongst us with the disposition to do as Darwin did in this respect there are at least fifty with the disposition to do as Faraday.”

Arnold’s use of Faraday is the ancestor of all the polls those tedious conservative commentators are always brandishing telling us how many scientists believe in God, and how many believe in Tinkerbell. Of course, these polls depend upon a very liberal interpretation of scientist, such that the coach who teaches industrial arts in high school gets in on the set on equal footing with Richard Dawkins. The more interesting thing, to me, is that Arnold’s hint that Darwin was a bit of an unbeliever did not influence the Westminister Abbey scene. The mover of that scene was a popular Anglican divine, Arthur Stanley. Stanley’s type has since become the joy of satiric novelists like Waugh. He is ecumenical to a fault. This is from White:

Stanley’s vision of a broad Anglican culture was announced in a sermon preached in 1865 on the 800th anniversary of the foundation of the Abbey by King Edward the Confessor. Its pavement and walls, Stanley declared, refl ected the interests of the commonwealth throughout its stages, with “Roman, Puritan, Non-conformist ... [and] doubting sceptic hard by the enthusiastic believer ... opposing parties both in Church and State co-existing, neutralising, counteracting, completing each other, neither by the other subdued, each by the other endured.... Here, at least, all Englishmen may forget their differences, and feel for the moment as one family gathered round the same Christmas hearth”. The representation of men of science in this pantheon was substantially increased during Stanley’s offi ce, with the interment of John Herschel, Lyell, and Darwin, among others. The suggestion of a Darwin memorial had apparently been made by Farrar, who described having broached the subject with Huxley and William Spottiswoode at the Athenaeum, and who assured Huxley “that we clergy [are] not all so bigoted as he supposed”. Farrar consulted with Stanley on the
matter, preached the funeral sermon at the nave service, and served as one of the pallbearers, along with Lubbock, Huxley, Wallace, Hooker, Spottiswoode, and others.

In Historical memorials of Westminster Abbey, Stanley described individual shrines of the great and the good, with chapters on the Ladies of the Tudor Court, Modern Statesmen, Philanthropists, Poets, Theologians, Men of Letters, and Men of Science.
Of the latter, Stanley remarked that, because of the slow, gradual growth of science in England, it had no special place in the Abbey but rather “penetrated promiscuously into every part, much in the same way as it [had] imperceptibly influenced all our
social and literary relations elsewhere.”

For all the ridicule Stanley type has attracted, the religious ceremony over the man who destroyed, once and for all, the credibility of the divine creation of man seems to LI to be a pretty good compromise. The Dover burgers are right.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

science and culture

LI is reviewing a book that was chosen by the Conservative book club for the Austin Statesman. We won’t go into the book too much here. What has struck us, however, in this book and the author’s previous books is an odd, barely concealed hostility to science that crystallizes around evolution. The author of the book has a theory, which we think is untenable, that science is the linear descendent of Christian theology. His ideas echo those put forth by Steve Fuller in the Dover trial, with Newton’s theological concerns being exhibit number one. Permit us to politely dissent. The decisive separation between theology and science occurred in Newton’s work as Newton worked out the principles of his idea of not feigning hypotheses – essentially bringing Baconian theory of inductive ascent into natural philosophy. Newton himself had plenty of theories about Jesus, but used a conception of God in his natural philosophy that allowed for the absolute discovery of truths in nature without hypothesizing anything substantial about God. In other words, Newton’s science is absolutely translatable into other contexts – into Confucianism, into Hinduism, etc. Perhaps one can say that is true about much of Galileo – but Galileo is much still under the shadow of Aristotle enough to spend much time on refuting or dealing with him. Newton simply isn’t.

To understand what Newton did – to understand the beginnings of Natural Philosophy – means understanding the difference between literature and science. One of those differences is that Newton’s theological works, while telling us much about the context in which he did his work, do not help us very much in interpreting the work. There are no secrets in Newton’s natural philosophy texts. The last alchemist, as Keynes called him, saved his secrets for other texts. As an example, consider how Newton calculated the age of the earth. He did not refer to the bible. He did not refer to some hidden alchemical tradition. He simply imagined a ball of iron the size of the earth. This is a mode of thinking that is divorced from teleological considerations.

