Diary and Commentary
Waiting for Godot...Saddam...Anybody
Poor Iraqi diplomats! Since the fall of Saddam they have not received any orders from Baghdad. They continue in their work---registering births, issuing visas---and some occupy themselves with burning documents and recalling the good old days. Many have taken down their pictures of Saddam; some have not. No host country is taking these hapless fellows seriously. Like the domestic help of a suicide, they wander in a daze, unsure of the fate that awaits them.
What do they do with all this time on their hands?
"Work is continuing," said Moafaq al-Obeidi, a staffer at the embassy in Berlin,
helping a man renew his Iraqi passport. "You can see we have things to do.
Not all are in the mood for work."
When asked what diplomats were doing at the Iraqi Embassy in Prague,
capital of the Czech Republic, a person answering the phone had a short answer.
"We play soccer here," he said.
Soccer? Well, that is better than lopping off ears.
Bush to declare end of war in Iraq
Well done. On to the next task.
Our latest crop of Hollywood absurdities is made of different stuff from those of yore. Here is a list of actors from those days and what they did against tyranny:
Alec Guinness (Star Wars) operated a British Royal Navy landing craft on D-Day.
James Doohan ("Scotty" on Star Trek) landed in Normandy with the U.S. Army on D-Day.
Donald Pleasance (The Great Escape) really was a R.A.F. pilot who was shot down, held prisoner and tortured by the Germans.
David Niven was a Sandhurst graduate and Lt. Colonel of the British Commandos in Normandy.
James Stewart flew 20 missions as a B-24 pilot in Europe.
Clark Gable (Mega-Movie Star when war broke out) was a waist gunner flying missions on a B-17 in Europe.
Charlton Heston was an Army Air Corps Sergeant in Kodiak, Alaska.
Ernest Borgnine was a U.S. Navy Gunners Mate 1935-1945.
Charles Durning was a U.S. Army Ranger at Normandy.
Charles Bronson was a tail gunner in the Army Air Corps.
George C. Scott was a U.S. Marine.
Jackie Cooper ( Little Rascals) served in the U.S. Navy.
Jackie Coogan was a glider pilot in India and Burma.
Eddie Albert (Green Acres) was awarded a Bronze Star for his heroic action as a U.S. Naval officer aiding Marines at the horrific battle on the island of Tarawa in the Pacific Nov.1943.
George Gobel flew B-26 Marauders.
Brian Keith served as a Marine rear gunner in several actions against the Japanese on Rabal in the Pacific.
Lee Marvin was a U.S. Marine on Saipan when he was severely wounded. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Bob Keeshan, aka "Clarabelle the Clown" and "Captain Kangaroo" was a U.S. Marine.
John Russell was a U.S. Marine on Guadalcanal.
Robert Ryan was a U.S. Marine who served with the O.S.S. in Yugoslavia.
Tyrone Power (an established movie star when Pearl Harbor was bombed) joined the Marines, was a pilot flying supplies into, and wounded Marines out of, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
Audie Murphy, little guy from Texas, Most Decorated serviceman of WWII (and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor).
James Arness, wounded at Anzio.
Dennis Weaver, ("Chester" on Gunsmoke), flew F6F Hellcats for the Navy and saw a lot of action in the Pacific.
Glen Miller, who although too old to be drafted, voluntarily enlisted.
Elvis Presley served in the Army for two years.
And the current crop of Hollywood heroes? What do these brave souls do? Well...
The US is taking possession of Iraqi government documents, at least those that were not destroyed before the fall of Baghdad. There are hundreds of boxcars of them and it will take some time to sort everything out. What has been found so far staggers the mind. For example:
Al-Qaeda: Saddam and bin-Laden established contact as early as February 1998, some months before the terror bombing of US Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
Germany: Schroeder's government held clandestine meetings with Iraqi officials up until the outbreak of the war.
Russia: Putin revealed to Saddam details of private conversations he had had with Western leaders and recordings of other conversations between Tony Blair and Silvio Berlusconi.
France: The government of Chirac revealed to Saddam details of private meetings and conversations held with US officials, including president Bush.
