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Showing posts from April 4, 2004
Bollettino So I met a man yesterday, had lunch with him. He was a friendly, bald, gray moustached man, eating carrots out of a Tupperware case. We fell into conversation, and at one point he said that he was in Vietnam. We’d been talking about war. I’d mentioned that I’d read that soldiers in Vietnam were issued Dexedrine and various speed pills to get them through the next encounter. And he’d said that that was countenanced, but it wasn’t officially approved, then told me the tale of his war – and ended up by adding, as a little sidenote, that people do funny things in war. A friend of his, for instance. He blasted an eight year old girl. Came upon her in some go through the village maneuver. Little darling kept approaching him. He got out the rifle, warned her to go back, and she kept approaching like Viet bad seed, and he let her have it. And, he said, she exploded, meaning that she’d been wired. Then the guy said, two war crimes there, really. One is killing the eight year ol
Bollettino The neo-cons never cease to generate ideas – bad ideas. Incredibly bad ideas. There has been a lot of speculation about why in the world the CPA would provoke Sadr at this point in time by closing down his newspaper. The result, as we see, is twenty American deaths and mounting, not to mention – because nobody mentions them – the Iraqi deaths, which must be over fifty to eighty. This article in the Asian Times quotes one Larry Diamond, from the dreaded Hoover institute, that explains part of the mystery : "We are on the edge of a generalized civil war in Iraq," said Larry Diamond, a senior adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), who told Inter Press Service that occupation authorities must follow through on any crackdown against Muqtada's forces by disarming and dismantling all of Iraq's militias if the transition process and future elections are to have any hope of success. Diamond, a democracy specialist at the Hoover Insti
Bollettino There’s a Crooked Timber post about Hitchens article about Falluja . We haven’t read the latest outburst from Mr. Hitchens – after a while, it gets depressing to watch a man with no motor control trying to thread a needle. What interested us about the post was the end of it. After taking Hitchens to task for writing that the lynching in Falluja proved just how right we were to invade Iraq, the CT writer adds: “… it seems appropriate to ask of everyone who seems certain of the rightness of their position on the war, whether there are any developments that would lead them to say, “OK, I was wrong.” For instance, if there is a functioning and independent Iraqi democracy within two years, which lasts for at least a further five, then I think that ought to shake the convictions of hardened opponents. But I don’t think that’s likely.” On the face of it, what could be more reasonable than to apply the pragmatic principle of success or failure to positions that are, after a
Bollettino Continuing from the last post. Dispensing with the “Weberian fantasy” of state power, Wedeen starts off with a abridged history of modern Yemen: “President Ali Abd Allah Salih has been in power for twenty-five years, as the leader of North Yemen since 1978, and of unified Yemen since its inception in 1990. Yet in spite of the regime’s durability, the Weberian fantasy of a state that enjoys a monopoly on violence—legitimate or otherwise—is not remotely evident. In a country of 18.5 million people, there are an estimated 61 million weapons in private hands.2 The state is incapable, moreover, of providing welfare, protection, or education to the population.” The state – or at least the faction in charge of the state – was capable, in 1999, or mounting an election. Wedeen’s description of it is interesting as much for the analogy to Iraq, and what one suspects the CPA would like to do, as for its Yemeni context. Ali Abd Allah Salih’s government disqualified the one