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Showing posts from April 13, 2003
Bollettino Reason no. 500 for an accelerated pull out. Gideon Rose, the managing editor of Foreign Affairs, ruminates about the duties of empire in Slate. The point he makes is that the US lacks the mechanism for imperial rule in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. This is such an excellent point that it should have been in the forefront of anti-war politics. Allowing Bush to announce how the invasion of Iraq was going to be managed and how much it was going to cost in his own good time crippled the anti-warriors. However, Rose is not an antiwarrior. He is a belligeranti deluxe. His idea, which has surely been nursed in many a defense department funded forum, is that we need to spend the money, and create the agencies, to be a real empire: "This simply will not do. Bungling the peace in Afghanistan would be a tragedy; bungling the peace in Iraq would be a catastrophe. So unless the Bush administration changes its mind and decides to hand off responsibility to the Unite
Bollettino It's Mornin' in Baghdad Two papers confirm the claims of Baghdad's new mayor. The NYT reports that the INC in Mosul is receiving American military help, and refers to Baghdad's new mayor as a done deal. The London Times article ledes with an (unconsciously?) ironic statement : "BAGHDAD was given its first lesson in democracy yesterday when self-appointed leaders emerged from nowhere to fill the power vacuum left by Saddam Hussein�s regime. Amid the confusion caused by the absence of any authority � other than the US military � Iraqi citizens discovered that they had a governor, a mayor and even a religious leader to look after affairs. Mohammad Mohsen Zubaidi, an exiled political leader, announced that he was now running Bahgdad as the city�s governor, elected by a mysterious council of �religious and community leaders." What reader in democracy is the London Times using? Machiavelli's The Prince? What seems to be happening is th
Bollettino Apparently, American troops are better at protecting the furnishings of Saddam's palaces than such trifling landmarks as the Baghdad Museum and library. Lolling about the place, General Franks --entering Baghdad under heavy guard -- is confident, as is his commander in chief, that the War is over. As is the press. The main question asked by Slate's Chris Suellentrop right now is when are we going to roast those Syrians. That's fairly representative of media opinion. Well, in the face of such unanimity, and given the nature of the unanimous, we have a hard time buying the pitch. The occupation of Iraq differs from that of Germany or Japan, and is like that of Afghanistan, in that the other side disappeared. It's evanescence was taken, in Afghanistan, as surrender -- and for all practical purposes, the US definitely achieved its goal in Afghanistan. It denied a haven to Al qaeda. It overturned Alqy's protectors. In Iraq, the forces of Saddam
Bollettino Forged in Ireland Brigadier Gordon Kerr operated a special unit for the British in Northern Ireland, the Force Research Unit. Research means different things to different people. For some research means a library; for others, research means going through files in some archive. For others, research is a sedate and secluded career among test tubes. For the Brigadier, apparently, research meant hiring killers among the Protestant paramilitaries to track down and kill dissident Catholics. At least, that is the rumor about a suppressed report, today. Among the victims of Kerr's research was one Pat Finucanne. The BBC admirably compressed report about researching Finucane starts like this: "Loyalist paramilitaries shot Mr Finucane 14 times as he sat eating a Sunday meal at home, wounding his wife in the process. The couple's three children witnessed the 1989 attack. In its statement claiming the killing, the UFF said they had killed "Pat Finucan
Bollettino Reviews, reviews. We went gleefully after Remnick on the Lenin issue a couple of days ago. Now it is Paul Berman's turn. Except... surely Scialabba's review in the Nation is misinterpreting the guy. Does Berman really believe that he can decode, in Lincoln's decision to persevere in waging war against the South, the choice to "repair the Founders' mistake and render "the whole concept [of liberal society] a little sturdier." In so doing, it took on a "universal mission": "the defense of democratic self-rule...for the entire planet"? Tell me I am not reading that. Scialabba, with the crashing understatement of Stanley meeting Livingston in the jungles of Central Africa, writes, "This is a dubious interpretation of the Civil War..." Hmm, that's for sure. When Hegel decided that the miserable king of Prussia was the end of history, or when Goethe decided Napoleon was the spirit of history on horseback
Bollettino Paul Foot's column in the Guardian ejects some salvoes at the League of Leftist Warmongers -- presumably Nick Cohen. Foot's thesis is that Democracy only grows from below. This is pretty much our thesis, too. But our second thesis -- that time and circumstance dictate events, not iron laws abstracted from the flow of history - modifies our first one. We don't think that Northern Iraq, in which, after faction and civil discord, a civil society was beginning to peep out, is anamolous. Foot's claim arises from two questions put to an imaginary LLW opponent: "As I understand the LLW position, they would, in general, prefer tyrants to be overthrown by the people they oppress. At times, however, they complain the tyranny is so savage, so universally terrifying that it has to be overthrown by superior military force from elsewhere. So the only way to topple Saddam was by US military might. Two points arise. First, in Iran in 1979 the people themselv
Bollettino Our friend D. says he hates it when we get all maudlin over our own poverty and misery, so we have avoided talking about all that tasteless stuff. But recently our poverty and misery are getting out of hand. In the past month, we have received a total of 225 dollars from those who we have contracted to write for -- out of a total of 1000 dollars owed. On this amount, a man with our daily calory intake ... not to mention our need for alcohol ... cannot exist. So anybody who has a tip about jobs in the Austin area -- preferably ones that don't involve a tremendous loss of vital fluids -- should write us at Thanks.
