Saturday, April 19, 2003

Dale Petrosky, who runs the Baseball Hall of Fame, was forced to apologize to Tim Robbins and live-in partner Susan Sarandon for cancelling the 'Bull Durham' festival. Afraid of making the Hall a platform for political views, Mr. Petrosky did precisely that, giving the ultra-Liberal couple more press than they ever could otherwise have had on a stage in Cooperstown. But Petrosky was clearly trying to do more than avoid a speech. He was, honestly, viewing the Hall as a Fourth of July, Apple Pie, George M. Cohan and Uncle Sam conservative Icon, and that means that any anti-war opinion while the country was at war was not to be allowed.

It always gives me the creeps when the Fox network implies sedition and treason from anyone availing themselves of their Constitutional right to express their opinion. While Peter Arnett may be a dummy, appearing on Iraqi television during a war, his opinions don't make him a traitor. And, while I'm not sure why being a well paid performer makes Robbins' opinion any more valuable than anyone else's, his ability to air his views is something to be cherished, and is a grand measure of what sets us apart from the regime just removed in Iraq. Besides, 'Bull Durham' was a GREAT movie.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Please take the time to view the photo attached to this story. And also this one, associated with the same story. These are now well known scenes within the Arab world, a group of swarthy Arab men, in full protest, wearing the cotton slacks, short sleeved shirt and maniacal visage of angry men. Seems they are always emerging from their mosques, having been newly aroused by their Imams. The chants are always the same: 'down to America, down to the Zionists, love of Islam and Sharia, Allahu Akhbar'. Such a scene could have been played out anywhere in the Arab world: Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt.........and you'd be hard pressed to tell me where this one took place without the headline to help you.

Of course, this is a scene from Baghdad where the newly liberated Iraqis have begun their predictable plea for a fast US exit and an Islamic fundamentalist state to take the place of the Baathist regime just eliminated. Is this representative of the feelings of the vast majority of Iraqis? I have no doubt, given truly free choice, that the typical Iraqi would feel much more comfortable in a Taliban-like central government than a secular Islamic one, like in Turkey. So, the question is, will the Iraqi people be given truly free choice in the constituency of their next government? The answer to that one, of course, is ridiculously easy................


I've been listening to a bit of talk radio around the world recently and heard much gab bemoaning the state of the animals still housed in the Baghdad Zoo. Oh my word! Here we have the ultimate Lassie effect in practice. Of course, very little discussion, except in an anti-imperialist and anti-war arena, about the 130 coalition soldiers who died. Barely a word, either, about the possibly 10,000 Iraqis who perished in the defense of an undefensible regime. But never underestimate the uproar of the public should a few lions, pets of the previous leadership, start to starve in their cages in Baghdad. I guess we're lucky that Uday and Qusay weren't partial to deer. Just the thought of putting Bambi at risk might have brought the entire coalition sweep of Iraq to a screeching halt. Next time, remind the Marines to immediately head for the Museum and the Zoo when entering a capital and forget about the palaces and ministries.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Now we've had a cultural advisor in the Bush White house resign over the looting of the National Museum in Baghdad. "it didn't have to happen" , said Martin Sullivan, and walked out in a huff. Gee, lessee how we prevent this. I know, let's assemble a nice American police force and keep it on hold in Kuwait City, ok? And then, we'll all decide exactly when the city will fall, so that we can have this police force run in to take control. Of course, let's be sure the firefights are truly over so the police aren't mistaken for bad guys. Off by a month or more on regime capitulation? Oh well, more lattes for the police while they cool their heels. Just doesn't seem feasable. On the other hand, the argument was made that the Marines were careful, early on, to guard the Iraqi Oil ministry. Well? You got a better number one asset to protect? I guess the question is, which building do you label number two, considering that US Marines are wholly bad substitutes for a police force.

I'm sorry, but if this is the best complaint to be had so far from the fall of Baghdad, I'd say we're doing pretty well.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Yeah, that's the ticket

This, the quote of the day from the frontpage of the NYTimes already noticing the tendency of the Iraqis to complain about the occupation..........boy, that didn't take long:

"The Americans are the ones who have been looting and taking things out of the stores and giving them to families," said Amer Karim, 30, who was himself selling two industrial ceiling fans and a new telephone in a street market in the Kadhimiya section of Baghdad. "So anyone who is selling these things didn't really loot it."

