Skip to main content


Showing posts from May 16, 2004
Bollettino “I was expressing my aversion to disputes: Mr. Hume, who very gratefully admires the tone of Paris, having never known any other tone, said with great surprise, "Why, what do you like, if you hate both disputes and whist?" – Horace Walpole Indeed, after pouring out the vials about the War, I am feeling rather disgusted with dispute myself. Walpole wrote this in a letter in the high summer of the enlightenment, visiting Paris in the summer of 1765. He professed to love France, but wished he could “wash it” – having a very Anglo Saxon aversion to filth. He was amused that the French were in the midst of one of their crazes, this one for things anglais – such as Hume, who was (much to Hume’s own surprise) being made much of. Walpole was the son of the Prime Minister who pretty much made Whiggism the cultural default in England; he was, therefore, naturally averse to Hume’s quirky toryism, and makes various catty remarks about his History in his letters. H
Bollettino The good news is that LI appears to be wrong about the neo-con support for Chalabi. We misread the appointment of Chalabi’s nephew as the chief prosecutor of Saddam Hussein – it signified, not the recrudescence of the old reprobate, but his last hurrah – at least as Wolfowitz’s favorite Iraqi. This is good. But irony always follows at good news at a mocking distance. Chalabi’s pronouncements, during the last month, have made a lot of sense. The Iraqi government needs to take control of its money and its foreign policy, come June 30. Anything else will be a farce. For a good look at how crooked Chalabi is, the reader should check out Andrew (or is it Patrick?) Cockburn’s article at Counter-Punch . Entertainment can also be extracted from the NYT article and the WP article, neither of which mention the role they played in puffing Chalabi, with Judith Miller in the NYT being notorious in her guileless belief in the wonderful stories spun by the man – which, incidental
The nineteenth century Ottoman rulers in Baghdad were Sunnis. Sometimes a Baghdad governor would try to gain semi-independence from Istanbul. However, the Sultans, sporadic Westernizers, pulled back and tried, on the French model, to centralize. Though they failed in Egypt, in Iraq they dislodged the Ma’ud Pasha by armed force, and restored the governorship to its subordinate status with relation to the Porte. Meanwhile, in Karbala, the Shiite elite had, through negotiation, the desire for protection, and mutual interest, made an accord with various powerful gangs. The Shiites did little more than pay lip service to their Ottoman overlords. Finally, a conservative governor in Baghdad had enough of this. Muhammed Nejib Pasha decided to subdue Karbala, in spite of the Iranian warning that Karbala was sacrosanct. Their were reports that the more powerful gangs had gotten out of control, had raped and murdered with impunity, and were disrespectful of the authority of the Shiite clergy.
Bollettino (seventh in series) The form of our government, which gives every man, that has leisure, or curiosity, or vanity, the right of inquiring into the propriety of publick measures, and, by consequence, obliges those who are intrusted with the administration of national affairs, to give an account of their conduct to almost every man who demands it, may be reasonably imagined to have occasioned innumerable pamphlets, which would never have appeared under arbitrary governments, where every man lulls himself in indolence under calamities, of which he cannot promote the redress, or thinks it prudent to conceal the uneasiness, of which he cannot complain without danger. – Samuel Johnson 2. The Kurds Pity the peoples that encountered a superpower during the Cold War. From the Hmong to the Misquito, such encounters resulted in the socially dissolving shock of gung ho activists organizing military activity at the expense of undermining tradition; a phase of activity usually