Bribery: George Galloway, the vehemently pro-Saddam British Labor MP was discovered as being the recipient of millions of dollars. There is also evidence of Saddam having bribed UN officials, news organizations in the West and in Islamic lands, and Arab leaders like Egypt's Mubarak and Jordan's king.
All this is only the beginning, the revelation of a few documents out of millions. What it shows is that the regime of Saddam Hussein was the largest criminal enterprise in the world and one of the largest in history. It was indeed evil---just as Mr. Bush said it was.
Don Corleone had nothing on Saddam.
The talks in Beijing between North Korea and the US, where North Korea boasted of possessing nuclear weapons that she would soon begin to sell, have at last opened the eyes of the Chinese. They see now that nuclear weapons in the hands of North Korea are more a problem for China than for the US.
For one thing, China absolutely does not want to see a nuclear Japan. This is likely if the crazy fellow up north continues to bluster and threaten the world with a nuclear holocaust. Who in this world really thinks that Japan will simply rely upon foreigners for its defense against nuclear war? A nuclear-armed Japan would be no threat to the US but would represent a tremendous strategic defeat for China. The balance of power in Asia would change radically, and not in China's favor.
For another, imagine the millions of North Koreans fleeing to the relative safety of China in the event of war. Add to this flood of refugees the great probability that war would mean yet another US military victory and a unification of the Korea peninsula. North Korea would be no more, and the South would extend its political and economic system northward. China would then face two ferociously capitalist, democratic and pro-US Asian powers in the region. China's dreams of regional hegemony would disappear. Foreign investment would likely to shift from a corrupt communist China to a unified capitalist Korea.
What will China do? More precisely, what could China do? Mr. Bush has made it clear that the situation in North Korea is untenable. Any threat from North Korea will be neutralized one way or another. This means war.
Whether the tyrants in North Korea know it or not this war will result in their extinction. Their weaponry and tactics are of Korean War vintage. They have had no experience in war since 1953. They have millions of goose-stepping and brainwashed soldiers who will only present targets to US airpower.
The results of this coming war? Twenty-two million newly freed Koreans---the same number as those freed in Iraq, and by the same method. A shrunken Chinese influence not just in Asia but in the world---a huge plus for humanity.
Now, if somehow those one billion Chinese could become free. A rich and powerful democratic Korea on its borders would set a fine precedent and example.
Yes I know, some would say that one billion Chinese will live under
a democratic and capitalist government
'when pigs can fly.'
(photo courtesy of http://www.littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/weblog.php)
So Iran wants no 'friction' with the US? Then why does it send thousands of fighters into southern Iraq to stir up trouble for the US military there? Simple: in the same way a free Korea threatens a tyrannical China, a free Iraq threatens a tyrannical Iran. The Iranian government wants the new Iraqi regime to be an theocratic Islamic state---like Iran is. There are several things wrong with this, not least of which is that such a government must rely upon repression to survive. Whether in Afghanistan or Iran itself, few wish to be ruled by mullahs schooled only in the doctrines of Sharia.
Iran has severe domestic problems that it believes can be solved (or at least alleviated) through foreign adventurism. They cannot be. The Iranian regime knows fully well that a vast majority of its populace hates it and wishes ties to the US---an anathema to the theocratic tyranny in Tehran.
The installation of a free, democratic and pro-US Iraq on the border of Iran will hasten the end of the Iranian regime. Thus its current desperation in trying to prevent this.
Oh, Those Peace-Loving Palestinians!
The Palestinians live in a dream world.
The latest poll shows 59.9 percent of Palestinians support the use of suicide bombers against Israel.
Can someone please tell me why Israel should allow the installation of a terror-regime in its heartland? Would the US allow such a thing next to, say, Kansas?
How long would Americans tolerate this?
Perhaps as long as they tolerated this (after which the Palestinians danced in the street):
When will the Palestinians love their children more than they hate Israel?
Palestinian children at terror training camp.
Call me Nostradamus
Most of those who answered the call of Saddam to fight the infidel have not returned home. Any idea where they are? Maybe just hanging around Baghdad looking for work or excitement? Here is what a Lebanese newspaper writes:
Volunteer fighters in Iraq disappear with little news of whereabouts.
