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Showing posts from May 25, 2003
Bollettino Casualty counts: LI recommends the WashPost article about lost Iraqi limbs and other matters that, in the post-conflict world, we can perceive to be as utterly trivial as finding the ghostly weapons of mass destruction (which, it turns out, were about to be manufactured en masse in the back of a horse trailor, and in a doghouse in a Basra suburb). Here's a nice three grafs : To many who lost livelihoods and limbs in the process, a U.S. reconstruction effort in its seventh week should be as much about recompense as restarting electrical grids, pumping stations and a flattened economy. But U.S. officials have made clear to Iraqis that they do not intend to conduct a complete accounting of war damages, nor compensate those who say the occupying army owes them something. While sympathetic to individual hardships suffered as a result of war, U.S. officials say they are wary of beginning a legal process that could entail millions of claims against them. U.S. officials
Bollettino Casualty count today, 21 days after Bush proclaimed that the Iraq conflict was officially ended: a "... sixth soldier was killed today, military officials said, when "hostile fire" was directed at a convoy on the main supply route from Kuwait near the town of Anaconda. The unidentified soldier was pronounced dead at the 21st Combat Support Hospital, a military statement said. Late Wednesday, American troops opened fire on an Iraqi civilian vehicle in Samarra, killing two people and wounding two others. Military officials said the vehicle had failed to stop at a roadblock." David Corn's column in the Nation surveys the current domestic politics about Iraq. According to a poll conducted by the Washington Post, Americans are by and large "unconcerned" about the failure to come up with the stockpiles of anthrax, or the cans of Raid, or the flyswatters supposedly hidden by the nefarious Saddam and available, according to Tony Blair, f
Bollettino Al Jazeera has reported that a U.S. helicopter was shot down, and four soldiers killed, around Hit . The military is saying that a helicopter was damaged, but not by any hostile fire . Hitchens. LI has an unfortunate bug up our ass about the man. We don't want this site to be another nitpicking place where a lefty guy rants about the multiple sins of right wing media types -- which is why we sprinkle rebarbative posts about micro-history among posts in which a lefty guy rants about the multiple sins of right wing media types. In any case, there's been a rise in the level of discomfort in Hitchens columns over the last month. Having made a career move as a lefty who moved right to defend western values, he is having to calibrate with the evident contempt for western values, except those associated with the quick buck, by the administration he so fervently supports. In his latest Slate piece, there is, obviously, the fact that a Kissinger associate is now rul
Bollettino Casualty count: 20 American soldiers killed by hostile fire, since Bush proclaimed the end of the Iraq war. Like UFO Abductions and Elvis sightings, the fiercesome Iraqi WMD have a mock ontology that is the more humorous in that the former are pursued by tabloids like the National Enquirer, while the latter is pursued, gravely, by papers like the Washington Post, which fervently believes, now, that the WMD were spirited away and given to terrorists. That all this WMD might be an exaggeration -- that the shelf life on Saddam's germs might have expired -- that the nuclear materials we should be worried about are in Pakistan -- none of this matters. Here's a WP report on the latest status of the the Great WMD hoax : "Pressed in recent congressional hearings and public appearances to explain why the United States has been unable to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, senior Bush administration officials have begun to lay the groundwork for t
Bollettino Social history has, to a great extent, failed in its proclaimed and relatively simple task of writing history �from the bottom up,� according to historian Sigurdur Magnusson in the Spring, 03�s issue of Social History. LI recommends his article, The Singularization of History, which examines the proliferation of micro-histories and the collapse of the radical impulse that generated them. According to Magnusson, the social history in the seventies and eighties underwent a crisis of confidence in the Annales theory that underlay it. The old school, building on sociology, and Marx, counseled the historian to find episodes demonstrating time, to find these episodes on a significant scale, to subject his matter to categories that could be quantified, and to look for causal explanations that could link up to grander schemes. In the late eighties, under the assault of deconstruction and Foucaultian archaeology, the macro view could no longer be supported. But Magnusson thinks th
Bollettino We have not bathed Paul Bremer in our usual appellations, because we can't think what to call him. Alan kidded us about our Smilin' Jay phrase -- he noted that it had not spread over the Internet. In fact, we not only originated it, we were its sole adopters. By some accident, the phrase did fit -- as courtiers in the State and Pentagon continue their gladiatorial leaking contests, we are learning that Garner, with what one report describes as a 'backslapping' style , was as alien to the Iraqi expectation of leadership as Bambi would have been, J.Paul, however, is more of a Reaganaut. We are assured that his authoritarian style is more to the liking of the masses. While Smilin' Jay imitated Saddam by essentially vanishing into the presidential palaces, Bremer seems intent on imitating Saddam's press secretary, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, by subordinating the standard of veracity to the enthusiasm of the pronouncement. Thus he has dissolved the Iraq
Bollettino LI has hammered home a theme for a long time on this site. The theme is that talk about U.S. foreign policy has to take into account, firstly, what kind of country the U.S. is. Usually such discussions go on and on about democracy. Well, democracy is important, but it is subordinate to one great constant in U.S. history: the vast indifference of Americans to the rest of the world. There are subgroups who are very involved with one or another country. The Irish in the last century were ardent about Ireland, the Germans before WWII were ardent about Germany, and the Jews, now, are ardent about Israel. But these are exceptions to the rule. Americans like to think of themselves as generous donors -- but that stopped long ago, by general consent. The Marshall plan was fifty years ago; the last really big flow of foreign aid petered out around the end of the Vietnam war. Both of those generous moments were connected to domestic politics: the Marshall Plan is inconceivable w