Saturday, June 12, 2004

In the Mail!

Disappointment with the (last) post on Chalabi: Mr. Limitedinc writes,

“What type of micro essay is that?!!! You say that you are going to lay down your opinion about Chalabi, and here I am waiting for it -- and you go all around the topic. It was a donut essay -- there was a hole in the center. So, what do you think happened with Chalabi, and in general, what to make of that strange career? I mean, something about the whole deal was odd from the beginning. Why, for instance, were the Wolfowitzes so willing to not look at Chalabi's past, as a swindler? How could they ever have thought that a man with that past was going to be the head of Iraq? Really, it never made sense from the beginning. It is like Garibaldi having spent the first part of his life defrauding the bank of England, or George Washington having been a bank robber.
I don't believe that it was accidental that they put that trust in him -- I think they thought, and think, they had him by the balls. He is too much like other American sponsored puppets with "fatal" weaknesses -- like Noriega. And where is the mention of the fierce battle between Chalabi and Brahimi about the UN-Oil swindle? This is a murky affair that keeps getting murkier, just as all the affairs these guys have been involved in the Middle East -- from the October Surprise to now -- have ten or eleven aspects, one or two of which are to be explained by pure greed. I think you underestimate the absolutely low level of these players -- like Feith. Leo Strauss be damned, these people are out for future business opportunities, and what better key to various fortunes than setting up a man who not only has stolen on a massive scale in the past, but has surrounded himself with his confederates in the present. I think the appropriate text here is definitely not Xenophanes on Socrates, but Nick Pileggi on mafia control of Las Vegas in Casino. “

Actually I said Chalabi-gate, not Chalabi. But fair is fair. Give me a few days, and I’ll try to do better.

Our smart, witty, combative Irani, Niki, has a new like-minded Iraqi boyfriend, Raed, and they have begun a couple’s blog that promises to be twice as spirited as each of their blogs. Talk about the unintended consequences. It seems as if in so many ways, Iranians and Iraqis have been brought together. We’ll see how things might look in about a decade or so.

Our Polish blogger assured me that Gustaw Herling-Grudzinski is one must read Polish writer if the world were to end soon and I believe she wasn’t exaggerating. Settle the question for yourselves: read a short delicious piece, A Venetian Portrait.

And a joke sent in by a dear friend I thought I should share:

Three strangers strike up a conversation in the
airport in Bozeman,
Montana, awaiting their flights. One is a Sioux
Indian from Lame Deer.
Another is a Cowboy on his way to Billings for a
rodeo. The third is a
fundamentalist Arab student, newly arrived at
Montana State University.
Their discussion drifts to their cultures.
Soon, the two Westerners learn that the Arab is a
devout, radical Muslim and the conversation falls
into an uneasy lull.
The cowboy leans back in his chair, crosses his
boots on a table and tips
sweat-stained hat over his face.
After a long silence, the Indian clears his throat
and speaks, "At one time,
my people were many, but sadly, now we are few."
The Muslim student raises an eyebrow and leans
forward, "Once my
people were few," he sneers, "and now we are many.
Why do you suppose
that is?"
The Montana cowboy shifts his toothpick to one side
of his mouth
and from the darkness beneath his Stetson says in a
drawl, "That's 'cause we
ain't played Cowboys and Muslims yet, but I do
believe it's comin'."

Another writer has some reflections on 911 which in a roundabout way relates to what the joke’s Cowboy might actually have in mind,

“On the day the world came tumbling down I told a friend (did I say it out loud, or did I say it in my head; since I never got a reply, can’t tell to this day):
This is the most horrific crime! This is despicable! Not a single species on this planet can do this! It is sick, isn’t it? But, what if they do it again? What if they can? Like, they come back tomorrow and hit another city, like Chicago. Then they come back again the next day and hit San Francisco, Seattle, and Los Angeles all at once. What if they told us that we should overthrow the American government, or else they will come back and hit other targets, to be chosen at their own discretion? What if they keep coming back, day after day, week after week, and month after month? What if we can’t stop them, and they just kept coming at us? What if they started announcing their attacks in their newspapers after a while? And started discussing the scheduling and the tonnage of the bombings in their legislature? What if their scientists were given prizes for improving the potency of the bombs they’re dropping on us? Where will we hide our children? Our mothers? Our sisters? Our brothers and fathers and grandfathers? Where can we go? What can we do? How can we fight back?”

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