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
Bollettino Smilin' Jay Smilin' Jay made his debut as the embodiment of the Iraqi Geist at a meeting of all allowable Iraqi political groups today. At this meeting he spoke for all of when he pledged, as head of the US led Iraqi government, never to install a US led government in Iraq. Lately, the Bush administration has been lessening the gap between the claim and its contradiction. It took three weeks between the time they pledged to use Iraqi oil revenues to pay for the invasion and the moment in which they disclaimed ever intending to use Iraqi oil revenues to pay for the invasion. Since the Bush administration is run by business types, they know that in today's competitive marketplace, it's an "I want it yesterday" kind of atmosphere. They are simply transferring those principles of free enterprise to their own dealing in mendacity. A credibility gap is only as big as the time it takes to contradict one falsehood with another. As for the meeting,
Bollettino Let�s overturn some silver plated pieties, shall we? David Remnick�s review of Annie Applebaum�s history of the Gulag is so riddled with disingenuous passages and distortions that it could have been written for a particularly dim Tory publication in 1930. If there is one atrocity against the human race that we ought to know more about, it is the Gulag. Solzhenitsyn�s history weighs on that history like a nightmare �and it should. It is a great work of art. I am almost tempted to say, alas. The standard histories of the holocaust, like Raul Hilberg, are not works of art. So that any account of the Gulag, in the west, has to wrest it from Solzhenitsyn. There are, of course, histories about aspects of the Stalinist terror, from Robert Conquest to Zhores Medvedev; however, I believe Annie Applebaum has written the first popular history of it. I�m not going to comb through this review. That seems pointless. When Remnick gets to the meat of the Gulag � the meat of th
Bollettino Dyncorps to the rescue! Corp watch continues its excellent coverage of the looting in Iraq -- that is, the looting by major corporations in cahoots with the Bush-ites. Apparently Dyncorps, a corporation that is one of the growing number of private military organizations that have taken the paramilitary out of the primitive era of random torture and put it on a paying basis is heading for Iraq, to guard the streets and prisons of Smilin' Jay Garner's fair democracy . Dyncorps has established a solid record in Columbia (where they spray herbicide for the US Gov, and have had a suit, brought against them by Ecuadorian peasants for the collateral damage to livestock, crops, and human babies (not important ones -- just Ecuadorians), blocked by the US Gov; and in Bosnia, where Corp Watch culled these interesting tidbits: "...Kathryn Bolkovac, a U.N. International Police Force monitor filed a lawsuit in Britain in 2001 against DynCorp for firing her after
Bollettino A couple of weeks ago, LI was circulating a little op ed piece to various outlets, desperately hoping for a hit. This was before the War. The op ed began: "For those who doubt that the Bush administration is invading Iraq to install a democracy, there were two telling stories in the last week of February. One, a small story about Post Saddam Iraq in the March 3 Business Week, contained a comparison of the cost of reconstructing and holding together Iraq and the revenues currently produced by Iraqi oil fields: "Unless oil prices stay at current high levels, Iraq's oil income of around $15 to $20 billion per year isn't likely to be enough to pay for food and other needed imports as well as rebuilding and development costs. That tab is estimated at $20 billion a year over several years." The other story was in the Washington Times. A congressional committee was grilling Paul Wolfowitz, the ideologue behind Bush's rush to war. Wolfowitz