Families in Lebanon lose contact with sons who journeyed to Baghdad.
Of the few would-be warriors who have returned
safely, most are ‘in a state of shock’ and are
unwilling to speak of their disturbing experiences.
The reports generally talk of hundreds being killed in action or captured as “foreign terrorists"
who may end up in US military detention in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, similar to members of Al-Qaeda and
the Taleban regime who were seized in Afghanistan.
Their courage is obvious by their willingness to join their Arab brothers in the war against the US military. So is their stupidity.
Winners: George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, the Republican Party, the Iraqi People, the US military, the USA, Israel, England, Poland, Australia, Tony Blair, Kuwait, Victor Davis Hanson, South Korea, National Review.
Losers: Saddam and family and friends, the Baathist Party, the Democratic Party, Syria, the Palestinians, China, North Korea, Iran, Terror, Inc., France, Russia, Germany, OPEC, the UN, NATO, Chirac, Schroeder, Putin, al-Qaeda, Turkey, Hollywood actors, the anti-war movement, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, The Nation.
So France is cuddling up to that other terror master, Iran, having already bedded Syria. Iranian leaders congratulated France on its "heroic stand" against the US.
Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister de Villepin says that France remains "a close ally of America". Here he is with his real "close ally":
de Villepin and Khatami: "My place or yours?"
Headline of recent editorial by Geoff Metcalf: "Is Hillary Lying?" Only when she opens her mouth, Geoff.
Michael Moore was awarded an Oscar for Bowling for Columbine. The category was 'documentary.' All of the film from the opening scene to the closing credits was a lie, and easily shown to be so. Will the Oscar be taken away from Mr. Moore? I have my doubts. Few on the awarding committee would like to go in front of the public and say, "Oops! I was an idiotic gullible fool to be tricked so easily and shamelessly." More depressing is to know how many otherwise rational adults saw Moore's crude agit-prop piece and thought it represented 'the truth about guns in the USA.' Sure it did, just as Triumph of the Will represented the truth about the Third Reich.
More Oscar stuff: Another winner was Roman Polanski for The Pianist. Recall that Mr. Polanski was arrested in 1977 in the USA for the rape of a 13 year old, the exact charges being "giving drugs to a minor, committing a lewd or lascivious act, unlawful sexual intercourse, perversion, sodomy, and rape." Before sentencing Polanski jumped bail and fled the US for---France, of course, where he currently resides.
Lies and propaganda, rape and pedophilia: the real Oscar winners.
An early Oscar:
Dancing around the god Moloch.
Mr. Moore and Mr. Polanski would be right at home.
Headlines at Yahoo: "Erie Silence in Hollywood as Anti-War Stars Vanish." Well, yes. The reason is simple: They are embarrassed. Think of it: The man they insulted and castigated as 'stupid,' George Bush, has shown himself to be much smarter than they. He was right on every point: WMDs, al-Qaeda links, the nature of the Iraqi regime. The Hollywood types were wrong everywhere and on every point. All their public preening, all those silly interviews, all those trips to Baghdad, all their ridiculous marching had no effect whatsoever except to point out their puerile idiocy. In that sense it performed a public service.
No honor among thieves: It seems that Tariq Aziz is turning. He is going to cut a deal with his captors. He feared "being detained at America’s Camp X-Ray, in Cuba, then being locked up forever after a trial in the US" and "he is terrified of facing an Iraqi people’s court — knowing it would mean certain execution." Aziz knows where the bodies are buried in Iraq. It was perhaps he who notified the US military of the whereabouts of his erstwhile boss, Saddam. He will squeal, and in return will get a new life, a sumptuous house and a goodly sum of cash. Well, OK. But just to remind Aziz that some day---and maybe soon, as he is 67 years old---he will be standing in front of a Judge who cannot be bought.
Tariq Aziz and his ex-best buddy.
Mr. Aziz in his spiffy uniform.