The Victorian controversy between science and the humanities is nicely explored in an article in the Summer, 2005 History of Science by Paul White. White’s article, MINISTERS OF CULTURE: Arnold, Huxley and Liberal Anglican Reform of Learning, explores the exemplary debates between Arnold and Huxley about the cultural value of science by asking about the common suppositions about culture held by both Arnold and Huxley.

Now, LI is a great fan of Thomas Huxley. He is greatly admired elsewhere on the Web, too, so it is easy to get ahold of his great essays. Go to the Huxley archive, for instance, at Clarke University. Arnold is an iffier figure. An anti-democrat, a great but narrow poet, and certainly the kind of Tory who had a lot of influence on the beginnings of modern conservatism, which (as we have pointed out in other posts) stuck out its baby lineaments in the 1870s.

The locus classicus of the Huxley-Arnold debate were two addresses made in the 1880s. But White points out that the two men were friends, members of the same Victorian liberal elite:

“The Huxley–Arnold debate has most often been viewed as an isolated event crystallizing the divisions of learning and the divergence of worlds. Yet these two public addresses delivered in 1880 and 1882 formed part of series of exchanges on the comparative value of science and literature, extending back to the mid-1860s. In fact, by the 1880s this debate had become a kind of ritual performance, with a well rehearsed script and agreed scope and agenda. One thing that might be said of Huxley and Arnold that cannot of Snow and Leavis [the two later debaters of the "two cultures" thesis] is that the men were friends. They met regularly in London, corresponded, and exchanged published work from the mid 1860s through the 1880s. Topics of discussion ranged from the education of Arnold’s eldest son, Arnold’s latest attack on middle-class Philistinism, and the moral integrity of Christ. As couples, the Huxleys and Arnolds dined together on many occasions.
One evening after dinner at Arnold’s home, Huxley was called upon to exercise his medical training with an examination of Blacky, Arnold’s cat, enveloping the creature in his table-napkin in order to examine a broken hip-joint.13 A number of letters survive from Arnold to Henrietta Huxley, conveying invitations, sympathy at times of illness, and, particularly from the late 1870s on when the couples saw each other less, Arnold’s deep regard and respect for her husband. The families were brought still closer when Huxley’s eldest son Leonard married Arnold’s niece, Julia.”

In order to understand White’s essay, I’m going to have to violate that 500 word rule about blogs and quote some Huxley at length. And, in the spirit of unfairness, I'm not going to quote Arnold. This is a long quote, from his lecture on Science and Culture. I think the quote is entirely contemporary, and puts into canonical form an issue that is still with us. I’ll get back to the rest of White’s essay tomorrow.

Here’s the quote:

“Mr. Arnold tells us that the meaning of culture is "to know the best that has been thought and said in the world." It is the criticism of life contained in literature. That criticism regards "Europe as being, for intellectual and spiritual purposes, one great confederation, bound to a joint action and working to a common result; and whose members have, for their common outfit, a knowledge of Greek, Roman, and Eastern [143] antiquity, and of one another. Special, local, and temporary advantages being put out of account, that modern nation will in the intellectual and spiritual sphere make most progress, which most thoroughly carries out this programme. And what is that but saying that we too, all of us, as individuals, the more thoroughly we carry it out, shall make the more progress?"3

We have here to deal with two distinct propositions. The first, that a criticism of life is the essence of culture; the second, that literature contains the materials which suffice for the construction of such a criticism.