How's that for a microcosm of the Arab street and Arab culture? I still think the majority of the Arab world will claim that Bin Laden wasn't behind 9/11, despite his bragging on tape to the contrary. And, there's nothing like the growing legend of Baghdad Bob creating the fantasy of Arab military victory while the American tanks are rolling in the streets of Baghdad. Definitely a different way of dealing with empirical truths, I must say.

Democracy for Iraq? Don't hold your breath.
Instant response by the Palestinian Authority on the capture and detainment of Abu Abbas, demanding his release. Pathetic, actually. While the argument that Saeb Erekat makes for Abbas might possibly hold some legal weight in more 'normal' times, right now his demands have very little chance of creating anything more than titters through the White House. Don't these guys get it? Apparently not.

Erekat is famous for making the tours on the US radio and TV shows before the Israeli crackdown. For every question a journalist would propose, Erekat would reply thusly: "precisely my point, PRECISELY my point! -- it is the Israelis as occupiers, as oppressors, the Fascist, terrorist Zionists who refuse our human rights and murder our children!" This would be a response to anything, from the dispensation of the Palestinian "congress" to the recipe for West Bank Shwarma. A good friend of mine does an Erekat impression which leaves me in stitches..............his imitation of Hanan Ashwari, being interviewed by Peter Jennings ain't half bad, neither. You can only imagine.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

It doesn't get any better to make a case of terrorist support than to find Abu Abbas hiding in the middle of Baghdad. Yes, it's that same Abu Abbas, mastermind of the 1985 Achille Lauro boatjack and murderer of an elderly passenger in the name of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Proved to be perfectly tasteless theme for an opera, remember The Death of Klinghoffer?

Well, if this is the type of person holed up in Iraq, we'll all feel a lot better having cleaned out this den of filth. This is arguably superior to finding a cache of WMDs. This actually puts paid to the theory that the war in Iraq was an ancillary part of the larger war on terrorism, or at least goes a long way towards it.

What, couldn't make the A-Team?

this article today from the NYTimes absolutely floored me. Could not stop laughing after this priceless paragraph:

Syria was not mentioned as a member of the "axis of evil" by President Bush in his State of the Union message in early 2002. But today an administration official said that, along with Libya and Cuba, Syria was regarded as a member of the "junior varsity axis of evil."

Gee, nothing hurts worse than getting assigned to the JV................!

Monday, April 14, 2003

Just received an email from which I quote:
Read a few of his (meaning my) columns. I'll bookmark him and read for a while and
> a final judgment later, but my first impression is that the guy is a bit
> left of center, spins the rhetoric like the best of 'em (on both sides of
> the line) and is not so cool.

Telling commentary, no? Unfortunately written by my brother in response to an anonymous site link I sent........ !!!

As Rodney would say here: "Tough crowd, tough crowd"

Next up?

Well the rhetoric flies fast and furious around Syria, the US warning Damascus about harboring Iraqi bigwigs and, oh yes, about developing weapons of mass destruction. Syria, in response has denied both charges. Where have we heard this before? Everybody loves a winner but the time is ripe to toss the Arab world a bone and become the magnanimous superpower everyone in the U.S. expects America to be. Israel has jumped on the lip-smacking opportunity to pile up on the Syrians, pressing their case against Hezbollah support in Lebanon. Perhaps Sharon and Co. should take a break? Arguably, no American President could have orchestrated the last 2 years in a more positive way for the Israelis than W., ridding them of a dangerous foe and probably establishing a much more friendly government in Iraq, forcing Arafat to relinquish at least some of his power into the hands of a leader seen as more moderate, and generally not pressuring the Israeli government in any serious way about their anti-intifada reactions and tactics. They should probably quit while they're ahead. Most envision Bush tossing that bone soon, in pressuring Sharon to halt settlements and get back to the bargaining table with the Palestinians on statehood. The time probably couldn't be better.............who can argue with the U.S. right now?
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