maandag, maart 03, 2003

As The World Turns

"When I woke up this morning my girlfriend asked me, 'Did you sleep good?' I said 'No, I made a few mistakes."
--Steven Wright

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was captured Saturday while sleeping in an apartment near the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. It's unclear how how anyone recognized him given that the FBI photos showed Mohammed as thin, bearded and balding while the photograph taken after his capture shows a middle-aged, fat and apishly hairy man.

In fact, the more I looked at the front page photographs of the captured man the FBI claims is Mohammed, the more I began to believe that the FBI hadn't captured Khalid Shaikh Mohammed at all, they'd just busted Ron Jeremy, the star of Porn Star, a feature film that explores the life of the world’s most unlikely sex star. If you rousted Ron Jeremy out of bed in the middle of the night, bleary-eyed and hung over after yet another drug and alchohol plagued premiere party and dressed in giant open-necked nightshirt, I'm pretty sure he'd look just as that guy does on the cover of the Daily News this morning.

In fact, lending perhaps even a sliver more doubt to this raucous claim of an arrest histrionically billed by Florida Congressman Porter Gross as "the equivalent of the liberation of Paris in the Second World War", is the notice by The Memory Hole that the same guy they claimed to have captured Saturday was also claimed to have been killed last year.

Perhaps more interesting was the report by Newsweek that an al Qaeda operative now in custody told investigators that at one point Mohammed had planned to blow up bridges and gas stations in New York and Washington with operatives stealing or hijacking tanker trucks and crashing them into fuel pumps at gas-stations while other terrorists would slash the suspension cables on bridges. I hate to downplay the kind of chaos, death and destruction that crashing tanker trucks into gas stations would cause but after reading this I immediately and naturally wondered a few things:

1. What ever happened to all these Weapons of Mass Destruction that every terrorist allegedly carries with them like condoms in the backpocket wallets of teenagers? Aren't we all supposed to be slinking around in our gas masks and chemical suits with every orafice duct-taped and sealed every time we step outside to avoid these chemical and biological attacks? If they've got all these WMDs, why would they resort to driving trucks into gas stations like some B movie stunt?

2. What the hell kind of cutting device would they need to slash suspension cables on bridges? It's not like these are simple nylon ropes and it's not like they can stand there on a bridge with a big butcher knife and start chopping away at the cables without attracting a little attention.

*****Look At Me! Look At Me!*****

Did anyone else notice, in all the excitement about al-Qaeda captures and missile destructions and Turkish Parliament, that back in North Korea, Kim Jong Il was sounding a little too much like Marvin the Martian warning Bugs Bunny to "brace yourself for immediate disintegration" as he threatened on Saturday that nuclear war could break out on the peninsula at ''any moment,'' and warned of ''nuclear disasters'' around the world?

What does this poor bastard have to do to get some attention? He has thumbed his nose at the Bush Administration, kicked out UN inspectors, started up his Yongbyon reactor, tested equipment that reprocesses spent-fuel rods and now threatens the world with nuclear war and still he can't get anyone to take him seriously. I guess he'll have to start passing out weapons-grade plutonium to terrorists like candy to trick or treaters on Halloween before he can distract those cagey visionaries in the White House.

*****Good Night Iraq*****

Over the weekend, Iraq destroyed 10 Al-Samoud II missiles, continued to destroy more today and said it would hand over a report about its unilateral destruction of anthrax and VX nerve agent. To the average human, this might indicate a modicum of cooperation in the effort to make them disarm but not to the Bush Administration.

"I think when you summarise Iraq's statement, that in principle they will destroy their missiles, the Iraqi actions are propaganda wrapped in a lie, inside a falsehood," DT's favorite White House comedian Ari Fleischer responded.

Apparently running out of original quips and slogans, Fleischer is now resorting to ripping off Winston Churchill to elucidate his indefatigably recurrent points. For those of you whose memories aren't as finely tuned as Ari's, Winston Churchill's famous 1939 description of Russia was "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."

Not surprisingly, Baghdad is warning that the process of destroying their missiles and cooperating with the UN may stop if it becomes clear the United States intends to attack Iraq regardless of whether it gets backing from the U.N. Security Council. IF it becomes clear? I don't know how much clearer it could be that the Bush Administration intends on attacking Iraq regardless of anything Iraq does. Hussein could destroy all his weapons, convert all his palaces into McDonalds drive-thrus, teach the Iraqi people the Pledge of Allegiance, and offer to do the chicken dance for everyone at the next White House Christmas Party and the Bush Administration would still invade Iraq.

*****The Arab Street*****

There's so much talk about "The Arab Street" these days you'd think it was the premiere of another reality TV show. Everytime these political talking heads begin immoderately declaiming The Arab Street in hallowed and reverential terms, I wonder why, if The Arab Street is so powerful and influential, they're the ones in the street while the others are still sitting around getting rich in their glass palaces and floating on billion dollar yachts.

Finally, if Turkey is any example, The Arab Street can claim a little success. As the Turkish parliament debated a government motion to allow some 62,000 U.S. troops to deploy into Turkey, more than 50,000 protesters chanted ``No to war'' and sang anti-war songs less than a mile away in an Ankara square, in one of the largest protests yet against a conflict in Iraq. The Turkish parliament rejected the motion and this morning, Turkey's stock exchange dropped by 11.3 percent within the first minutes of opening and its currency, the lira, dipped by about 5 percent to 1,670,000 to the dollar.

If this is any corollary of what street protest does to a stock exchange, given the performance of the Dow Jones over the last two and a half years, you'd think the American Street was already so choked with beatniks, flower children and protesters there wouldn't be room left for any SUVs to pass.

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