I think that we must all assent to the first proposition, For culture certainly means something quite different from learning or technical skill, It implies the possession of an ideal, and the habit of critically estimating the value of things by comparison with a theoretic standard. Perfect culture should supply a complete theory of life, based upon a clear knowledge alike of its possibilities and of its limitations.
But we may agree to all this, and yet strongly dissent from the assumption that literature alone is competent to supply this knowledge. After having learnt all that Greek, Roman, and Eastern antiquity have thought and said, and all that modern literatures have to tell us, it is not self-evident that we have laid a sufficiently broad [144] and deep foundation for that criticism of life, which constitutes culture.
Indeed, to any one acquainted with the scope of physical science, it is not at all evident. Considering progress only in the "intellectual and spiritual sphere," I find myself wholly unable to admit that either nations or individuals will really advance, if their common outfit draws nothing from the stores of physical science. I should say that an army, without weapons of precision and with no particular base of operations, might more hopefully enter upon a campaign on the Rhine, than a man, devoid of a knowledge of what physical science has done in the last century, upon a criticism of life.”

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

a parable -- or the origins of Twister

A parable of the relationship between the White House and the Press.

I found this story in Eraly’s history of the Moghuls:

Humayun, the son of Babur, was a prankster. He invented a game called the “carpet of mirth.”

“It had circles marked out on it in different colors to represent the planets, on which the courtiers positioned themselves according to the planet that was appropriate to them, and played a curious game, in which they either stood, sat or reclined according to the fall of the dice -- this, according to Abu Fazi, “was a means of increasing mirth.”

The problem with this parable is that it is much too pretty to apply to the court in D.C., which is one of the more degraded forms of civilization. But, in the week that the Washington Post is standing, sitting and reclining in order to please the Karl Rove faction in the court regarding their 'liberal' White House blogger, Froomkin, --it seems appropriate.

the allawi strategy

So far, we have seen no analysis of the timing and nature of the American’s sudden interest in torture centers in Iraq. On the principle that fools rush in where the lackies of imperialism fear to tread – a saying that is in the Bible, or is it the Little Red Book? – we have a strong hunch that this shows the Americans have learned something in the last year. A year ago, the brilliant idea was to make Allawi seem palatable to the Shiites by staging a massacre of Sunnis in Fallujah. This strategy, let’s say, didn’t work. This year, the strategy seems to be more on target: de-legitimate the Islamist sector of the current government, and presumably Allawi will profit.

This may work to some extent. There is no lawful figure at the moment protecting Sunni interests. The reminder of what a fully Shiite government can do (hence, the cynical American discovery of the torture centers) might overshadow Allawi’s record of massive corruption and complicity in American war crimes. Corruption is a small price to pay for not having a drill applied to the side of one’s head, after all.

On a further eve-of-the-Iraq-elections note, the fake “democracy” in operation in Kurdistan is given some rare bad press in the WP today, which gingerly notices that the region is divided between two parties that are extensions of the personalities of two Kurdish war lords -- and that attempts to get into the space between the war lords and the electorate are dealt with in accordance with the old, one party tradition, same as in Uzbekistan. Since the “friends of the Kurds’ – the Peter Galbraiths and the Christopher Hitchens, et al. – formed the core of the pro-war party in the media and are always marveling over the Kurdish democracy, we rather wonder why not a peep is heard from them as the people they supposedly cherish are being dragged further into the warlord state. No – we’re kidding. We don’t wonder about that at all. Shills are shills.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

captives

LI has been reading The Crisis, David Harris’ book about the fall of the Shah and the Hostage Crisis. It is not a great or startling account – Harris is much too brief about the Shah, and his viewpoint is shaped, to a certain extent, by his access to his informants – thus Bani-Sadr comes off as a much better figure in this book than I believe he should. Harris is an ex American radical who is now utilizing his reputation and network to create these kinds of books, but one doesn’t feel he is informed enough to work against his sources’ biases.

Looking past the author’s deficiencies, however, the hopelessness that emanates from this story has to do with the peculiarities of the American relationship with the Middle East. The inability to learn anything from past experience; the shaping of policy to meet the needs of the governing elite, even when those needs clearly conflict with national interest; and the insufficiencies of taking a colonialist point of view to nations that aren’t colonies (which results in an evil pattern: Americans continually become the captives of their proxies) converged to make the Hostage crisis America’s classical theatrical moment.

