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Showing posts from June 15, 2003
Bollettino We were amused by this report of the absolute idyll that reigns in Fallujah, penned by AP scribe Mark Fitz. To balance out the reports of ambushes and pissed off Iraqis, AP evidently decided to show the good side of the American occupation. What, a little massacre here and there? Here's Fitz putting Fallujah in news context: "Fallujah is perhaps the most extreme example of hyperbole run amok. This city of 300,000, about a 30-minute drive west of Baghdad, is one of the corners of the so-called "Sunni triangle," a sector that has seen sporadic attacks that have killed four of the 50 Americans killed since major combat ended in April. Saddam is a Sunni Muslim, and it's easy to see other Sunnis as fighting a last-ditch battle to prevent the Americans from allowing the majority Shiites to overrun them. But in fact, many tribes of Sunnis, particularly the more devout, have long opposed Saddam's socialist, secular Baath party. Fallujah gai
Bollettino This month, History Today has two articles of interest, perhaps, to the LI reader. Philip Mansel, who has written a nice history of Constantinople, abridges that history into 11 pages. Its fascinating and oddly pertinent info -- anybody who has an even cursory knowledge of the history of Istanbul knows that it is nonsense, on the part of the EU, to deny Turkey its place in the organization. Here are two grafs about the last years of Ottoman Istanbul: "By then the Muslim proportion of the population of Constantinople, hitherto stable at around 60 per cent, had fallen to around 44 per cent. In 1900 the population of the city reached a million. While other international cities such as Vienna and Prague were becoming avowedly German or Czech, the balance of forces between the Palace, the Sublime Porte, the embassies, the mosques, the Patriarchates, the barracks, the bazaars and the port kept Constantinople a truly international city. Economically as well as diplo
Bollettino Pot Shot War "What we are seeing here is a fundamental reassessment of the situation in Iraq in terms of political and military stability," said Daniel Goure, a Pentagon adviser at the Washington-based Lexington Institute. "We have been operating on two assumptions: that once the war was over the Iraqis would rapidly move into peaceful mode, and second, that there would be a new political and economic spirit in the country. We discovered neither of these assumptions is true." -- Asian Times March 14, 2003 -- Limited Inc "Given this, here is the primer for the upcoming catastrophe: 1. Occupation is not peace. The media has defined the war as having a beginning -- when Bush declares it -- and an end -- when Saddam Hussein is dissolved. Now, the beginning, as we all know by now, has not been clear. In fact, it is unclear what Bush will declare, if we are actually engaged in warlik
Bollettino "Holmes!" I cried. "Is it really you? Can it indeed be that you are alive? Is it possible that you succeeded in climbing out of that awful abyss?" -- The Return of Sherlock Holmes. To find a parallel to the saga of Saddam, one has to look to genre literature and film. His deaths and reappearances are so driven by the Bush administration's script that one wonders if the movie will ever come out -- perpetual re-writes seem to be holding up the production. Dead at the beginning of the war -- and smug the American journalists were when anybody mistook that man on tv for anything but a shabby interloper, an amateur double, ha ha, those Al Jazeera amateurs -- he's needed now more than ever. If it isn't an arch-villain directing ambushes at our troops, could it be (gasp) a grassroots insurgency prompted, perhaps, by the trigger happy crowd control techniques that are, alas, all too necessary to secure these excitable but loveable Muslim types?
