donderdag, april 24, 2003

Begin The Beguine
"The coalition alone retains absolute authority within Iraq." Lt. Gen. David McKiernan, the commander of ground forces in Iraq warning that anyone challenging the American-led authority would be subject to arrest.

Jay Garner, the retired lieutenant general who will lead reconstruction efforts whined hopefully that "The majority of people realize we are only going to stay here long enough to start a democratic government for them. We're only going to stay here long enough to get their economy going."

Once that was grasped, General Garner added, "In a very short order you'll see a change in the attitudes and the will of the people themselves.". Great. Then General Garner can fly home and get America's Economy going. The current economic wizards have turned a budget surplus into $6.4 trillion in debt. These guys are obviously experts.

Of course, not everyone in Iraq is writhing in ecstasy over the arrival of the American "liberators". Sheikh Mohammed al-Fartusi told Abu Dhabi television: "Our arrest by the Americans was worse than the arrests that Saddam ordered against our students." What? Trouble in Paradise? Is it really true Uncle Sam, that US Forces Worse Than Saddam? Say it ain't so! Fartusi said of his detainment by American forces: "We were beaten ... spent a night with our hands tied behind our backs," adding however than an American officer did offer an apology. (Sorry we had to beat you and tie you up but well, you could have been a terrorist?)

"It was disgusting. Despite the fact that none of our young men has pointed a weapon against America... but, next time, God alone knows what popular anger could lead to?". Why, Democracy for the liberated peoples of Iraq, of course. And just in case you think you're alone Mr. Fatusi, you should note that some cry out into the bleek Iraqi night: We Want Our Saddam Back!.

I believe a friend of Maud Newton got it right: "aggressively stupid". If that isn't the defining reality of American foreign policy, I don't know what is.

American concern over the activities of these two men — Muhammad Mohsen Zobeidi and Ahmad Chalabi — has begun to grow, military officials said.

Mohammed Mohsen al-Zubaidi, who recently returned to Iraq, asserts that he was chosen to lead an executive council charged with administering Baghdad. He has reportedly sought to appoint a police chief, ignoring the police official installed by the Army's Third Infantry Division, and his supporters have appropriated government vehicles. Mr. Zubaidi has proclaimed himself the new mayor of Baghdad -- a claim not recognized by Garner and his Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance.

Eureka! That is what I want to be when I grow up: the new mayor of Baghdad! 50 dinars to everyone who votes for me!

Zubaidi's group also promised a 1,000 percent salary increase to all state employees. Heady days. Guess they won't be saddled with a budget crisis over in Baghdad since the American taxpayers are so happy to foot the bill of the new world order.

As David Shribman of the Post-Gazette notes:

"The new world order that has emerged from the smoke of Baghdad is only slightly less dramatic than the one that followed the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. In 1945, the United States shared world power with, and was threatened by, the Soviet Union. In 2003, it shares world power with no conventional state and is threatened only by a handful of rogue states (chief menace: North Korea) and a handful of rogue terror organizations (chief peril: al-Qaida).

Look at the new landscape: The United States has swiftly acquired, and perhaps may even keep, four new bases in the land it once considered the biggest threat to world stability (Iraq). Since the terrorist attacks of September 2001, the United States has planted bases in parts of what used to be known as the Soviet Empire, including three in former Warsaw Pact nations (Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria), two in what used to be the USSR (Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan), and one in a nation regarded as a principal breeding ground of radical Islamic fundamentalism (Pakistan)."
But for all the talk of an American empire, the current period is more of an American enigma. The deficit continues to burgeon. American economic power is built on foreign debt.

Meanwhile, Jihad Unspun has a nice video/music animation of the Liberation with music by Laibach. Very amusing in a cynical realist's sort of manner. Well worth it.


The LA Times reports that the number of traffic deaths rose last year to its highest level since 1990, the government said, citing a variety of factors, including rollover crashes, heavy drinking and a greater number of baby boomers climbing aboard motorcycles. An estimated 42,850 people — 734 more than the previous year — were killed in crashes nationwide in 2002, according to preliminary statistics released Wednesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This underscores Desultory Turgescence's long-standing claim that the real threat to the American people are not Islamic Jihadists, but themselves.

Just so you know: Thousands of people mobbed Beijing's West railroad terminal today in desperate attempts to flee the city as the capital reported another triple-digit increase in the numbers of people infected with SARS and nine more deaths. I wonder how it compared to the mobs of Chinese people pushing their way to withdraw their savings and empty safe-deposit boxes from two branches of a Chinatown bank in NYC recently. The sense of panic must be in the rice. Otherwise, they'd be calm, cool and collected, like our Iraqi friends.

Pravda says that Bobby Fischer, the "Great Hermit" and noted by many as the greatest chess player of the 20th century was reported on in the Russian newspaper Trud-7 this year: "His vision of the world is as follows: a powerful mafia group of communists and Jews is haunting him with a view to poison. The CIA also participates in the plot, as it helped to deprive Fischer of all his fortune. Osama bin Laden is a hero, but Hitler "was to ceremonious" with Jews, he should have given them short shrift. Synagogues must be destroyed and Jews must be liquidated.". Whew. You'd never hear Jan Timman or Hein Donner ranting like that. Maybe Osama bin Laden is a Grandmaster cleverly disguised as Bobby Fischer.

One Good Move provides "a fascinating tour of language" which "demonstrates a favorite device of conservatives and Peggy Noonan...That's what Noonan and the others are aiming for with this pattern -- the rhythm of the simple feelings that are obvious to everyone but the clever people who make life too complicated."

Perhaps to counter this conservative palaver, liberals should begin speaking a benign form of Europanto which Joeri Cornille of UDN leads us to.

The Department of Defense wants us to know that this is Stress Awareness Month:

"Although stress can have the beneficial effect of sharpening the senses, impelling acts of heroism, and drawing a unit’s members closer together, when a service member’s ability to deal with stress is exceeded, the consequences may be operationally significant'. That must be why the Daffy Don has had such an active and chipper social calendar lately.

Iraqi "Most-Wanted" playing cards apparently aren't as exciting as the organization that spawned them wanted us to believe: the price for the deck has been slashed from $9.95 to $5.95.

Much like the Great Satan Quarterly, Desultory Turgescence has been experiencing a rather pronounced case of writer's block lately. Perhaps it should be attributed to the burnout of the post-invasion media blitzkrieg. Let's call it the "Post Aprocryphal Blues" and be grateful that the remedy is only a six hour plane flight away.

For the purposes of celebrating a lifetime achievement of an indeterminable amount of years, Desultory Turgescence will be back in Holland for the next two weeks. Mark your calendars accordingly. Anyone wishing to join me in the effort to completely cleanse the braincells of this post-invasion trauma will probably be able to find me posted at Café Hoppe on Spuistraat or Café Marktzicht on Breedstraat in Utrecht.

Until then, remember what Ludwig Wittgenstein once noted: "I don't know why we are here, but I'm pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves."

For your amusement in my absence, here is the hypertext version of T.S. Eliot's classic The Wasteland.

Tot ziens!

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