Harris’ account points a finger at the malign influence of Carter’s foreign policy advisor, Brzezinski, who fully shared the governing elite’s infatuation with the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and at the same time believed that he could order the Shah about like the manager of a McDonald’s directing a slow high school hire. It was Brzezinski who believed that the Shah simply had to bloody the streets of Teheran up just a little more in order to restore the status quo ante. At one point , the Iranian ambassador to America conferred with the Chilean ambassador about instituting the Pinochet solution: stadiums to be used as prisons, salutary executions of ten to twenty thousand. This was the type of thinking encouraged by an administration that put on the public face of being concerned with “Human Rights.”

However, the same government elite that could gameplan killing thousands of Iranians couldn’t bear to keep the Shah out of the U.S. when he was making his long, pointless pilgrimage around the world, seeking shelter. Brzezinski, Kissinger and David Rockefeller essentially overruled the best interests of the U.S. to let in their pal. Carter, before the Shah was admitted to the U.S., made a bitter joke about hostages – these people knew what was coming.

Today I read the review of Robert Fiske’s book by Geoffrey Wheatcroft in the NYT. Wheatcroft’s review has a nice, I like the taste of blood in my mouth graf about Iran:

“Nor does he [Fiske] allow for historical context. He denounces, for example, the 1953 coup in Iran, engineered by Kermit Roosevelt of the C.I.A. and his British buddies to oust the government of Mohammed Mossadegh and install the shah. As it happens, one of the conspirators is a neighbor of mine, a charming and courteous old gentleman who was a wartime hero before he swapped a Royal Navy uniform for the cloak and dagger of MI6, and to this day he is impenitent about that power play in the cold war.
He and his fellow plotters didn't delude themselves that they were trying to bring good government to the Persian people, nor did they "call too loud on Freedom / To cloak your weariness," as Kipling had it. The object of the exercise wasn't to "democratize the Middle East" but to keep the Soviets from reaching the Indian Ocean, and it succeeded. If anything, I have more sympathy with that kind of realpolitik than for the weird mixture of ideology and deception we get from the present administration.”

Courteous old gentleman indeed. One could imagine the same being said about Osama bin Laden’s crew. They didn’t delude themselves that they were trying to bring good government to the Americans, but felt the object of the exercise was to wake up their fellow Arabians. All in good fun.

What a bunch of complete and utter shits. Statements like that make one actually sympathetic to the students who took the American embassy personnel hostage.

Monday, December 12, 2005

there we go again...

Over at the Valve, there is a disturbing post about blogging. The writer claims that there is some convention that says that posts over 500 words are a waste of time, and that those who read blogs continually get impatient with reading longer matter.

Now, LI’s posts regularly come in a bit over the 500 word limit – sometimes by 500 words – and we are always referring to longer reading matter.

So the question here is: are we fucking up?

I notice that the Valve post says nothing about re-reading posts. That might be our out from having gotten the whole culture completely wrong. I hope so – we at LI are starting to feel like the elves that built the broken toys that ended up on broken toy island. We are talking mass despondency. One of our writers tossed the two hundred page post responding point by point to Petroski’s history of the paper clip (with many amusing details culled from the various memoirs of King Louis XV’s court)in the garbage can today. But …Many of our most popular posts are popular long after they have faded into the archives. That’s one thing. Especially the one's mentioning Aisha Qaddafi, for some reason. Let’s see. Oh, and we have always considered these posts to be like a cronica on hyperdrive, rather than seeking the mere comment-on-a-link comment. That’s another thing. Also, also many of our posts exist to amuse my friend, D., in the Portland area, and the crew of grave diggers that he works with at a public cemetery there. Grave diggers want the real thing, they don’t want 200 word balderdash – or dashed off balder, as it may be. D. tells me that the common complaint is that LI didn't dig deep enough, or square off the corners.