The museum in Baghdad was looted. So what? Should I mention that every museum in history is a monument to looted artifacts? How much of the vaunted British museum is British? Much of it was looted from Iraq itself---relics from the Ishtar Gate and stuff looted from Ashurbanipal's library at Nineveh. The looting of the Baghdad museum was an inside job and had nothing to do with a mob running rampant. Think of a cut-rate Oceans Eleven in a Mesopotamian setting. What will become of these ancient artifacts? Well, they will be sold to other museums as well as to private collectors, where they will eventually find a home in some museum. There has been no loss for humanity. When will the hundreds of thousands murdered by Saddam ever return?
This Ashurbanipal was looted from Iraq 100 years ago.
He currently resides in the British Museum.
His friends were looted from Iraq two weeks ago.
They are currently homeless.
History began 5600 years ago in Sumer, the ruins of which are in southern Iraq near where the US Marines recently took an excursion. Through all the reigns of all the kings and petty despots of every civilization of ancient Mesopotamia---the Sumerians, the Akkadians, the Babylonians, the Kassites, the Assyrians, the Chaldeans, the Persians, the Macedonians, the Seleucids, the Parthians---there has never existed freedom as we know it. Now there will be, courtesy of Mr. Bush. Expect surprises.
The French are aghast at the difficulties of post-war Iraq. Would somebody remind them that after France was liberated by US and British forces in 1945 that the French executed 9000 of their own citizens as 'collaborators'? (They missed Sartre, alas!) Liberation is a messy affair---but how would the French know, since they have never liberated anyone? (And if the French had really executed all collaborators, there would be no Frenchmen today.)
Nissar Hindawi was a top Iraqi scientist who worked on his nation's biological weapons program until the mid-1990s. He saw to the creation and storage of produced huge quantities of liquid anthrax and botulinum toxin, both of course illegal. As UN teams scoured Iraq after Gulf War I, Hindawi says that "the stories he gave the inspectors were all lies."
Shocking, yes, that somebody would lie to the UN!
Meanwhile back in the real world the US has refused the UN its demand to return to Iraq so that it can resume its search for WMDs. Wonder why?
Here is where you can find the resumes of the Bush administration as well as the Hollywood-types---all those who ran around calling Bush and his administration stupid. Just for fun, here is the CV of Bush:
President George W. Bush: Received a Bachelors Degree from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He served as an F-102 pilot for the Texas Air National Guard. He began his career in the oil and gas business in Midland in 1975 and worked in the energy industry until 1986. He was elected Governor on November 8, 1994, with 53.5% of the vote. In a historic re-election victory, he became the first Texas Governor to be elected to consecutive four-year terms on November 3, 1998 winning 68.6% of the vote. In 1998 Governor Bush won 49% of the Hispanic vote, 27% of the African-American vote, 27% of Democrats and 65% of women. He won more Texas counties, 240 of 254, than any modern Republican other than Richard Nixon in 1972 and is the first Republican gubernatorial candidate to win the heavily Hispanic and Democratic border counties of El Paso, Cameron and Hidalgo.
And just to prove I am not a racist, sexist pig, here is the CV of Condoleezza Rice:
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice: Earned her Bachelor's Degree in Political Science, Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Denver in 1974; her Master's from the University of Notre Dame in 1975; and her Ph.D. from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver in 1981. (Note: Rice enrolled at the University of Denver at the age of 15, graduating at 19 with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science (Cum Laude). She earned a Master's Degree at the University of Notre Dame and a Doctorate from the University of Denver's Graduate School of International Studies. Both of her advanced degrees are also in Political Science). She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from Morehouse College in 1991, the University of Alabama in 1994, and the University of Notre Dame in 1995. At Stanford, she has been a member of the Center for International Security and Arms Control, a Senior Fellow of the Institute for International Studies, and a Fellow (by courtesy) of the Hoover Institution. Her books include Germany Unified and Europe Transformed (1995) with Philip Zelikow, The Gorbachev Era (1986) with Alexander Dallin, and Uncertain Allegiance: The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army (1984). She also has written numerous articles on Soviet and East European foreign and defense policy, and has addressed audiences in settings ranging from the U.S. Ambassador's Residence in Moscow to the Commonwealth Club to the 1992 and 2000 Republican National Conventions. >From 1989 through March 1991, the period of German reunification and the final days of the Soviet Union, she served in the Bush Administration as Director, and then Senior Director, of Soviet and East European Affairs in the National Security Council, and a Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. In 1986, while an international affairs fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, she served as Special Assistant to the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In 1997, she served on the Federal Advisory Committee on Gender -- Integrated Training in the Military. She was a member of the boards of directors for the Chevron Corporation, the Charles Schwab Corporation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the University of Notre Dame, the International Advisory Council of J.P. Morgan and the San Francisco Symphony Board of Governors. She was a Founding Board member of the Center for a New Generation, an educational support fund for schools in East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park, California and was Vice President of the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula. In addition, her past board service has encompassed such organizations as Transamerica Corporation, Hewlett Packard, the Carnegie Corporation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Rand Corporation, the National Council for Soviet and East European Studies, the Mid-Peninsula Urban Coalition and KQED, public broadcasting for San Francisco. Born November 14, 1954 in Birmingham, Alabama, she resides in Washington, D.C.