Bollettino Today's casualty report: "An American soldier was killed south of Baghdad today in an attack with a rocket propelled grenade on a military ambulance, the United States Central Command said." LI's casualty reports are all so stinkin' anonymous. The military doesn't release names in their first reports, and when the names are released, they drift into the lower reaches of the news -- the Decatur, Illinois Herald and such -- and sink into that most newsless category, the private griefs of the unfamous. Which is something we don't even have to think about. The Iraq Body Count project is trying to recover the names of the Iraqi dead. They have a difficult to use site, in our opinion, but if you go here, and skip over the massive verbiage, you'll come to a table that lists 100 Iraqi civilians who have died in the conflict -- even, amazingly, post-conflict -- and what they died of, and when they died, and where it was reported. As
Bollettino First, the casualties: "An American soldier was killed and another was wounded today in a drive-by shooting in central Baghdad, the latest in a series of assaults on the United States military.In a separate incident, two Iraqis were killed when a United States soldier fired into a crowd of protesters this morning. A United States military spokesman said today that attackers fired on soldiers from the First Armored Division from a passing vehicle. On Tuesday, a soldier from the same division died after being shot in the back by a sniper while on patrol in northern Baghdad." The Guardian reports a remark from Bremer , who is getting high marks from the likes of Tom Friedman -- a sure sign of incompetence. "Mr Bremer admitted he had too few staff but said: "I don't accept the proposition that we don't know what we are doing." Now onto Scandal. Go to NY Magazine to read the delicious summer souffle of an article detailin
Bollettino LI wrote a little post a while back in which we claimed that the great deflation scare was being used to promote the traditional policy of an American government that does not want to pay for its wars -- and its tax cuts. This policy amounts to stoking inflation. Along with the falling dollar, we claimed that the Bush-ites, with Alan Greenspan's compliance, had unleashed the monster -- and that we are going to feel that monster in the year ahead. The latest figures on inflation seem to bear us out . The figures are skewed by rising house prices -- but the inflationary bubble is headed towards middle class and working class America, and it is coming at a time of high unemployment -- which equals stagflation. When it arrives, we do wonder what Greenspan, who has given up thinking long range in order to serve his master, will come up with, by way of excuse. This, we think, is the wave of the future -- or the wave of back to the future. The Great Giveaway of the Bu
Bollettino Casualty report for today: a sniper killed an American soldier in Baghdad -- an incident that has received a surprising amount of news space. Perhaps it is gradually dawning on the news agencies that post-hostility Iraq is full of... hostility. Still no discussion of the condition of American troops in Iraq -- by all accounts they are very bad. The military is forced to recycle tired troops into campaigns of local repression; at the same time, the troops are being used in various "reconstructive" projects for which they are not trained, and for which, frankly, there is a huge pool of Iraqi labor. And still, there is not a peep about this from the Dems. Now let's talk about archaeology. There's a startling story in the Guardian about the putative looting of the National Museum. This story, for the belligerents, has assumed the same function as the story of Jessica Lynch, for the anti-belligerents: an example of suspicious media hype. In brief, the
Bollettino Lawrence Osbourne in the NYObserver remarks, acidically, on the Che mystique. Now, LI would welcome a withering look at that mystique, since it has done nothing but put lefty causes back in Latin America -- the emphasis on gesture instead of goal, the poetry of action promoted above the prosaics of providing, well, a decent system of production, etc., etc. But Osbourne isn't after a Casteneda like critique. No sir. According to Osbourne, we are about to witness a fad for Che, with Hollywood bringing out a version of the Motorcycle Diaries. Much as a doctor prepares a shot to prevent infectious diseases, Osbourne loads his article with the hygenic doses of anti-communist rhetoric, applying them to that 'totalitarian terrorist" Che. Osbourne quotes every righwingers favorite historian, Robert Conquest, who quotes the British ambassador to the effect that Castro was a loveable rogue, while Che was a murderous hypocrite. He also includes this graf: &q
Bollettino LI remembers reading about Willi M�nzenberg long ago, in his teen years, when LI was an ardent student of the National Review, absorbing its manichean conservative politics, its columns from old European tacticians of dubious ancestry, its wonderful, at that time, cultural pages -- Hugh Kenner, D.Keith Mano -- and generally getting an education. The National Review is still around, but it has become a trashy travesty of what it used to be. Today's teen would be better advised to go to National Enquirer for an education than Buckley's mag. Alas. In any case, M�nzenberg's name often came up among the knowing Anti-Commy Euro set. He was, supposedly, the great genius of propaganda -- Stalin's right hand man -- friend to Gide and Yagoda, or was it Beria? -- and maker of fine, cynical phrases about the Western Intellectuals that he lassoed into making Oh-ing and Aw-ing sounds about the Great Soviet Experiment. Stephen Koch has written his biography in the hig