Also, we don’t get out enough. And also, also we have this graphomania problem…

Sunday, December 11, 2005

poor richard's almanac, revised

The newest talking point by the pro-war side is to compare the irrationality of getting into the war with the irrationality of withdrawing from it. There was a post on Crooked Timber making this point, and I’ve read it in the Washington Post. My favorite, however, is Noah Feldman’s NYT Magazine piece

Now, the logic of this argument is pretty much the logic of Bush culture in general. For instance, 9/11 happened, as we all know, after Bush was warned about an upcoming attack, after he failed to take it seriously enough even to communicate his info to the Secretary of Transportation or ask the FBI for any further information. In fact, he went on a month long vacation. Now, in Bush cultural terms, this makes Bush the ideal leader in the fight against terrorism. Failure is the new success. Indeed, Bush went on to make a botch of capturing or killing Bin Laden, and then went on to make an epochal botch of Iraq.

To do this, of course, you need failures to help you. In Bush’s case, there is Rumsfeld, commonly felt to have grossly mismanaged the number of troops required to hold Iraq and thus kept around while he grossly mismanaged the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, from which failure he rebounded by the massive failure to pacify the budding insurgency in the Sunni sections of Iraq – in fact, he is poised for even greater failures in the next year, which is why he is indispensable. There is Wolfowitz, whose failure to come within a magnitude of the cost of the Iraq war is just the kind of thing to elevate him to the head of the World Bank. Etc.

Given this kind of background, a man educated into being competent to mouth the complacent idiocies that pass for foreign policy in D.C. like Feldman has leaped into the gap of defending our course to complete victory. Because he and his like massively failed to understand Iraq in the pre-invasion time and were fooled, or self-deceived, time and time again, they have a portfolio we can surely trust:

“A little less than a year ago, in the aftermath of the first Iraqi elections, the most irresponsible thing being said in Washington was that everything was going to be fine. Now, with the next set of elections scheduled for Dec. 15, the new irresponsibility is the increasingly respectable assertion that the war has already been lost. Irrational optimism has been replaced by unjustified pessimism. This is not some triumph of experience over idealism. One a priori ideological standpoint is simply giving way to another.”

I wonder, sometimes, whether it is right to name this the Bush culture, Bush being a minor politician and all. But statements like this reassure me. Bush may be a minor politician, but he is a major symbol of the Zeitgeist. Feldman’s utter lack of embarrassment reflects a certain narrative impudence that Bush specializes in. Who can forget the guy, after borrowing to an unprecedented extent in order to give tax breaks to the rich, claiming that the money he borrowed from FICA could bankrupt Social Security – since who knew if the U.S. was going to pay it back?

Poor Richard's almanac needs a new proverb to represent the new American wisdom. I propose this one: Keep hammering a crooked nail and it will straighten out all by itself.

How can you not love the Bush culture? It is drunk driving every day, with the whole nation – loads and loads of fun and casualties for the whole international family!

lies, the press, lies, the press

LI is struck by the lack of U.S. reporting on this story that comes, via Today in Iraq, from an AP report in The Hindu:

“Baghdad, Dec. 9 (AP): A group of Shiite and Sunni parties has signed a declaration condemning terrorism, urging a timetable for the end of the US military presence, and vowing never to normalise relations with Israel.
The parties to the "code of honour" included followers of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the Sunni Iraqi Consensus Front.
The code also declared that resistance is a legitimate right and condemned "terrorism, violence, murder and kidnappings." The code is non-binding but it indicates what parties might choose to work together after the new parliament is elected next week.
Officials said al-Sadr was the driving figure behind the yesterday's pact.”
So, let’s get this straight. The prime minister of Iraq, for whom the U.S. is fighting, signs a declaration declaring that it is open season on U.S. fighters, as long as the shots and bombs don’t injure Iraqis. Of course, since this counters the D.C. clique’s perception of what the prime minister of Iraq should say, it will get no publicity. Further, the alliance between Chalabi and al-Sadr will get no publicity. Meanwhile, the U.S. papers will talk up Allawi and chuckle a bit about where he is getting his money from – yeah, that is a huge puzzle.
I read this in Homage to Catalonia the other day:
“The fact is that every war suffers a kind of progressive degradation with every month that it continues, because such things as individual liberty and a truthful press are simply not compatible with military efficiency.”