I apologize for the length of these two resumes. Those of the Hollywood-types are much shorter:
Barbara Streisand: Completed high school. Career: Singing and acting
Cher: Dropped out of school in 9th grade. Career: Singing and acting
Martin Sheen: Flunked exam to enter University of Dayton. Career: Acting
Jessica Lange: Dropped out college mid-freshman year. Career: Acting
Alec Baldwin: Dropped out of George Washington University after scandal. Career: Acting
Julia Roberts: Completed High School. Career: Acting
Sean Penn: Completed High School. Career: Acting
Susan Sarandon: Degree in Drama from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Career: Acting
Ed Asner: Completed High school. Career: Acting
George Clooney: Dropped out of University of Kentucky. Career: Acting
Michael Moore: Dropped out first year at University of Michigan. Career: Movie Director
Sarah Jessica Parker: Completed High School. Career: Acting
Jennifer Anniston: Completed High School. Career: Acting
Mike Farrell: Completed High School. Career: Acting
Janeane Garofelo: Dropped out of College. Career: Stand up comedienne
Larry Hagman: Attended Bard College for one year. Career: Acting
Why would any sane person desire a government composed of loose-living artists anyway? We have already had one. It was called The Third Reich:
Adolph Hitler was an painter, designer and writer.
He was also vegetarian and did not drink. His life in Austria before WW I was one of...well,
the kinds of activities that make historians blush.
Joseph Goebbels was a poet and philosopher.
Albert Speer was an architect and writer.
Heinrich Himmler was a philosophical mystic.
Herman Goering was an art lover and drug addict.
Ernst Roehm was a sexual pervert and an aficionado of S&M.
Julius Streicher was a teacher and journalist.
Alfred Rosenberg was an architect and newspaper editor.
These guys would fit right in most college dormitories. (Or for that matter, on most college faculties.)
Could we please stop all the nonsense about SARS? So far there have been 5,510 cases in 30 countries with a mortality rate of six percent. That is around 300 deaths. Last year flu killed 38,000 Americans.
The media is way over the top on this. Relax! (Or as my students say with a word that beautifully sums up much advice I could give on any number of topics: Chill!)
France Will be France
More documents recovered in Iraq show that members of the French government received $383,439 three years ago from Saddam Hussein. The reason for this munificence? The French had refused visas to Iraqis who wanted to attend a conference on human rights scheduled for April 14, 2000.
The French colluded with the Iraqi intelligence service to undermine a meeting in Paris of
human rights organization which was looking into human rights abuses in
The files, retrieved from the looted and burned foreign ministry by The Telegraph last week,
warmth and strength of Iraqi-French ties.
... Saddam's office authorised the finance ministry to pay $383,439 to undisclosed beneficiaries.
Liberty---for Saddam to do as he pleased.
Equality---all members of Chirac's government to get a share in the Iraqi loot.
Brotherhood---with the regime of Hussein.
Here is a map of the USA showing how each county voted in the 2000 presidential election.
The red counties are those that voted for Mr. Bush; the blue, for Mr. Gore.
The blue counties also show those areas in the US that consume the most pornography.
PAGE 4 PAGE 6
Home Professional Pages Personal Pages Sabbatical Itinerary
Essays Backpacking Entries Diary and Commentary